Dragons

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by lixluke, Mar 18, 2005.

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Did dragons really exist?

  1. They definitely existed.

    6 vote(s)
    9.8%
  2. They definitely did not exist.

    17 vote(s)
    27.9%
  3. It is possible they existed.

    27 vote(s)
    44.3%
  4. I have a different opinion.

    11 vote(s)
    18.0%
  1. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    535
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
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  3. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    In the UK the only time a person gets to see a Cryptozological creature like a Gryphon would be on a persons "coat of arms".

    The overall understanding of a coat of arms was that each piece of the arms had either some symbolism with either side of noble wedlock being dipicted upon a shield. This allowed people to identify who people were in battle and also who they were if they were just passing through the land.

    It could therefore be suggested that the same sort of thing could of occured during Ancient Greek time's with the arms probably molded into the shield at the time of it's construction.

    However with that in retrospect you can imagine people generating stories of men fighting monsters (dipicted on a foes shield) and perhaps taking it a little too far.

    [Okay not necessarily the truth, but worth a thought]
     
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  5. curioucity Unbelievable and odd Registered Senior Member

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    2,429
    Ha, who knows ^_^ ? Maybe they're like dinosaurs.... the bigger variants went extinct but the smaller variants survive and in hiding or something ^_^ Who knows ^_^ Of course, I wouldn't want to see the fire-breathing drakes....
     
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    33,264
    If they existed then where are their skeletons or remains? No one has ever found any dragon remains from a scientific principal through anthropological digs. Dragons exist in the imagination of those talented authors that let us escape into a fantasy world of make believe and magic.
     
  8. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    As for dragons.. you can see the film "Reign of Fire"
    In it dragons awake in nowaday world and burn it down to ashes into a postapocalyptic world of few remaining human castle-strongholds and...
    well , see the movie, it's entertaining.
     
  9. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253556/

    In present-day London, twelve-year-old Quinn watches as his mother, a construction engineer, inadvertently wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its century-long slumber. Twenty years later, much of the world has been scarred by the beast and its offspring. As a fire chief, Quinn (Christian Bales) is responsable for warding off the beasts and keeping a community alive as they eke out a meager existence. Into their midst come a hotshot American, Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), who says he has a way to kill the beasts and save mankind - a way Quinn's never seen done. Directed by Rob Bowman ("The X-Files"), "Reign Of Fire" fuses a medieval past with a post-apocalyptic future in this exciting tale of adventure and survival.
     
  10. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,946
    Well, gravity. You can have land animals which are huge (under the right conditions). These animals may happen to have wings.... but you can't expect them to fly... or even coast.
    Even with a 40 foot wingspan, the actual weight and size of the torso (or whatever it's called on a bird) is still incredibly low. Dragons are by all accounts not built like birds, but have very large torsos with 4 or more limbs and a often a bony head. Basically, the lift provided by a pair of wings is calculated by:

    Lift=.5*air density*V^2*A*Cl
    where
    V is velocity of wing
    A is surface area
    Cl is coefficent of lift

    For example we'll use:
    air density = 0.00237 sl/ft^3
    V = 100 mph or 146 ft/sec (very high... especially for a large animal with large drag)
    A = 160 ft^2 (wings are 40 ft wide and 4 ft front to back)
    Cl = .2 (high considering the amount of drag a dragon would have)

    Lift=.5*0.00237*146^2*160*2
    Lift=800 pounds

    By contrast, horse generally wieght 1150 pounds. You'd have to add to that all the musculature that would be needed to flap wings of this size.

    As for the helium idea, assume that the entire torso of a dragon was filled with helium. To simplify we'll pretend like a dragon is a box that is 10 ft long, 5 ft high and 5 feet wide for a volume of 250 ft^2. All of this helium would only provide about 16 pounds of lift.

    It all comes down to the actual torso of the dragon. Something biological with that torso just CAN'T fly. If it doesn't have that torso, then it's just another bird.
     
  11. DouBTlessWonDer socially inferior to TV Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    111
    A bird with scales.

    But why do dragons have to look like the typical medieval dipictions? Couldn't a dragon just be a flying reptilian thing the size of an eagle? What about them? Couldn't they fly?
     
  12. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    In latvian folk tales dragons look more like umm the white one in "Neverending Story" movie, but with scales and wings.
    Chinese dragons also don't look like medieval European.
     
  13. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,946
    That would basically be a dino....
    They are even less able to fly... but I'm not sure if they are supposed too....
     
  14. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    Exactly. Maybe a small reptile/dinosaur that has survived to later ages (till stone age or something). But then... there are no found remains.
    From the Chinese tales I remember, most enjoyed living in a lake. I don't remember if they flew.
     
  15. Xevious Truth Beyond Logic Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    964
    "If they existed then where are their skeletons or remains? No one has ever found any dragon remains from a scientific principal through anthropological digs. Dragons exist in the imagination of those talented authors that let us escape into a fantasy world of make believe and magic."

