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I'm often heard things like: "I like dragons with six limbs more", or "fire-brething dragons are better".
So why should I forego on this typical features?

The answer come to me today when I browse through the book "the dinosaur hunters" , a fantastic novel about the first paleontologists from Mary Anning over Mantell to Darvin. The book shows how this pioniers worked and thought. Especially intersting/funny is that most of this early scientists try to harmonize bible and the fossils they found, a endeavor that must fail.
I feel the same when I look at theories abouth the evolution of dragons with 6 limbs or biomechanic models to explain how dragons breath fire.
Most of this theories are possible, but it's the try to harmonize the legends, myths, and fairy tales with modern science. Some authors just copy the legends and spice them with scientific facts.
Always keep in mind that humans make mistakes and tend to exaggerate, lie and fantasize; especially over a long times. When europeans heard firstly something about the komodo dragon it should be a giant fire breathing lizard which kills humans all the time.
I have a similar problem with magic: it's often seems to be used for filling gaps which are difficult to fill with science. Especially the Dragonology books are a good example for that. Firstly they look relatively pseudo-scintific enough to raise my attention, but the parts about magic destroyed everything.

I wrote this text after I heard, again, one of this possible but... don't know the right word... squashed sounding theories (The dragon must must must must have SIX LIMBS !!!! No matter how)
  • Listening to: epic film music
  • Reading: this journal to see my mistakes
  • Watching: Everything and nothing at the same time
  • Playing: with my sketchbook (don't leave the house without)
  • Eating: ein großes Schnitzel (diesesmal fettfrei)
  • Drinking: water
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:iconsagittariussigner:
sagittariussigner Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Hobbyist
Excellent informations.
To be honest, your dragons looks very believable and appears very naturalistic. You don't introduce any mythical or "pagan" aspects on your project. You doing a great work on your illustrations.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you =D
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:icontheload:
TheLOAD Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
There's nothing wrong with 4 limbed dragons.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
:nod:
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:icontheload:
TheLOAD Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
:)
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:iconfrazamm:
frazamm Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012
Well, true, but consider that mythologically, or at least heraldically, dragons have six limbs, wyverns and cockatrices have four, so on that score ...

But you're right. It doesn't matter whether dragons have six limbs or four as long as they look plausible and are 'engineered' right.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
=)
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:iconbluewyrm:
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
Yeah, if you're deriving from earthly vertebrates, four legs is really the max. From an engineering standpoint, it's perfectly possible to have more than four legs; it's just wildly unlikely to evolve from something that does.

If you want to get funkier, might as well go all out and make up an entire alien ecosystem and anatomical basis to go with it; that's a whole lot more fun. Take Anne McCaffrey's Pern - the firelizards (and the bio-engineered dragons... with telepathy... ok, not the most scientific series. Still.) have six legs - but so do all the other native lifeforms on the planet, with everything else descended from colonial imports.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
You speak from my soul ;)
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:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The thing about Fire breathing, well here's the problem with it and before people make the argument about the bombardier beetle, you need to have a way to protect your mouth, teeth and tongue from being burned to cinders. In most depictions the breath comes from the inside of the mouth, how does the fire not burn the insides, also you would need an extra organ to house whatever provides the fire. Like the bombardier beetle you would have to have a chemical reaction that works outside the body, the beetle's "flames" appear outside once they react with the air and the beetle does it in a way that poses little risk. With huge flames you have to deal with wind blowing it back into your face and the animals would have to worry about missing their target and burning the whole place up. There is little sense in burning your prey like that since most animals don't know how to put out a flame.

