The Best Dragon (According to Science)

The Best Dragon (According to Science)


Hi, this is Julián from MinuteEarth. Dragons don’t exist – but if they did – which
would be pretty cool – they’d need to conform to Earth’s biological and physical rules. So we figured we’d make a fun video about
which of these famous fantasy dragons would have the best shot at being more than just
fantasy. To rank these dragons’ believability, we’ll
start with the most egregiously unnatural characteristics of dragons and move up from
there. Look, obviously dragons breathe fire, but
we looked into it and the only thing that even comes close to that in nature is the
bombardier beetle, which fires boiling hot liquid from its butt to burn its enemies – not
exactly fire breathing. So let’s just move on to limbs. Most Western depictions of dragons, like on
the Welsh flag, have four legs and two wings for a total of six limbs. But all bony creatures on Earth evolved from
a four-limbed fish whose body is the blueprint for every other bony creature … including
a hypothetical dragon, clearly a bony creature. This would make it very unlikely for a six-limbed
dragon to evolve on Earth. That’s why some fantasy writers, filmmakers,
and game designers have used real bats, birds, and pterosaurs as models for their four-limbed
dragons. So we’re placing all these six-limbed dragons
in the bottom tier, including the Smaug from the theatrical release of the first Hobbit
film. The Smaug from the second film, however, gets
to move on, since the filmmakers removed his front legs, not because they particularly
cared about Earth’s evolutionary history, but because they thought it would make for
a more expressive performance. A wingless four-legged dragon would be accurate
too, but without magical flight like Eastern depictions of dragons, that’s basically
just a lizard. So, let’s talk about wings: animals need
them in order to fly, which means they need big chest muscles to flap their wings, which
means they need a tall ridge on their specially modified sternums called a “keel” for
the muscles to attach to. A dragon without a keel couldn’t have the
muscles needed to power fast enough flight to keep its massive body in the air. That means it’s the end of the line for
these smooth-chested beauties. But a keel alone is not enough to fly; any
creature that wants to fly also needs the right combination of weight, wing size, and
flight speed. The more a creature weights, the bigger its
wings need to be or the faster it needs to fly to generate the necessary lift to keep
it afloat. For example, penguins, which do have a keel,
could actually fly despite their comically narrow wings, but they would have to go nearly
as fast as a commercial airliner and deal with ludicrous forces on their wings. The Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur, thought to be
the largest flying animal to have ever existed, had a 12 meter wingspan, which kept its 250
kilograms aloft at a reasonable 80 Km/h speed. Naturally, we painstakingly calculated the
weights and wing sizes of all our remaining dragon contenders and found they all had wings
too small for their weight, meaning they’d need to fly at ridiculously fast speeds in
order to sustain flight and the forces involved would destroy any flesh and bone based wings. Wait, so NOBODY wins? Well … among our remaining candidates, the
most realistic has to be the one with the biggest wings in relation to their weight. And the winner is: the Hungarian Horntail
from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It has four limbs, a keel to hold its muscles,
and the biggest wings in relation to its weight. Now, whether or not you could ride it … we
could get into that, but we don’t want this video to drag-on. Did someone just make a claw-some pun?! Hey Matt! What brings you over to MinuteEarth from the
Extra Credits side of the internet? Well Julián, you got me thinking… if the
existence of these fantastical beasts are scientifically improbable at best… then
how did tons of cultures around the world each come up with Dragons myths before every
having contact with one another? Good question! Say, you wouldn’t happen to… oh I don’t
know… have any idea where one could find a youtube video discussing that very topic
would you? You know, I just might! If you’re fired up about dragons like I
am, then come fly by the Extra Mythology campfire, where we’ll talk all about the Dragon myths
of various cultures, human psychology, dinosaurs, and even the politics of Dragons! Political dragons eh? Hope they can let “Bagons be Bagons”… Did we just become best friends?

100 thoughts on “The Best Dragon (According to Science)

  • November 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm
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    We had a blast working with our friends at ExtraCredits! Go learn about the origin of dragons in their video, it's quite the fantastic tail : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL8qSfXIo4M

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:10 am
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    I mean, they do exist, but people just imagine alot, so that what came to fire. And they used to have air in their bodies so they'd be able to fly.
    So..

