Looking for something-or-other on the web a while ago I came across the mention of a museum exhibition that I had no opportunity to see, but which sounded pretty cool. The idea was the history and science behind legends of mythical creatures. On the one hand, it was a little frustrating to be notified of something I couldn't do! On the other hand, I poked around and found lots of interesting information associated with the show still available.
Here are a number of links with information about mythical creatures, the history of how such legends might have arisen, the scientific truths that might have contributed to them, and some historical excerpts and images. There isn't anything terribly in-depth here, but there are lots of good tidbits that might whet your appetite and get you started on a search for more.
"Mythic Creatures" exhibition home page from the Field Museum - click through to find the photo gallery, as well as sections on dragons, and creatures of water, land, and air.
The American Museum of Natural History's page for their version of the exhibition - I think this is all the same information, but with slightly different navigation and a better set of photo galleries.
A list of other on-line resources recommended by the American Museum of Natural History
"World Myths & Legends in Art," by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts - an unrelated web exhibit without the emphasis on creatures, but some beautiful art and interesting takes on mythology.
[Pictures: Protoceratops skull, which may have been the origin of the griffin myth, Gobi Desert;
Apothecary sign depicting a unicorn, with a narwhal tusk horn, Germany, c. 1750.]