Picture this, if you will: human member of a mostly alien crew enjoys drawing, enough that they brought a sketchbook or three into space with them. They enjoy sharing what they create with others, whether its just a simple sketch of another crewmember or a detailed rendition of that last really cool nebula their ship passed by. Now, some aliens get the concept of drawing like this, some don’t, but just about everyone can appreciate the level of skill and effort that went into rendering a near-perfect likeness of something by hand.
So then we come to a point when the human is encouraged into pulling out an older, already-filled sketchbook to show off other things they’ve done before becoming a member of the crew. As they flip through the pages, allowing various aliens gathered around to admire each one, they come to a sketch of a human riding a horse.
Someone of course asks what kind of animal it is, prompting the artist to explain a bit about the species, after which they add: “I don’t really want to finish this one until I get a good reference picture, since I haven’t seen a horse in a long while and I don’t think I quite got the proportions right…”
Even so, their fellow crewmembers say it is a very well-done drawing, the artist mumbles out a pleased thank-you, and on they continue.
A few pages later, there’s another human-riding-an-Earth-creature drawing. Except, this animal is much larger than a horse, and much scarier looking to boot, with curling horns, a mouth full of jagged teeth, claws on each foot, spines and scales and a dangerous looking mace-like tail - not to mention the fact that it’s flying on massive wings.
“What in the stars is that?!” Someone has to ask.
“Oh, it’s just a dragon,” the human says off-handedly. “I always liked drawing the European style best, since they’ve got the coolest features in my opinion - not that the Asian Lung and American Amphiteres aren’t cool too, though, and I’ll do the occasional African Wyvern or Fae Dragon, but for a portrait of a good old-fashioned dragonrider, I want the kind that started the tradition. Anyway, I really think you botany guys will like this next one, it’s a sketch of the apple grove I used to visit as a kid…”
The human doesn’t notice the silence of their audience, and eventually the aliens recover from their shock and dismay.
After all, that dragon was much more finely detailed than the horse, which leaves many of them with the impression that their human crewmate must have a much greater familiarity with such monsters…