    A major rule behind science in general is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. By example, we all know the American Brown Bear exists, we even keep them in zoos. However, not ONCE has anyone ever found the remains of a dead brown bear in nature. Furthermore, it is conceeded by paleontoligists that a great many species of animal may have existed and did not make it into the fossil record. The same is true of any cryptic species, and I have no problem useing that term here. If Dragons did exist, they would be very rare, and in that case may never have survived in the fossil record. A great majority of dinosaur species for example are known only by partial remains. In the case of Ultrasaurus, only the incomplete front legs and pelvis of one specimine were ever found. The first Raptor, Deinonicus was found only with it's front and hind limbs. Of all the specimines of Archaeopterix Lithographica we have found, only 2 or 3 of around nine had preserved feather impressions.

    The bottom line is that in nature, fossilized remains are a rare discovery in themselves, and 99.9% of the time, you're going to find something which was very common in the ancient eco-system. I have no hopes the remains of a dragon would ever be found, but again this does not mean they did not exist.
     
  16. Xevious Truth Beyond Logic Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    964
    "It all comes down to the actual torso of the dragon. Something biological with that torso just CAN'T fly. If it doesn't have that torso, then it's just another bird."

    That I'll hand you. Ancient accounts of Dragons vary depending on who's telling the story. You could say then that their were multiple species of a dragon, some flightless, some agile fliers, but we just don't know. It's a wonderful question, biologically possible, and certanly intriging. However, their just at the present time isn't enough evidence to even guess. For now, that seems to be where the inquiry will rest.
     
  17. redarmy11 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    I thought I saw a dragon once, flying along at super-high speed, spitting a trail of fire from it's backside.

    But I was eventually forced to conclude that it was a Boeing 747, and that I'd eaten too many magic mushrooms..

    They do exist though. Definitely.
     
  18. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    535
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of existence either. Thjere is no evidence at all that dragons existed except folk stories. These stories contain many contradictions and differences across cultures. For two of the most important defining aspects of dragons- ability to fly and to breathe fire- there are good scientific reasons above to believe they are physically impossible. If you are going to say that dragons might have existed you are going to have to show that dragons could have done what they are supposed to have done.
    What happened to brown bears when hunters shot them then?
    Dragons seem to have something in common with god: no evidence at all, but believers think that supports the theory.
     
  19. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    Not so. In latvian folk tales dragons don't breathe fire. However they are themselves described as long reptiles that look like strokes of fire in the sky, that's why I think that they may be descriptions of an occasional meteor falling through Earth's atmosphere. Maybe also coments flying by.
     
  20. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    535
    Well it sounds like a flAW in translation: there are other mythological flying reptiles that don't breathe fire- wyverns, I think are one. They're defined as a variant-dragon.
     
  21. Xevious Truth Beyond Logic Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    964
    "What happened to brown bears when hunters shot them then?"

    You are asking for natural evidence on par with paleontology. In nature, be it by predators or by age, animals die of natural causes and end up in the fossil record, or their corpses are found lying on the ground if they are common enough. What I was saying is that no dead brown bears have ever been found in nature. This is because they are both an uncommon species, and they are predators. In general, you find only one predator for every ten herbavor species. So in NATURE (and a bear being shot by a hunter is not natural death for the purposes of this discussion, but in other discussions... I degress) one has never found a dead brown bear. In the case of Dragons, which were considered a rare site in all the cultures it comes from, the chances of finding any fossil remains is very low. Remember that as a species becomes rarer, its chances of becomming a fossil is increasingly rare.

    "Dragons seem to have something in common with god: no evidence at all, but believers think that supports the theory. "

    Considering how many times science has fallen on it's face saying how "supid" people are to believe in myths and legends and later is forced to recant itself when it comes to light, this is probably a very poor philosophy to have in science.
     
  22. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    535
    Exactly. What is your source for the claim that dead brown bears have never been found in nature? Do you mean entire recently dead brown bears before the scavengers got to them or that no bones skin fragments or any other part have been found?
    And the more valuable its skin bones etc becpme as soouvenirs.
    Really? Care to give a few examples and compare them with the enormous number of occasions when what everybody knew because it was obvious turned out not to be true when someone experimented with it?
     
  23. JoojooSpaceape Burn in hell Hippies Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    498
    Thank you for watching movies. Dragons are basically two ideas, something scaly (Like a lizard or snake, which many consider scary) and Big stuff, Bigger things are always scarier! I had always thought it possible that people had stumbled upon dinosaur bones and made a connection, though I really wished I had seen this special because it sounds really interesting. Though im reminded of the jabberwokee poem, one of the poems (Which i cant remember what it is called) that follows all the rules of rhyme and rhythm, but does not actually make any sense.
     

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