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:10 am
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    2 legs? Those are wyverns, not dragons

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:15 am
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    I think a fire breathing dragon could work, one way is to use the gas from digestion and sparking two stones to ignite.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:17 am
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    I feel like this whole video came out of someone making that pun on a skype call

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:18 am
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    Ya Harry potter

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:19 am
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    How can you say the the final contenders could not exist you are only calculating for the body size because how could you know the weight of the dragons

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:20 am
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    Charizard is not a dragon it’s a flying lizard

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:22 am
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    I used to be really snoby calling four lim dragons no actuall dragons

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:23 am
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    No classic D&D Red? I am disappointed

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:27 am
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    Came from the Extra Credits video! This was pretty fun, it felt very snappy.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:35 am
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    A four limbed dragon is called a wyvern

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:35 am
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    I being stupid probably but um a Dragon with only 4 limbs isn't a dragon. Please correct me if I'm wrong…..

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:37 am
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    Smart pun at the end 😂

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:37 am
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    the Ender Dragon doesn’t have a common ancestor among Earth creatures because it’s not from Earth. It’s from The End, a separate celestial body that’s in a different galaxy if not in a different universe. Its wing size may be acceptable because The End is several times smaller than Earth and thus if it were real it would have extremely low gravity. So if you’re willing to accept aliens as plausible it’s actually the winner here.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:41 am
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    i was hoping to see Sol Badguy in this video

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:47 am
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    Extra Mythology sent me.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    I think typhoomerang could be realistic

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    Possible avenues for evolution of dragon attributes:

    6 limbs via a hox gene dupilcation mutation. One pair of those can then go on to be modified into wings in subsequent adaptations.

    Fire breathing could start as spitting poison, then a duplication and mutation results in having a new enzyme that makes a new compound that ignites when combined with the first.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    Monster hunter wyvern would prob be closest to reality if you remove their elemental ability lol

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:51 am
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    I must step in here to say that a "dragon" without four legs and 2 wings is not a dragon. Not a true dragon, anyway. Unless we're talking eastern dragons.

    They are either wyverns (4 limbs, 2 wings 2 legs) or drakes (4 legs, no wings)

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:51 am
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    MinuteEarth: Tier Zoo special

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  • November 5, 2019 at 2:51 am
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    People always say wyverns are more possible than dragons. What if they're closer related to bugs than mammals or birds, then 6 limbs can work?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:00 am
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    I think the silkwing from WOF would win

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:06 am
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    Nobody wanted it nobody choose it but here he is ruining another good show 3:21

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:07 am
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    this is true for fantasy dragons but there was a lovely show that discovery came out awhile back that discused how dragons could exist, and even explains how they have 6 apendages, that being the evolved from a completly SEPERATE common ancesotor to most mamilian life, this also would explain how they would be so radicly diffrent from all other tarestrial forms
    as for flight, a heated gass blader in there chest reduced there weight and when needed let them brath fire by exhaleing this gas and igniteing it as it came out…downside, if they overused it they were grounded till it refilled which could take a day or two

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:12 am
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    OMG! THE KIWIIII!!! that video was so sad!!! thanks for reminding me that :'(

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:13 am
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    what about the ones in which millions upon millions of teenage girls develop a crush on? hehehehehe UwU

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:20 am
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    How did dragons get invented? How the hell did god get into our brains? I'd rather think there was a dragon out there.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:22 am
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    Nothing from Monster Hunter?!

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:24 am
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    Figment? Ruth?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:25 am
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    Chaizard is not a Dragon

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:26 am
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    I think that last dragon pun was the best pun done on this channel.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:26 am
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    I must ask how you know these ppl never meet? Humans were traveling pretty far before civilization. Also it first have to be Marco Polo, one man traveling very far to exchange the idea. It could be as simple as the game telephone. If everyone tells there neighbor it can travel far and just like telephone the message get corrupted.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:31 am
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    Charizard is not a dragon

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:32 am
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    Wait what about king ghidorah

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:37 am
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    I am gonna cry, dragons with 2 legs are wyverns (which I guess you COULD call dragons, given that they are dragonoid, you COULD also call a square a rectangle, but that is dumb)

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:44 am
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    This was a nice video, until the end where you started schilling for known abusive monster James Portnow.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:48 am
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    (1:08) I did NOT know that about the Smaug from the Hobbit films! Now I am going to have to go look that up! 😉 I actually prefer the four limbed dragons, myself. Ones that have two rear legs and then arms which are also the wings of the creature, like a bat, where you can clearly see the "fingers" forming the structure of the wings. At any rate, thank you for pointing out the "Smaug Mod" in the second Hobbit movie! 😉

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:49 am
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    Wait so the ender dragon is in the bottom tier?

