Flight or Fiction? - Anatomy for a Dragon P1

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SaphireDragon16's avatar
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


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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Pearlbomber's avatar
Finally got to reading this! And I like it so far!:D (Big Grin)