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Submitted on
June 1, 2012


7 (who?)
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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Azurehypnock 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.
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you =D
TheLOAD Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
There's nothing wrong with 4 limbed dragons.
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
TheLOAD Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
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.
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
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.
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
You speak from my soul ;)
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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