Few human beings throughout history have cared to discover any more about dragons than how to av...oid them, or failing that, kill them. Yet humankind was always curious, and dragons eventually became a subject for scholars. Studying them was a daunting task, for the nature of dragons was confusing. The creatures seemed to defy sensible cataloguing and some were a monstrous rebuke to the idea that nature had organization. But later, dragons became somewhat more consistent in behavior and appearance, and various schemes arose for classifying them. In the west, dragons were described more by body type and defined by habitat. In China however, long a center for scholarship, distinguished lines of scholars devoted much systematic attention to the dragons that lived among them. They not only defined what a dragon was, but developed ways for categorizing the age, position in evolution, physical attributes, functions, idiosyncrasies, and where each existed in the hierarchy of the dragon world.