    TIME TO RIOT

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:49 am
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    Hey the pokemon noyver is not a dragon it is a large bat reed its move

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:50 am
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    Silmarillion Ancalagon the black best dragon ever

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:53 am
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    Are we really just gonna gloss over the boiling butt spewing beatle? wtf?!?!

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  • November 5, 2019 at 3:57 am
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    Dragons do exist. Kamodo Dragons

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:03 am
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    How you betray charizard D:

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:04 am
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    "Skyrim Dragon"? It's Alduin you nerds

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:07 am
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    But I wanted this video to drag on ☹

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:14 am
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    It was fun until the end. I am done with extra credits

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:16 am
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    Btw charizard isn't a dragon 😅

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:24 am
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    U can not ride a Harry Potter dragon because they deadly

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:24 am
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    Four-limbed dragons are called wyverns

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:38 am
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    charizard isn't a dragon

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:40 am
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    You can't hold the number of limbs against it, as the ability to have that many is possible. Insects fly without modified forelimbs.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:45 am
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    Dar garchomp go fast enough

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:04 am
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    There are already 893 comments as I'm writing this so I'm sure it has already been said, CHARIZARD IS NOT A DRAGON! It is Fire/Flying. I know, I know, It looks like a textbook dragon. I see y'all using Pokemon in a lot of your videos, which is cool but, if you're really into Pokemon YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER! At least you got Dragonite right but that's kind of a given. "Dragon" is in the name.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:11 am
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    I don't care what anyone says. Dragons have four legs. They don't need wings, but they do need legs. Nothing about them is realistic so giving them a wyvern body plan is unnecessary.

    Fite me.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:15 am
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    So the best dragon based on science would stop at tier two, 4 limbed "dragons" are wyverns

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:17 am
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    For a minute there, I was worried that this video wasn't going to mention Shenlong or other Eastern dragons.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:20 am
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    Your point about a common fish ancestor seemed to have some weight until I realized that Centaurs smash that idea right out of the water. Sorry.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:26 am
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    The Ender Dragon, Toothless and Smaug are the only REAL dragons here. Others are Wyverns or not a dragon at all.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:27 am
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    Came form extra credits. Also the whole fish argument isn't 100% valid because it's a theory but a lot of things are so.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:28 am
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    1:03
    Ah, yes, Todd Howard.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:31 am
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    Why is everyone calling WYVERNS a DRAGON!?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:31 am
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    I wish all Pokemon existed

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:32 am
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    I didn't ask for Extra Credits, and yet here we are.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 5:37 am
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    what about Kanna-chan?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 5:38 am
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    What about the Dragons depicted in the movie "Reign of Fire" (2002)?
    They breathed fire by combining two chemicals from glands on either side of the mouth, essentially using a hypergolic reaction to create jets of flame just in front of the mouths, that could probably be directed by fast powerful exhales. Also, there are already several real world examples of animals that can spit or eject liquid from their mouths at high pressures and velocities. You mention the Bombarier beetle which makes use of a catalytic reaction to decompose Hydrogen Peroxide to give the jet of boiling water.
    They were four limbed.
    They also seemed to have a very pronounced sternum or at least a very well developed ventral bulge.
    Next, the wingspans of the dragons were enormous, I'd say about 4/5 of the total surface area was wing when fully extended. They almost looked like albatrosses in fact. Perhaps they would be better long distance fliers, and be unable to maneuver very well, but being able to strafe while setting your prey on fire would hardly require fine flight control.
    What do you think ?

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 5:56 am
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    Good video, but you forgot the Nordic Lindorm! It is serpent- like, has only 4 limbs, big wings and spits poison, not fire. Clearly the most realistic dragon of all! It even has all the classic dragon traits, it guards treasures, captures princesses and sleeps in underground caves. And it gets killed by heroes so it should qualify as a dragon!