In a further addition the only way for firebreath to actually work is to not have it be fire breath, since if you want it to yawn out a chemical that reacts with air to ignite there would be too many risks to the mouth. Like the beetle it would have to be more particle based more like a form of spit that can fly far before igniting. Fire is not a good weapon for a realistic predator, and it certainly wouldn't work for a flying animal because they could burn entire forests down and loose all their prey, I think the best bet would be a defensive spit that causes a burning sensation in attacker, that seems more feasible
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Professional General Artist
And that's exactly what I have made =)
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:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
oh? sorry, don't understand german lol
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Not bad =)
Dragons use a strong zytotoxine that produce a burning feeling and can, when injected, destroy muscles, organs and other tissues.
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:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
much like a spider's venom, but I think that would require a smaller intestine to work, that way the prey's remains become like a "soup" easily broken down to their basic components
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
Go with scientific realism! Six-legged dragons are boring, ugly and there is much less thought beneath them.
IMHO tetrapods could derive "extra wings" from Coelurosauravus-type animals with lateral skin-rib extensions. The resulting animals, if they specialized for true powered flight, would resemble lizards with dragonfly-type paddle-wings extending from their sides. I personally think this arrangement would work only for tiny animals, since ribs wouldn't have as much muscle anchorage as limbs would have.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
In an early stage of my project I have also some six-limb-dragons with Coelurosauravus base in mind, but I put this concept to the files after I design the Uxuldraco.
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:iconthecomiccreator:
TheComicCreator Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
I completely agree with this. 100%.
I mean, if you're drawing dragons just for the fun of it- number of limbs and fire-breathing matters not.
But if you're trying to apply science to it...it's really only logical that they have 4 limbs and that breathing fire is an impossibility. The closest you'd get to that is spitting vemon(if they were venomous) like a Spitting Cobra, bacteria-ridden saliva(from eating carrion, similar to the Komodo except THOSE dragons don't spit, they bite), or possibly salt(I've heard about Dilophosaurus that suggests that they lived in saltwater swamps, would drink the water, and spit out the salts). But even all of those are still pretty farfetched...
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
I never knew about dilophosaurus and salt-spitting either. Do you have a paper or link you can share on the subject?
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:iconthecomiccreator:
TheComicCreator Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
I haven't heard it since. i'm sorry to say I do not :/ I just looked around the internet and found nothing.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012
Neither could I - it's certainly an interesting proposal...
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:iconthecomiccreator:
TheComicCreator Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012
I heard it from a guide at an attraction with animatronic dinosaurs at the Detroit Zoo.
He was also the one who told me that they were slowly finding out dinosaur colors, so one of the dinos was at least PARTIALLY accurate. He said they only knew shades of red, but then I found out that there were two dinos with their colors officially classified.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
I never heard about this theory about Dilophosaurus, thanks for sharing =)
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:iconthecomiccreator:
TheComicCreator Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
No problem :)
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:iconfluffyspiderz:
FluffySpiderz Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Of course, many dragons from legend have only four limbs. Idk. I still have a few odd opinions about dragons, but they're not big things like the number of limbs.
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
"Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real" was a Discovery Channel special that was made to look like a documentary. It addressed the 6 limb vs. 4 limb issue as something that happens all the time: mutation. A single mutant gene could result in non functioning, probably tiny extra limbs. And if a creature with this mutation were to propagate, then EVOLUTION would take its course.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
Extra limbs on animals are almost always due to degenerate conjoined twins and unworkable/unpropogatable diseases. An example is frogs - where diseased individuals sport additional limbs. These mutations do happen and "EVOLUTION" does take its course - their owners die and their genes are removed from the population.
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I'm not talking about growing a fifth leg out of your head due to pollution, which is what happens with those frogs, but say a gene mutated and produced a small, symmetrical set of limbs, and that one individual creature reproduced, it could easily start a chain that resulted in a six limbed animal. After all, how would the tiniest bit of extra webbing in between the fingers be beneficial? It wouldn't, at least not for dozens of generations, and then you get bats. Evolution is mere chance in its earliest stages.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
Something like what you have said has happened already, with finger joints and extra digits, in marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and sauropterygians. In each case, extra fingers and joints helped lengthen and broaden an inert, paddle-shaped limb.

However, the duplicated organs in this case were completely inert and became advantageous only because they acted as extra surface area.

Mutations that generate extra limbs affect the entire body plan of the animal, not just parts of it like fingers and joints. Plus, the replicated parts are always "inert" not connected to the nervous system because the limbs have been duplicated without the nerves, spinal cord connections and the brain parts that control them. (Imagine plugging in a new printer without installing the software,) They just dangle around and twitch uselessly. The animals affected with these conditions cannot even feel through such extra limbs.
This is why I'm skeptical of the same thing happening with limbs.
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I know it's happened. That was my point.

