Early biologists in Europe wrote accounts of the behavior and habitat of dragons, along with lizards and snakes. They were treated as part of the natural world.
Long ago, the marshes near Klagenfurt, Austria, were haunted by a fearsome Lindwurm–a serpentlike dragon. It devoured all the people and livestock who ventured its way. Finally, a local ruler called on his knights to destroy the dragon, and after many attempts it was slain.
To commemorate the event, a “dragon” skull was placed in the town hall. In 1582, an artist borrowed the skull–really the fossil remains of an Ice Age woolly rhinoceros–to use as a model in shaping a massive sculpture of the Lindwurm, which still stands in the city today.