The late evolutionist, Dr Carl Sagan, famous host of the Cosmos TV series, squarely faced this conundrum that dragon stories pose for evolutionists and other long-agers. Namely, that such stories are found in cultures right across the globe, and that they are amazingly like several types of dinosaurs—which no-one is supposed to have seen! Recognizing it quite properly as a puzzle to be solved for long-agers, he wrote a book about it, The Dragons of Eden. In this he proposed that somehow one part of our brain (the one that was inherited from whichever of our alleged reptile ancestors, in the evolutionist scenario, were living at the same time as dinosaurs) had retained its memories of what those ancestors had seen.
Imagine if someone were to seriously suggest that deep down, our brain remembers (without being told) what our ancestors living 500 years ago saw around them. With what is known about the principles of heredity, which is quite a bit these days, that would be incredibly farfetched. So much so that one could not imagine a serious scientist giving it other than a bemused smile.
Now imagine that this idea is extended back so that our alleged ancestor tens of millions of years ago is supposed to have somehow transmitted the visual information his brain processed ‘back then’—through all of the intervening generations, to people alive today. It is not hard to understand why most of Sagan’s scientific colleagues maintained a somewhat embarrassed silence, and probably wished he had stuck to astrophysics.
The funny thing is that I have come across another Jungian explanation* of another archetype on similar lines: the vampires would be "to us" as sabre toothed tigers to earlier primates supposedly our ancestors or as T Rex to the reptilian ancestors of the earliest mammals (that also on evolutionary lines).
So would this Jungian archetype originating in what our supposedly reptilian ancestors saw give rise to stories of dragons or of vampires? Or would what an ancestor still reptilian saw in T Rex leave us with vampires and but what a mammal saw later in T Rex before the last vanished leave us with stories of dragons? And under which circumstances would not just one man but a whole community be ready to believe something happened which did not come from their experience of it, but from an archetype inherited within them?
It's pretty silly, actually.
Mairie du III, Paris
St Margaret of Scotland
The Year the Water Dragon Roared, Carl Wieland (on CMI)
*By Buican, in his explanation of the Dracula myth.