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Real Life Dragon Bones

11/20/2013 10:33 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014
  • Atlas Obscura The definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places

Even the most literal of biblical scholars would be unlikely to believe that dragons really existed, despite their appearance in the Bible. However in a smattering of medieval churches across Europe, relics from the saintly tradition of dragon slaying still hang from the walls or rest behind lush glass cases, claiming to be actual bones from the mythological beasts. The actual skeletal artifacts adorning the chapels are more likely elephant tusks or prehistoric ribs but that has not stopped believers from making pilgrimages to the holy sites across the centuries. Since the bones are not allowed outside of the churches the rest of us will have to take it on faith that these random bones are as awesome as they claim.

These Polish bones belonged to a dragon who was killed with an exploding sheep.

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Image by Katie and Tommy

A single rib is all that remains of an Italian dragon whose death brought two towns together.

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Image via Wikipedia

Check out more dragons, real and imaginary, in Atlas Obscura's collection of dragons across the world!