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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    A lizard or snake body with functional wings. Must be at least the size of a horse when fully grown.
    I'm almost certain that dragons as you define them don't exist, nor have ever existed (almost because some pteradons [pretty sure that's the word I want] could loosely be defined as such)
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Somensjev View Post
    I'm almost certain that dragons as you define them don't exist, nor have ever existed (almost because some pteradons [pretty sure that's the word I want] could loosely be defined as such)
    If you carefully select some pretty tiny horses, and stretch the term "lizard body" pretty far, then sure.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Dragons start off imaginary, but once they start breeding and their numbers multiply they become real.
    Dragon mating rituals are elaborate, resulting in the term "complex conjugal".
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    There's no need to get rude, this forum is called "friendly" banter
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Have you seen medieval European pictures of dragons? THey are almost always smaller than horses, sometimes much smaller.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    Discuss, were dragons ever real?
    No. Carolinus brought all the dragons and magical creatures to a separate realm, remember?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flight_of_Dragons
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    If you carefully select some pretty tiny horses, and stretch the term "lizard body" pretty far, then sure.
    The largest known pteranodon fossil has a wingspan of more than 7 metres. That's larger than even quite a big horse, if we're going by size rather than mass.

    "Lizard body" - well, I think it probably qualifies under that. (Unless you want it to have four legs *as well as* two wings - in that case, we're definitely into "never existed" territory, because (I'm pretty sure) there are no six-limbed vertebrates in the fossil record.)
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    I am giving dragons as much skepticism as I would give someone telling me a platypus exists.
    Ok, valid point. Just keep an open mind that long shots sometimes come through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Togath View Post
    Popping in to remind you that discussion of real world religion is against the forum rules as far as I know. This seems like it's straying into the topic a bit.
    Good thing I didn't use the bible as evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ceaon View Post
    I cannot believe we are seriously discussing this.
    What proof or findings would those who actually think dragons existed require before they'd change their stance?
    I don't think you understand why we debate this. Of course there's only flimsy evidence of dragons. If the Museum of Natural History had the fossils of Draco Serpentalis with a French lance head in it's eye on display, there would be no discussion. And yes, anybody with a lab coat could easily say: "Nope. Insufficient evidence." But there is some; flimsy perhaps, but still there. Maybe Marco Polo and Pliny were wrong; but they could also have been right.

    A big part of science is imagination. What might have existed? How might it have existed?

    I am not saying you have to believe in dragons, nor that dragonology must be taught in our schools. I just feel that the world would be a sadder one if no one believes in even the possibility of dragons.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    But there is some; flimsy perhaps, but still there. Maybe Marco Polo and Pliny were wrong; but they could also have been right.
    Marco Polo also said rhinos were unicorns. Anything he calls a "dragon" is a case of a previously-unseen beast he's trying to fit into terms he already knows.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Ok, valid point. Just keep an open mind that long shots sometimes come through.
    Don't keep your mind so open your brain falls out. I think I'm fine, others not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro Protagonest View Post
    Marco Polo also said rhinos were unicorns. Anything he calls a "dragon" is a case of a previously-unseen beast he's trying to fit into terms he already knows.
    To be fair, a lot of previous works refered to Rhino as unicorns so he wasn't just pulling it out of his own butt. But that was my initial point. People in ancient times referred to commonly known animals today with mystical elements. The Romans called the Giraffe a camelopardalis because it had a body like a camel and spots like a leopard and they believed this was literally because the two had a baby together.

    Ancient people weren't as learned as we are now. We won't be as learned as the people in the future. That's how it works.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Have you seen medieval European pictures of dragons? THey are almost always smaller than horses, sometimes much smaller.
    Ah, a common mistake. The European pigmy dragon is actually a subspecies of wyvern.
    That's all I can think of, at any rate.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    I saw a dragon at Central Park millions of times. So yes dragons are real. LOL!
    Last edited by Bartmanhomer; 2017-03-20 at 09:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Ancient people weren't as learned as we are now. We won't be as learned as the people in the future. That's how it works.
    That is a hopeful way to look at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    The largest known pteranodon fossil has a wingspan of more than 7 metres. That's larger than even quite a big horse, if we're going by size rather than mass.

    "Lizard body" - well, I think it probably qualifies under that. (Unless you want it to have four legs *as well as* two wings - in that case, we're definitely into "never existed" territory, because (I'm pretty sure) there are no six-limbed vertebrates in the fossil record.)
    Well the largest known confirmed Pteranodon is closer to 6.2 m wingspan but pterosaur sure. . . as for lizard like? not really - if anything most were "furry" (technically Pycnofibers) - and very stiff (especially laterally) which would be very un-saurian.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2017-03-20 at 11:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    That is a hopeful way to look at it.
    Barring catastrophes and a upswell in people who believe in dragons.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Barring catastrophes and a upswell in people who believe in dragons.
    That is a very hopeful way to look at it

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    That is a hopeful way to look at it.
    ...