I know full well it isn't practical, but by no means is it impossible. As I said, the early stages of evolution are nothing but chance. It's a long series of IF this happened, THEN this happened, THIS could happen, and more ifs and etc etc. Your being skeptical is entirely justified.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012
BTW, multiple-limbed vertebrates could have been derived from primitive fishes like Climatius - that had multiple pairs of fins.
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Ok, if that works, too.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Maybe you understand me wring. I didn't mean that six limbs are impossible but implausible. Even this very intersting film mostly copy the legends.
Yes I know that mutations with six limbs are possible, but I don't know any creature on earth which would have a advantage of this additinal legs/arms. They would obstruct the animal in it's movements and it would be to heavy to fly
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Well the fact is, you never know. I agree, a six limbed dragon isn't THAT realistic, but when some work tries to explain it scientifically, I have no problem with it.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'm too, the artist in me is always pleased to see that others use their brain to create such things, but the scientist stays sceptical.
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:iconzarlizzard:
zarLizzard Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Ah, yes, I have that constant struggle within, as well.
Reply
:iconmrcreator3000:
MrCreator3000 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
You do make a good point there. One thing that bothers me s that usually in films and such including dragons, six-limbed dragons are sometimes portrayed as stronger fliers than 4 limbed dragons. It just makes no sense to me, as i would think wyverns or wyvern-like dragons would be much stronger fliers due to the muscle arrangement around the chest would be much less complicated and better at functioning properly.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Indeed :nod:
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:iconmrgorsh:
MrGorsh Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Six-limbed vertebrates are a no-no when going for realistic approach, thus dragons like that never looked more 'alive' to me than those who had four limbs. Haters gonna hate. I personally like your works so far and I don't see this coming to stop - there's no need to give whining much attention, it only makes it exaggregate even more :P
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks =)
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:iconkaroo-karee:
Karoo-Karee Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
You make an interesting point. Honestly, I love your dragons. They do makes sense evolutionary speaking and they have a wonderful variety, even if they all have similar anatomy. As for the six limbed dragons and fire breathers, I honestly think they are just as plausible (some of them, at least.) I also understand what you are saying about attempting to harmonize dragons with the myths. Than again, myths nearly always have some basis in fact and I think it's up to the people who interpret them to decide where that basis is, wether their right or not. That's the beauty of myths and fantasy.

Finally, I think it's unfair that people criticize your art just because you take a different approach to dragons than other people. As I said, your dragons are beautiful and make sense. In the end, people can really draw dragons anyway they want. Heck, they can make them pink, sparkly, and let them shoot rainbows out of their eyes. Like I said before, it really depends on a persons perception of the myth.

There's still a relevant comment here, but it got lost some where along the way of writing this. I'm not exactly sure how it happened and where it is, but it's there, I'm sure of it. Some where, in this wall of text which i will end now, before it goes on any longer.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hehe, I like long comments =D

You'r right, everyone can draw/paint dragons how he/she want, but if it should be a "scientific" illustration, it's better to be critical ;)
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:iconkaroo-karee:
Karoo-Karee Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
That's good. I wouldn't want to make you bored with all of those words.

I agree, though, as I stated in my first comment (i apologize if it wasn't clear) both anatomies seem equally plausible. This is, of course, my opinion. You are perfectly entitled to your own.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't bother with those whiny comments, your work is wonderful because you do it your way. ;)
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks =)
Reply
:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! I am myself not in favour of super-huge, fire-breathing hexapods with unpenetratable scales XD
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
=)
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:iconmorgan-michele:
Morgan-Michele Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I completely agree with you :) Dragons are fun to draw and all, but if you're trying to draw them like they would actually exist on earth, you have to follow the same rules that all vertebrates follow.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
That's my point :thumbsup:
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:icondeinonychusempire:
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure about this.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional General Artist
Everyone can have it's onw opinion =) These are just my thoughts/feelings about it.
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