ORIGIN I 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.
My research conducted via Wikipedia and Google Images, along with my own knowledge and memories of playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle as a kid. I make no apology for this.
This 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, but this was the best I could do, and I’m happy with it.
ACTUAL MYTHICAL CREATURES
All creatures and characters listed here have a heritage in historical mythology
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.
Centaur, 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
As a fan of dinosaurs, it would have been easy for me to include Dragon as lizard + bird. But dragon wings are strictly lizard-like, scaly and/or leathery wings, not feathered (unlike the Cockatrice). So they had to go down as lizard + bat.
THAT DAMN NARWHAL
I 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 INDIVIDUALS
Gorgon 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
This is a very hazy area, and one person’s religion is another person’s mythology. But I tried to stick to mythical creatures, rather than religious “gods”, and not including things like angels. Ammit, for instance, seems more of a mythical creature than the Egyptian gods like Anubis. Ultimately though this was just a decision I made myself.
FLYING OR NOT FLYING
Some 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 FISH
Some 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.
Uchchaihshravas – 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.