Flight or Fiction? - Anatomy for a Dragon P1
|4 min read
Part One

Have you ever considered what would it be like if dragons were real? Have you thought about how they would look? Ectothermic or Endothermic? Scaled or feathered? And most importantly - would they fly?

How would they fly?

Welcome to an essay about the Mythical Dragon.

"Flight or Fiction? – To Investigate the Potential Anatomy of a Mythical Dragon and evaluate the effectiveness of Adaptations that would aid in Flight"

~ SaphireDragon16

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to explain and conclude the findings taken from researching existing animal species, and from that research then creating a real mythical dragon, the main focus of this research is to select adaptations mythical dragons might require for flight.

‘How does a dragon fly?’ is a commonly asked question among dragon fanatics, and is highly speculated. The topic is unconvincing due to the interference of magic in dragon mythology and the lack of realistic explanations. However, to prevent further confusion the researcher came to the decision to investigate dragons that would show less indication of magical abilities; in order to improve the reader's understanding of potential anatomy and physiology for dragons, what purposes those structures would serve, combined with precisely how those structures would be able to function.

After investigating a variety of mammal, bird, and reptile species the researcher concluded that some mythical dragons would be more physically related to mammals, whilst some groups of dragons more related to birds and reptiles.

The dragon selected was the mythical Common Western Dragon, a species most popular throughout the western world, mainly within Europe. Its fundamental anatomy comprises of six limbs, two fore-limbs, two hind-limbs and a set of powerful membrane wings allocated behind of the scapula, an example of this dragon includes the dragon Fafnir in Norse mythology. [23], [38]

The dragon’s respiratory system would have many similarities to the anatomy of an avian respiratory system for the function of flight, therefore linking dragons more closely to birds, along with its reproductive systems and breeding behaviours. The ability to fly consumes enormous amounts of energy, and whilst every aspect of a dragon cannot be expanded upon due to the mythical dragon’s renowned relation to magic. However, the dragon’s facility of flight can be elaborated on in scientific terms, alongside adaptations that would be necessary for a flying mythical dragon.

Flight is made possible through a combination of adaptations that the anatomy and physiology of flying animals such as bats and birds had undertaken over the course of many generations through natural selection, ‘survival of the fittest’. This does not just comprise of the formations of membrane between phalanges of the wing, similar to the structure of a bat’s wings. The mythical dragon, if it were to fly would also have to develop other anatomy and physiological changes to meet the demands of flight. Dragons would specialise in hunting in particular prey species, and competing for those resources, in order to achieve this they would not only develop different behaviours, but also unique anatomical features, including changes to the sensory organs.

Sensory Organs

The researcher chose to investigate the presence of sensory organs in the flying animals such as birds, and bats, and comprise believable sensory organs for a dragon based on the research gathered. Structures and functions will be explained and analysed, for the purpose of this information contributing and supporting the later conclusion.

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Comments22
anonymous's avatar
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Pearlbomber's avatar
PearlbomberHobbyist Writer
Finally got to reading this! And I like it so far!:D (Big Grin) 
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! =D
shadeslaire's avatar
shadeslaireHobbyist General Artist
It seems the only way to explain the presence of the two extra limbs is magic, as all vertebrates  which have evolved on earth only have four. I think the more likely possibility is that they would resemble the wyvern model. Unless they were a forgotten survivor of Cambrian extinction that left only four known body types from which every known creature on the planet has evolved.

I think the extra limbs theory would have more likely been a result of the report of sightings having been passed down by word of mouth over generations and chronicled by people with no first hand experiences. As evidenced by the early depictions of whales and other known creatures.

  
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, the possibility of the additional limbs occurring naturally are very small, and the survival of the animals developing those extra limbs would probably be even slimmer, so in our world the addition of those extra limbs probably could never work.

Which is sad since I would love a six limbed dragon haha, but the evolution of both birds and bats proves that additional limbs probably wouldn't work, it would be uncomfortable and would add weight to the dragon. =)

You're also correct about the resemblance to Wyverns, if dragons existed they would have to have four limbs. But I wanted to use Western Dragons as my species since I thought it would be nice to discuss the limbs issue in my conclusion.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope that you enjoyed it, I'll be uploading part two near the end of the week! :D

Feel free to drop me a note if you want to chat more about dragon anatomy. :3
shadeslaire's avatar
shadeslaireHobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the reply. It's a good topic for conversation! What is magic, is it just science we do not yet understand?
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem, maybe it is. I feel like magic is similar science only more mysterious, if magic were understood would it just become another form of science? =D
shadeslaire's avatar
shadeslaireHobbyist General Artist
I think it would, imagine someone from 500 years ago coming to our now, they would think this was all magic!
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, yeah, I imagine that they would be rather confused, and concerned! XD
RandomVanGloboii's avatar
RandomVanGloboiiHobbyist General Artist
As a dragon writer who likes to describe them as realistic as possible, I'll follow this series with all my interest!
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm glad to hear that, I plan to upload part two near the end of the week, and thank you for leaving a comment. =D
Emerald-Thrakena's avatar
Emerald-ThrakenaHobbyist General Artist
Can hardly wait for the next part!
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for reading it, I'll upload part two later! =)
Emerald-Thrakena's avatar
Emerald-ThrakenaHobbyist General Artist
Great !!! can hardly wait to read it. :) I'll be on the look out for it.!!!
Wingd1's avatar
Wingd1Hobbyist General Artist
*interest intensifies*
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*continues researching anatomy*

Thank you for reading my journal! =D
Wingd1's avatar
Wingd1Hobbyist General Artist
no problem!  :thumbsup:
AlpinusTheFox's avatar
AlpinusTheFoxHobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome! This is really interesting!
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much, I'm happy that you like it! =D
SephyTCD's avatar
SephyTCDStudent Traditional Artist
still have my interest!
SaphireDragon16's avatar
SaphireDragon16Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yay, I'll be uploading the next part near the end of the week, if you're still interested! =D
SephyTCD's avatar
SephyTCDStudent Traditional Artist
ye I gotcha
anonymous's avatar
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