February 13th, 2007

Ann Vole

Mammalian dragons and beaver tails

Some mammals have scaly skin such as the tails of beavers. These scaled sections seem to have a function for having those scales such as the scales on the underside and base of some gliding squirrel species that is used as a break when landing on a tree trunk. Beavers seem to use their tails for things that would be painful if it had normal skin such as spend long times in freezing water or slapping their tails on the water to make a noise that can be heard for miles. The scales seem to be a way of having thicker skin without sacrificing flexibility.

Dragons (as we seem to think they are designed) have bat-like wings. Scales on those wings would mess up the great amount of flexibility the wing membranes need to have but at the same time scales and reptile-like features are also part of typical designs. I am wondering if the scales can be like those found on mammals (and bird legs) and are just there for some specific purpose. Thinking this way can change the designs of dragons in subtle but I think significant ways. I never really thought much about dragon designs until I saw the first Bone book (by Jeff Smith) and was surprised by the design of the Great Red Dragon in that he is very furry with floppy bunny-like ears. Recent study of the old dinosaur bones has scientists classifying many of these extinct gigantic animals as mammals or a mammal precursor order of animals. This seems to be a good place to put dragons in my mind as you can go from elephants to mammoths (naked to furry) depending on the habitat and scales can be for functionality rather then the default skin covering and fur is an acceptable addition to any design if the fur serves a purpose. The whole ear thing is also interesting in that the whole structure behind ears only shows up in mammals so for dragons to have external ear structures, they cannot be reptiles.
Ann Vole

internet conversation I overheard

RSN: i had a brownie and it was good but it made my stomach upset!

B-C: I see. Tell me more about this brownie, aka "your childhood" if you will.

RSN: dark, bittersweet and full of nuts

B-C: Wow. I never realized that the common brownie was a microcosm of human existence.