What Were Dragons?

Appreciate a Dragon Day

Reading Comprehension for January 16

Do you ever look at pictures of dragons? Do you wonder if they ever really lived? People have written about dragons for a long, long time. We know them by another name now. We call them dinosaurs.

Some scientists say that dinosaurs all died out suddenly. Others say that some could have survived, so the last ones died out slowly. In 1841, a man named Richard Owen made up the name dinosaur. It was two Latin words put together. It meant terrible lizard. Before that time, those strange animals were called dragons.

Men who sailed the seas long ago told stories of sea dragons and other monsters. These animals were not like fish. They had to breathe air like we do. Over time, there were fewer of these animals seen. Soon they weren't seen at all. People began to wonder if they had been made-up stories all along.

In the 1800's a young girl in England found strange bones. She began to find whole skeletons. They turned out to be the bones of sea monsters. They were what we call ichthyosaurs (fish lizards) and plesiosaurs (near lizards) today.

These animals had strong jaws and very sharp teeth. They were fast in the water. They could also hold their breath for a long time. They could have been the sea monsters or sea dragons that the ancient sailors saw.

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