Robert Blust: Why Dragons Are Bisexual. A Defense of Naturalism


Dragons are portrayed in widely separated cultures as simultaneously male and female. While this trait may appear arbitrary, its global distribution implies that it is motivated by observations available to all humans. Many seemingly arbitrary traits of dragons are shared by conceptions of the rainbow, which is widely portrayed as having both male (primary) and female (secondary) arcs. This correlation of features in mythical and natural counterparts shows that the nineteenth-century doctrine of naturalism, which saw various elements of myth and folklore as reflecting features of the natural world, was valid despite excesses that eventually caused its abandonment.