From dragon to the unicorn, werewolf to mermaid, mythical creatures form part of our legends and fairy tales. They fascinate and appall adults and children from across the globe. Every culture has its own group of weird and wonderful creatures and some of these creatures even live in our homes.
Sometimes stories of these creatures are used to reinforce taboos and encourage moral behavior, or they may be targeted at scaring or charming children into obeying their caregivers. Some are simply there to entertain and stimulate the imagination.
These beings have populated our stories from time immemorial, and they continue to appear with regularity in books, on television, in film, and on social media.
Many of these creatures offer us insight into how our ancestors viewed the world. Countless myths carry tales of how heroes slay the most fearful of creatures. Since the creatures often represented the worst fears of the people of the time, they may be seen as a way of taking control of a world that was often hard to understand and overwhelming.
This infographic offers illustrations of some of the best-known creatures from every populated continent on earth. They include charming animals and shape-shifting goblins, the ubiquitous dragon, and nymphs on a mission. And if you believe that humans have lost their taste for strange and mystical creatures look no further than the Loch Ness monster.