09-27-06, 04:24 PM #1
Fire breathing dragons...Did they exist?
Well after watching "reign of fire" last night I thought about dragons and this popped up in my wild imaginative mind!
Considering how many Dragons were slain in various European folklores, it's interesting to see that not one part of any dragon's remains have ever been uncovered, you would have thought that such things would be kept as trophies at least once. That said, they are extremely prominent in a great number of Myths and legends, from the Eastern 'Serpents of Sea and Air' which were mainly benevolent, to the much more malevolent European version.
I suspect the whole 'breathing fire' part of the Dragon stories (which mainly occured in Western tales) was more a matter of making them appear more fearsome, after all, it's a lot more valiant to say 'I hath killed a 3-storey tall monster that did spit hellfire', rather than 'I went out on a quest 3 months ago and hath found bugger all'.
Take a look an old literature on European "dragon" and you find that they were not the skyscraper size creatures depicted in comic books, but the size of cattles, because that's what they were.
Cattles always barf methane gas and they are curious creatures that occasionally get attracted to fire, rather than repelled by it as lowly creatures are.
If it gets too close, the continuous methane gas that comes out of its mouth
is ignited, and seeing a fire in front of themselves, them go wako, running
amok and setting everything around them on fire. Since homes and agricultural products will burn without the help of fire extinguishers, they were much feared.
It sounds dumb, but farmers occasionally make the news when they do bring a flame in front of a cow and it run amok, setting the barn on fire.
The thing is, you can't just take a small lizard, stick wings on it, supersize it and then expect it to fly, something the quoted size of a Dragon would be as manouverable as a potato in the air, and would probably shred it's wings in the first beat. Even if it did have hollow bones and used hydrogen in it's stomach to increase lift (another theory as to how they could breath fire), you're basically talking about a Hindenburg of a monster, you wouldn't need a lance to kill it, they'd be on the verge of exploding every minute of the day.
Let's take something from the velociraptor family and see if we can make it a dragon:
We've already got a pretty fearsome creature--it's fast, presumably tough, and has a mouth full of nasty teeth, and a pair of disturbingly large and sharp claws on it's feet. Can we get it to breath fire? Well, we all know that biological organisms can produce various flammable substances, whether gasses such as hydrogen and methane, or liquids (oils, alcohol) or solids (fats).
That's not too much of a problem in terms of possibility. We also know, thanks to the bombadier beetle, that it's possible to have an organic ignition system. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that a creature could have glands that produced a volatile liquid and other glands that would produce chemicals to ignite it at will. It would require a lot of energy to produce these substances, but it's certainly possible.
If dragons were real then they could have just been another kind of dinosaur. But where did the fossils go?
Last year National Geographic had an article about sea monsters. There is a fossil record to show that they did exist. They also point out that many of the ancient drawings of sea monsters almost exactly fit the fossil record.
If large reptiles survived until humans spread accost the Earth why are they extinct now?
09-27-06, 04:39 PM #2
The fossils were never created, since they were full of acid, required for the reaction with calcium to produce the H for lift. This probably happened in a specialized reaction chamber in their middle. That's why they slept in caves, so as not to be blown away in the wind. That also explains why they sought out pure gold to line their caves, since gold is non-reactive. Their skin might have been volnerable to leaking acid.
09-27-06, 05:04 PM #3
Considering how many Dragons were slain in various European folklores, it's interesting to see that not one part of any dragon's remains have ever been uncovered, you would have thought that such things would be kept as trophies at least once
09-27-06, 05:13 PM #4
09-27-06, 09:34 PM #5
Its a bit of a jump from large sea reptiles to dinosaurs. As for cows brethign fire, sure, that might suggest some things to people. But a lot of the early dragons didnt even fly, they were more akin to worms.
09-27-06, 11:01 PM #6
Back in the late 1970s when dragons were hip there were a number of coffee table books published on the "biology of dragons." Some were fairly elaborate and rigorous science fiction. I remember one that neatly explained how such large creatures could fly without a hundred foot wingspan and a twenty foot deep breastbone to anchor them. The flammable gas that produced the flames was stored in a chamber that provided buoyancy.
Of course this only applies to the European dragon myth. Oriental dragons don't breathe fire, don't have wings, and are not relentlessly evil.
09-28-06, 10:54 PM #7
I suppose it's not impossible for a large lizard-like beast to develop an ability to spray a two part hypergolic (self igniting) substance to give it the ability to "breathe fire", another possibility would to spray a substance that ingites on contact with air, but it'd have problems with leftover burning gunk in its mouth. (now thats a spicy meatball!!)
If that had happened though, vegitation would probably have adapted to become fireproof.
09-28-06, 11:14 PM #8
09-28-06, 11:25 PM #9
09-30-06, 06:59 PM #10
09-30-06, 08:20 PM #11Originally Posted by samcdkey
I'll be more clear, and maybe inadverntly answer the question.
Our gut flora, because of anaerobic respiration, produce small quantities of ethanol. Over the course of a day, they produce about an ounce total.
10-02-06, 06:53 AM #12
There is some paleontological evidence that a skull arrangement could have accommodated "fire-breathing.
The hadrosaurs’ nasal cavities could easily have connected to chemical reserves in the hollow, horny crest.
Consider this biological evidence. There is a "fire-breathing" beetle called the bombadier beetle. Hydrogen Peroxide and Hydroquinone are contained in separate chambers in the beetle’s abdomen, from where it can be ejected to confront a predator with an explosive mixture reaching 212º F!
The Bible leaves very little room for a hyperbole or metaphor interpretation. Job 41:19-21 says of Leviathan that, "Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goes smoke as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth."
After all, who would have thought that an electric eel or firefly was real if they had not been seen it!
10-07-06, 02:42 PM #13
10-09-06, 05:39 AM #14
10-09-06, 08:36 AM #15Originally Posted by Vega
I actually got video of it, but of course it was all out of boiling fluids. It was a pretty boring look beetle. Nothing impressive or colorful, which was sort of surprising. I thought it'd at least be brightly colored, as warning. Maybe a little "danger, may contain hot liquids" sticker on the side or something.
I mean, if it was intelligently designed, it'd have a label like that.
Last edited by Roman; 10-09-06 at 08:43 AM.
10-09-06, 09:46 AM #16Originally Posted by Roman
look at this for example (colorful bombadier beetle):
Colorful bombadier beetle
10-09-06, 10:19 AM #17
It's amazing how something that small could have such a complex and lethal defensive system!
10-09-06, 02:26 PM #18
10-09-06, 02:39 PM #19
10-09-06, 02:40 PM #20Originally Posted by Zardozi