Griffins, Gryphons, and Grypes; oh my!

Griffin Haiku

Long ago in the mountains of India there was a great war between a barbaric race of cyclops known as the Arimaspians and the regal Griffins. As the sun sets after another day of this bloody battle the sky turns a beautiful mosaic of colors. But you and your small band of friends with empty sacks on your backs pay no heed to the sky as you carefully navigate around the corpses strewn along the ground, while heading towards a great mountain. Your small band climb the mountain; your hearts nearly leaping forth from your chests whenever a loose pebble goes tumbling down the mountain. The echoes of the small stones sound to your ears like the mighty roaring of a great waterfall. Finally in the mid of the night your small band reaches your destination, a nest made of gold and treasures which rests atop a ledge. The same gold which the greedy Arimaspians died for earlier. No longer daring to breathe you peek your head over the nest and see two highly monogamous Griffins sleeping peacefully around their eggs. They’re as terrifying to gaze upon as they are majestic. Their bodies, tails, hind legs and paws are that of a lion. Yet their front feet and horribly sharp talons are that of an eagle; as is their head and mighty wings which are presently wrapped neatly around their sleeping bodies. After several moments of gazing upon them as if in a trance your focus returns as you remove the sack from your back and join your friends as everyone fills their sacks with as much treasure as will fit. You move swiftly and silently knowing full well that the Griffin may be greatly intelligent, some even claim it can speak, yet it won’t hesitate to kill you in a heartbeat for stealing its treasure which it guards zealously every waking moment. As your small band finishes you signal amongst yourselves before returning your sacks to your backs. Your friend begins descending down the mountain first, but she slips and slides uncontrollably down for several feet making much noise as she does. In an instant your attention turns to the Griffins only to see them staring right back…


The eagle is thought of as the ruler of the birds (just below the Phoenix) and the lion if of course the King of the jungle and has been thought of as royalty for quite some time. Put those two species together and you have a very divine dual natured creature which possesses the best traits of both species. The swiftness and eyesight of the eagle combined with the courage and strength of the lion; also both species are quite intelligent. The inherent dual nature of the Griffin is why the Christian Church briefly used the Griffin to represent the dual nature of Christ; I have to admit, a Griffin is a much more awesome symbol for Christianity than a fish. The Griffin has appeared in writings and paintings as far back as at least the 5th century BC and continued appearing well into the 5th century AD. Of course the legend doesn’t stop there as even up to the present the Griffin continues to pop up again and again. It was quite popular on family crests and appears even now as a fantasy creature in the likes of books and video games. There is a variation of the Griffin with the creature possessing the tail of a snake, which sounds to me like someone just confused a Griffin with a Chimera. The Griffins name also has a lot of variations thus the name of this article.

I’m not sure if the Griffin is real although it seems highly doubtful. I don’t know of any documented creatures which are literally half of one species and half of another completely different species, thus excluding animals such as Ligers. At most I’m willing to believe that the Griffin is a real, and probably extinct, species with wings, four limbs, and a tail. But there is nothing presently which indicates that such a creature existed, excluding the Griffin itself since we want to avoid Circular Logic. The actual origin of the Griffin however is seeped in mystery. Some claim it has to do with ceratopsian fossils being mistaken for Griffins due to their beaks and somewhat similar body structure especially when viewed as bones. Also I like to add that such bones could end up mixed with bones of a flying creature. That is a plausible explanation but I’m not convinced. The only other significant yet plausible explanation is that the Griffin is merely the figment of someones imagination from long ago. I have to end admit that the Imagination Theory does seem likely since the eagle and lion are both so strong symbolically, it’s really not hard to imagine the two creatures being combined into one. Plus, ancient people seemed to make a habit of fusing creatures to create a new one such as the Minotaur, Centaur, and the aforementioned Chimera. I believe this article of mine should have a definite conclusion in regards to my opinion on the creatures existence; so I’ll admit that honestly I believe the Griffin is merely the product of imagination but I like to believe it’s based off a real creature of some sort which, if true, would be sweet!

Think there’s any chance the Griffin’s real? Have a suggestion for a future Legendary Animals Article? Feel free to Comment below; and for more information check out these links:

Lots of interesting stuff about the Griffin.

Learn more about Ceratopsians.

More about Hybrids in nature.


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