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The Ontario Science Centre Presents

Mythic Creatures:

Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids


A giant Kraken’s tentacles emerge from the floor, a griffin rears on its hind legs, and a fossilized skull appears to stare from a single eye socket. These models and artifacts in Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids shed light on the ways people around the world have been inspired by nature to depict strange and wonderful creatures.
“Every culture has its myths. Often these stories allowed humans to make sense of the unknown and the natural world,” said Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre. “This exhibition illustrates some of these myths and the real creatures that may have inspired them.”

Through preserved specimens and fossils of prehistoric animals, Mythic Creatures investigates and illustrates how these could have—through imagination, speculation and even fear—inspired the development of some legendary creatures. For instance, Scythian nomads of southeastern Europe may have mistaken dinosaur fossils for the remains of griffins while narwhal tusks from the North Sea likely offered credibility to the belief in the unicorn.

“Myths tell us a great deal about the societies from which they originate and how they have evolved over time,” said Hooley McLaughlin, Chief Science Officer of the Ontario Science Centre. “Even today, we are fascinated by claims of sightings of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and stories of mermaids and unicorns remain part of popular culture.”
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