From assuming it would be an easy design taking 2 or 3 hours, it very quickly sucked me in as a huge project.
The more I looked up interesting mythical creatures I'd never heard of, like Uchchaihsharavas and Tikbalang and Makara, the more I was fixated on expanding and laying out this complicated diagram, ending up with 57 mythical creatures and legends made up from 17 real world animals.
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ORIGINI had an idea for a Venn/Euler diagram of mythical creatures, and someone showed me Unwin and Carline’s chart from 2009. This is a very classy diagram but there are some inaccuracies (e.g. Mermaid is human + fish, not narwhal) and I knew I could make a far more comprehensive chart.
|Uchchaihshravas, flying 7-headed horse|
in Hindu mythology. Image from Wikipedia
COMPROMISEThis was a difficult chart to create! I know that many people will either have a problem with the way I’ve laid it out, or a suggestion/complaint about something that hasn’t been included.
It's certainly not perfect, but this was the best I could do, and I’m happy with it.
ACTUAL MYTHICAL CREATURES
|Unwin & Carline's 2009 diagram -|
classy but minimal
One of my problems with Unwin and Carline’s chart from 2009 is the “Mermahuataur”, which they just made up for a joke, which is fair enough. That is not happening here though.
Recent inventions like the Pegacorn are not included (much as I love the Pegacorn).
Cryptids like the Loveland Frog and Yeti are not welcome here. Or Manbearpig! Sorry not sorry.
NO DUPLICATESCentaur, Ipotane, Tikbalang and Buraq are all different combinations of horse + human. Pegasus, Hippogriff and Hippalectryon are all different versions of horse + bird.
Russian folklore features both the Sirin and the Gamayun, but they are identical in form, so only the Sirin was included.
DRAGON = LIZARD + BAT
|Sleipnir, 8-legged horse in Norse mythology.|
Image from Wikipedia
THAT DAMN NARWHALI felt strange including the Narwhal like Unwin and Carline, because it seems like a mythical combination of animals in its own right. But it’s a real, single creature!
For Unicorn, I could have used rhino instead, but the nature and shape of the narhwal’s tusk is far closer to the unicorn’s horn.
CREATURES, THEN INDIVIDUALSGorgon is included instead of Medusa, but there is no clear name for a horse with wings, so Pegasus is included by name.
The same goes for humans or legends who are individuals and do not come from any species.
MYTHOLOGY NOT RELIGION
|Longma, the Chinese "dragon horse".|
Image from Wikipedia
FLYING OR NOT FLYINGSome creatures are sometimes known as having wings, but are not listed as part-bird, e.g. Chimaera. This is because some creatures are definitely, exclusively winged (e.g. the Lamassu) while some like the Chimaera and Manticore are not always winged.
LIZARD vs SNAKE vs SERPENT vs FISHSome legends are not clear about whether something is part lizard or snake (Ladon, Hydra), or part snake or fish (Ophiotaurus). I’ve done my best.
MY FAVOURITESUchchaihshravas – 7-headed flying horse from Hindu mythology
Hippalectryon – back end of a rooster, front end of a horse. Great name!
Zahhak – Persian legend with snakes rising from his shoulders
Hecatonchires – the “hundred-handed” (and fifty-headed) destroyers of the Titans from Greek mythology
Chimaera – lion’s body and head, goat head, lizard head and snake for a tail. Can’t beat it for totally bad-ass monster.
THE COMPLETE LIST:Ammit
Griffon (Griffin, Gryphon)
Sun Crow (Three-Legged Crow)