In the competitive world of mythical creatures, where mermaids can be in vogue one moment, disgruntled green ogres the next, dragons possess that quality known in business and Hollywood as "staying power."
for Your Favorite
Wildest Dragons of All Time
Harpies, griffins, unicorns, mermaids, centaurs and sea serpents make occasional cameo appearance in books or films. But they are, generally speaking, most appealing when happened upon in myths and legends.
A sphinx in the 21st Century seems anachronistic and out of place, but dragons somehow never lose their appeal.
Hatched originally from the collective imaginations of ancient cultures, dragons have found ways to persist and thrive into modern times. Nowadays, they can be found everywhere: books, television, film, tattoos.
It used to be that dragons were worshipped, revered and feared, as benevolent deities, temperamental forces of nature or harbingers of doom, but now they are (for the most part anyway) merely popular and fashionable. A few have managed to weather the centuries relatively unscathed and to preserve their reputations as wild and unpredictable, while others, tamed and rendered children-friendly, are wild in a way that is more extravagant and flamboyant than fearsome.
See how many of our Wildest Dragons you recognize, and vote for your favorite. Interested in why dragons became so embedded in culture? Check out Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth.