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DRAGONS AROUND THE WORLD ...

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Dragon Theory

Dragon Theory

Note:  These are just theories about dragon existence.  There is no fact to it, in dragonlore or otherwise.  This is simply various thoughts and theories on the subject of dragon evolution and physiology.

Wings and Flight
Dragons' wings are perhaps what makes it least likely that western dragons could have evolved on Earth.  The wings are the dragons fifth and sixth limbs.  There are no reptiles, mammals, or birds that I know of with more than four limbs, and I really don't think that a dragon is a huge bug.  This makes it more likely that the two-legged wyvern would have evolved.  Assuming dragons could have evolved, there are two ways I can see that they could fly.  For one, they would have to have very strong wing muscles attached to a large sternum, like in birds.  Most pictures of dragons show the hind legs with very large, strong muscles, but that have puny wings just hanging there.  The other way they could have flown is to be like the Pteronadon, one of those flying creatures that lived at the time of the dinosaurs.  They didn't have wing muscles like today's birds do.  Instead, they had very long wings that could keep them in a constant soar, and a structure to support those wings without the use of muscles.  
Their wings, however, were 25 feet long, and they were only about as big as chickens. This could make for a pretty awkward dragon! There is one other theory of dragon flight, I call it the blimp theory.  The theory goes that the dragon has a huge body cavity that is filled with a lighter-than-air gas (usually hydrogen) that allows it to fly.  The dragon's wings would only be needed for steering, and would likely be small.  If it floated too high, it would expel some of the gas by breathing fire (see the Breath of Fire section below), or by some other means.  A dragon like this would need to be huge.  I don't particularly agree with this theory, as I like the notion of dragons soaring and diving rather han floating, which would just be silly.  Dragons wouldn't be relatively fast creatures in flight.  They wouldn't be able to fly as well as a bird because of their wing design.  Birds, when they're flying really fast, partially fold their wings to cut down on wind resistance.  They can do this because their feathers overlap, and their wings stay nice and smooth, and are still easily able to cut through air.  A dragon couldn't do this. If they tried to partially fold their wings, the webbing stretched between their wingfingers would be useless and they'd drop like a rock. This is where the wings of the dragon in the movie Merlin come in handy.  It had many overlapping fan-like wing sections, making it so that the wings probably could have been partially folded, while keeping the webbing tight.  However, don't ask me how those wings could have evolved!

Hide and Scales
Western Dragons often have hard scales for protection.  But if a dragon with scales were to evolve, how could it?
 Birds' feathers are just evolved scales, so what would keep flying dragons from evolving feathers for flight?  I found the answer in an ancient animal called the Archaeopteryx, the earliest known bird.  The funny thing about this feathered, crow-sized bird is that it couldn't fly!  It didn't have any flight muscles, and it couldn't even move its wings the right way for flight.  Scientists doubt that it could have even glided short distances!  So why did it have feathers?  For warmth.  The little birds couldn't stay warm as easily as larger animals, so it developed feathers, which eventually evolved to be used for flight.  Dragons are so big, that they wouldn't have needed to develop feathers for warmth.  It should be noted, however, that dragons would at least need to be warm-blooded for this to work.  They would need some way to keep out the cold of flight.

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Breath of Fire
There are many theories that attempt to explain the firebreathing ability that most Western Dragons posess
.  Usually the mechanics of the ability are ignored completely, or waved off as being magical in nature.  However, there are many very scientific theories surrounding breath of fire.  Perneese dragons must chew a phosphorine-bearing rock, and it enters their second stomach to be changed into a substance that ignites when it comes into contact with oxygen.  One theory that I've seen more than once ties the firebreathing ability with the "blimp" theory of flight (see above).  In this theory, dragons are filled with hydrogen, so they don't actually fly, they float.  It ties into firebreathing because dragons can just expel he hydrogen and ignite it somehow, sometimes creating a chemical reaction, or creating a spark, usually by grinding their teeth together.  Another theory suggests that dragons are able to rearrange their insides at will, to produce the chemical reactions they want, like the ability to breathe fire.  One dragon even rearranged his insides so that he was able to breathe fire backward (think about this for a moment).  He was able to propel himself so fast this way, he was able to destroy cities with his shockwave