    You can come back when you have a real response.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    (Unless you want it to have four legs *as well as* two wings - in that case, we're definitely into "never existed" territory, because (I'm pretty sure) there are no six-limbed vertebrates in the fossil record.)
    I'm pretty sure there were many mediaeval depictions of dragons having only two legs and wings, as you'd expect. Nowadays we call those wyverns rather than dragons, but they didn't make that distinction back then.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro Protagonest View Post
    ...

    You can come back when you have a real response.
    It is a real response. Look at this thread. Look at the world around us and the behavior of people therein. (I won't get into details to stay away from politics). And add a dose or two of humour. We may well be more fact rich than the people who came before us as less than those who will come after but learned? Wise? More able to take those facts and learn from them? Go ahead and read the news, read history....I generally think we're all about evenly prone to idiocy over eras. But if you mean learned as purely in possessions of greater facts then on a greatly uneven motion the collection of facts does accrue.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    We live in the safest and most educated time ever in human history. So look to history? There's a gradual trend towards less war and more knowledge. Look to the news? Why would I do that? The news doesn't report positive things because those don't make headlines. The news exists to sell the sum total of human misery and banality. I'd only look at it to know where its fallen.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Society - that can advance - people less so. Norms are improved but stay largely unexamined on a personal level. It is a fragile system in large part because knowledge=/=learning. Memes (as in behavior norms passed down because they generate success of the meme, hopefully by providing an advantage for the holder of that meme) - are a real thing - settling disputes through law mediation for example - most people agree it works - and have some soundbite to say why-but that's all. I don't think the people of today are more learned. But they have been given a lot by the people who came before, especially knowledge. But learning? That is a personal process that one gets from the examination of knowledge, it isn't a birthright or inheritance.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I'm pretty sure there were many mediaeval depictions of dragons having only two legs and wings, as you'd expect. Nowadays we call those wyverns rather than dragons, but they didn't make that distinction back then.
    Dragons

    Vermithrax in 1981's "Dragonslayer" is the Dragon that shapes my vision of Dragons, and may by some be classified as a Wyvern:




    Anyway, from Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765)

    Old stories tell how Hercules
    A dragon slew at Lerna,
    With seven heads and fourteen eyes,
    To see and well discern-a:
    But he had a club, this dragon to drub,
    Or he ne'er had done it, I warrant ye:
    But More of More-hall, with nothing at all,
    He slew the dragon of Wantley.
    This dragon had two furious wings,
    Each one upon each shoulder;
    With a sting in his tail as long as a flail
    Which made him bolder and bolder.
    He had long claw's, and in his jaws
    Four and forty teeth of iron;
    With a hide as tough as any buff,
    Which did him round environ.

    Have you not heard how the Trojan horse
    Held seventy men in his belly?
    This dragon was not quite so big,
    But very near, I'll tell ye;
    Devoured he poor children three,
    That could not with him grapple;
    And at one sup he ate them up,
    As one would eat an apple.

    All sorts of cattle this dragon would eat,
    Some say he ate up trees,
    And that the forests sure he would
    Devour up by degrees:
    For houses and churches were to him geese and turkeys;
    He ate all and left none behind,
    But some stones, dear Jack, that he could not crack,
    Which on the hills you will find.
    Hard by a furious knight there dwelt;
    Men, women, girls, and boys,
    Sighing and sobbing, came to his lodging,
    And made a hideous noise.
    Oh, save us all, More of More-hall,
    Thou peerless knight of these woods;
    Do but slay this dragon, who won't leave us a rag on,
    We'll give thee all our goods.

    This being done, he did engage
    To hew the dragon down;
    But first he went new armor to
    Bespeak at Sheffield town;
    With spikes all about, not within but without,
    Of steel so sharp and strong,
    Both behind and before, arms, legs, and all o'er,
    Some five or six inches long.

    Had you but seen him in this dress,
    How fierce he looked, and how big,
    You would have thought him for to be
    Some Egyptian porcupig:
    He frighted all, cats, dogs, and all,
    Each cow, each horse, and each hog:
    For fear they did flee, for they took him to be
    Some strange, outlandish hedge-hog.

    To see this fight all people then
    Got up on trees and houses,
    On churches some, and chimneys too;
    But these put on their trousers,
    Not to spoil their hose. As soon as he rose,
    To make him strong and mighty,
    He drank, by the tale, six pots of ale
    And a quart of aqua-vitæ.

    It is not strength that always wins,
    For wit doth strength excel;
    Which made our cunning champion
    Creep down into a well,
    Where he did think this dragon would drink,
    And so he did in truth;
    And as he stooped low, he rose up and cried, boh!
    And kicked him in the mouth.

