Might old tales of long-tailed dragons be related to modern live pterosaurs? It deserves consideration.
What do old dragons and old pterosaurs have in common? Celtic dragons had arrows at the end of their tails; they may relate to pterosaur tails. What about those Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur tails? Are not dragon tails also long? Perhaps most noteworthy are the wings: both pterosaurs and common artistic portrayals of big flying dragons have featherless wings.
This web page “Winged Dragons and Modern Pterodactyls” brings up a point about fictional stories that have non-fictional elements. Both grandmothers and wolves are actual living beings of this world, even though the story “Little Red Riding Hood” is a fictional story. In a similar way, old legends need not be 100% fictional. Dragon legends about giant fire-breathing monsters that could destroy villages with fiery breath—those fictional legends include monsters, humans, fire, and villages, but three of those elements are non-fictional in their general existence: humans, fire, and villages. Need we assume that any reference to a dragon must involve a creature completely unreal? Perhaps some of those old stories could be fictional in their exaggerations and embellishments but non-fictional in mentioning a large flying creature.
. . . sightings of pterosaurs flying, or something like that, have been reported by Australians, and those sightings have been in diverse areas, mostly coastal, especially in the west, south, and east. You would think they would be mostly on the north coast, being closer to Papua New Guinea and the ropen habitat, but there it is.
Before the ship arrived on Umboi (Siassi), Luke and I met an old sailor who knew something about what we were seeking. “You want to catch Wawanar?” he asked. I assured him that we only wanted to get a “photo” of the flying animal. The old man told us that the dragon Wawanar is said to own the land and the sea; nobody can catch Wawanar.
I sometimes come across the word “dragon” in a communication with an eyewitness of what I suspect or believe was a live pterosaur, for example, the glowing dragon observed in England in 1987 or 1988 (I received an email from the eyewitness). In 2004, during my expedition trip to Papua New Guinea, I heard about the dragon called “Wawanar” by an old sailor. But most eyewitness use another word, like “dinosaur bird.”