Could Dragons Have Been Real?
Posted on March 21, 2005
Animal Planet (part of the Discovery Network) produced an interesting show, called Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real. Dragons provides a faux documentary that shows scientists discovering a frozen dragon carcass in a cave high in the mountains. Inside the cave scientists also find the bodies of several 15th-century humans. As the Dragons show reminds us several times during the show -- Dragons have been recorded in nearly every single human culture. Even cultures that did not have contact with one another like the Aztecs and Inuit Eskimos.
The show takes the viewpoint that the dragons must have been intelligent animals that were hunted and pushed to extinction by man's continuous expansion. To explain dragons from a science standpoint the producers came up with some interesting theories to explain the dragon's ability to fly and breathe fire. They said the dragons' bones were strong but light -- similar to large birds today. The dragons also created hydrogen from a bacteria in the gut that was stored in two organs called air bladders that gave the creatures buoyancy during flight. To create fire the dragons ground up platinum with a second set of teeth that they could use to ignite the hydrogen and oxygen. Today's bombardier beetle goes through a similar process when it blasts chemicals at a predator at temperatures of over 212 degrees Fahrenheit as a survival technique.
Obviously, we have no real fossil records of dragons. However, the city of Troy was considered a legend until its discover. And the recent discovery of a race of very short people (hobbits) makes you wonder if some of the stories we assume are myths and legends are actually facts. Even if you don't think it is possible the show is still worth watching simply for the cutting-edge special effects -- plus Patrick Stewart narrates. An especially amazing segment is when the dragons display a dangerous courtship ritual the developers based on the actual courting ritual of Sea Eagles. The dragons soar high in the sky together where they lock talons. Then the dragons dive straight downward together at alarming speed before pulling up at the very last moment.
You can view a trailer for the Animal Planet show here. The episode is available on DVD.