    Oh, quoth the dragon with a deep sigh,
    And turned six times together.
    Sobbing and tearing, cursing and swearing
    Out of his throat of leather:
    More of More-hall, O thou rascal,
    Would I had seen thee never;
    With the thing at thy foot thou hast pricked my throat,
    And I'm quite undone forever.

    Murder, murder, the dragon cried,
    Alack, alack, for grief;
    Had you but missed that place, you could
    Have done me no mischief.
    Then his head he shaked, trembled and quaked,
    And down he laid and cried;
    First on one knee, then on back tumbled he;
    So groaned, and kicked, and died.




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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    I think the distinction that the wyvern has two legs and a dragon has four legs is a rather technical and modern one which is only of interest in certain fields and doesn't necessarily reflect the mythology or popular conception. In this instance, at least, it's probably heralds and not gamers who deserve the blame, but then heralds consider lions to be leopards depending on their posture, so they've already gone off the deep end.

    Even nowadays wyverns remain relatively obscure and it is not uncommon to see dragons with just two legs. The dragons in ASoIaF have two legs; so did Smaug in the Hobbit film adaptation (although I know that was not uncontroversial). It's hard for me to tell, because I both hang out in fantasy circles where wyverns are familiar and also grew up in what is probably the most wyvern-familiar part of the world, but it seems to me that two-legged dragons are just as commonly called dragons these days as wyverns.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    I think the distinction that the wyvern has two legs and a dragon has four legs is a rather technical and modern one which is only of interest in certain fields and doesn't necessarily reflect the mythology or popular conception. In this instance, at least, it's probably heralds and not gamers who deserve the blame, but then heralds consider lions to be leopards depending on their posture, so they've already gone off the deep end.
    Where "technical and modern" means "is a D&D distinction being treated as way more universal than it actually is".

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    One point I haven't often seen brought up is this: if dragons in the medieval sense or anything significantly similar to them ever existed, where are the specialized weapons used to hunt and kill them?

    Millennia of inventive murderousness have left us with weaponry designed to kill specific animal species, whether for military purposes or safety reasons or simply because animals are tasty. Look at the manifold convolutions of the simple broadhead arrow intended for different game, or the vast profusion of polearms intended to let a person on foot kill a horse and rider -- or an elephant. Traps, too, exist for anything that swims, crawls, walks or flies, from lobsters to fish to foxes to bears to deer to all manner of birds.

    And yet, somehow, there are no dragon traps. There are no dragon-slaying ballista bolts. After all the time humans allegedly spent being eaten by dragons, our legendary dragonslayers are armed with what? Swords? Spears? It seems slightly anachronistic that we developed special weapons for everything from sparrows to whales and yet for dragons we just shrugged and decided they were close enough to horses.

    Even if you assume fantastic properties on the part of dragons, I find it hard to assume the humans dealing with them for centuries were just as exceptional.

    (Incidentally, the spiny armor described in the poem above sounds a lot like the bear-baiting armor pictured.)

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    So what would it take to bring dragons into existence via genetic engineering? Large reptile is easy. Large reptile breathing acid or venom -- a little bit harder but there are already reptiles that do that.

    Flying reptile? Going to be harder because of the cube-square law, I think. There are already examples of flying lizards, but the wingspan required to lift a 1000+ kg creature into the air would be ... what? Larger than a 747's?

    And what is this tremendously huge creature eat?

    Finally, if we could create them from existing DNA, could we domesticate them? Screw my Toyota Highlander, I wanna commute to work on my dragon

    Tongue-in-cheek,

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Dragons? Not so much as we'd understand it, but a ton of creatures like that can be explained by a traveler seeing things he didn't understand while in north africa and then embellishing the tale to get free drinks. A roman soldier stationed in modern Lybia kills a big monitor lizard (lizard beast or dragon in the local tongue), boom! Dragon. And then when that same roman soldier eventually becomes the symbol and rallying cry for the warriors of a major nation then the dragon grows with him.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Where "technical and modern" means "is a D&D distinction being treated as way more universal than it actually is".
    Well as I say, to be completely fair, it's a heraldic distinction, later adopted into D&D. So gamers are merely followers in this instance. But otherwise, yes, I agree completely, and in most similar cases it is indeed D&D which should shoulder the blame.
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    One point I haven't often seen brought up is this: if dragons in the medieval sense or anything significantly similar to them ever existed, where are the specialized weapons used to hunt and kill them?

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    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Of course dragons are real . . . I . . . AM . . . The Dragon.

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    Default Re: Debate: Were dragons ever real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Even nowadays wyverns remain relatively obscure and it is not uncommon to see dragons with just two legs. The dragons in ASoIaF have two legs; so did Smaug in the Hobbit film adaptation (although I know that was not uncontroversial).
    Tolkien's own drawings showed Smaug as having four legs.

    Dragons in Skyrim have only two, and that's a pretty darn' modern interpretation.
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