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 6:06 am
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    … eastern dragon only has 4 limbs, no wings, and can fly

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:10 am
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    Pleas can you do more dragon videos 🐉🐲

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:14 am
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    Nobody:

    Pokémon Sword and Shield: 0:03

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:24 am
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    hmmm lets bust this video
    1. As many people have pointed out …4 limbs (2 legs and 2 wings) is a wyvern …a dragon has 4 limbs for legs and 2 wings….it may also have 4 or even 6 wings or it may have 6 legs doesn't matter but 6 limbs 2 of them being wings is a must
    2. The Asian type dragons which are wingless (only some) are called Longs and they are more closer to a religious deity that can control the weather and terrain than to any animal
    3. Dragons need not breathe fire as some may have poison,frost breath lightning breath and even poison gas similar to the one in How to Tame your dragon
    as for poison gas it is possible
    4. Fire breath is not as hard as you think ….if a dragon's insides produce enough methane gas and the dragon were to create sparks using its teeth it should create a fire breath…please note that cows produce methane in their farts and a dragon which is bigger and smellier than cows should be able to produce enough combustible gas to ignite and create fire breath
    5. Dragons on average tend to fly really fast as in try an average of 300 kmph + this is due to their size and energy produced by their body and wings shape
    6. Dragons have scales which are tougher than steel which can withstand such high velocity soooooooooooooo
    yeah dragons can 100% exist

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 6:40 am
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    Talking about dragons.. And you include Charizard. It's not even a dragon type

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:46 am
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    I think is Alduin

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:46 am
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    The most likely "dragon" type would be probably some kind of primitive pterosaur branch that never lost its tail or teeth but kept getting larger and lost its pycnofibers.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:47 am
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    > Makes video about dragons.
    > Talk about Wyvern.
    My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:49 am
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    Yay! Two of my most favourite youtube channels have a collaboration.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 6:50 am
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    User Trey The Explainer also did a video on how Dragons COULD have evolved if they did exist, and what animals/reptiles/Dinosaurs they would have had to evolved from. And one thing he was pretty adamant about (and I find myself partially agreeing with this assessment) is that any Dragon that has six limbs (four legs and two wings, what I personally classify as "True" Dragons) could NOT evolve naturally. They would have to be bred in a laboratory through genetic manipulation.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:51 am
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    No love for Drogon?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:54 am
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    Flightless Dragons that have four legs are NOT "basically just a lizard". They fall into an entire CATEGORY of Dragons known as "Drakes".

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  • November 5, 2019 at 6:56 am
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    Eastern dragons are basically snake balloons full of hydrogen. It's how they fly, without wings or moving much and how they can breath fire.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
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    2:00 – Well damn, I wasn't expecting those feels 😢

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:07 am
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    Wait a minute the Ender dragon is on the moon so would it be realistic then?

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:16 am
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    They arent dragons with 2 legs they are Wyverns

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:21 am
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    Only the bottom tier has dragons. The rest are wyverns.

    Nice video about wyverns.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:22 am
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    So in other words, Wyverns are the most realistic type of dragon, scientifically.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:27 am
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    Which dragon is the best?
    Furries: any anthropomorphic.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:30 am
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    As I'm sure many other comments are saying Charizard isn't a dragon type, it is a lizard if that is what you meant

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:33 am
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    free portrait drawing , international shipping.. https://www.instagram.com/pencil_cracker

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 7:35 am
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    My wings are massive compared to my mass. Especially since my bones are hollow and I don't weigh that much for my size (I'm bigger than quetzalcoatlus). I also fly much faster than any other creature so I guess you could say I'm actually overcompensating for my mass at this point.

    The point is, I'm a dragon and I exist just fine.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:35 am
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    Actually, Noivern should have discarded everyone else over the fire breathing deparment, because unlike other dragons it doesn't actually breath fire. It is able to smash rocks and stuff using sound, though.
    Charizard is also not a dragon, just a lizard that flies and have magical fire powers, which coincidentally allow it to breath fire too.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:35 am
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    "4-limbed dragons"

    Just say wyvern it hurts

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:42 am
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    Boooo extra credits boooo

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:44 am
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    what about the pokemon vibrava?
    it looks like a dragonfly but it is a dragon type.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 7:49 am
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    Read the bible!

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  • November 5, 2019 at 8:06 am
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    The pause after that pun. That was a solid 3 seconds of silence for it to sink in, even giving you time to roll your eyes.
    That was an incredibly bold move and I love that you did that. Nice job.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 8:12 am
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    >Extra Credits plug
    The worst part of the video by far.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 8:14 am
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    not nitpicking but 4 limb dragon you said technically called a wyvern so that talking technical term, people would see the same picture
    in Japanese, there are even separated term using Ryuu and Dragon
    Ryuu is a long Chinese dragon-like
    Dragon, on the other hand, is the 6 limb-European one

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 8:18 am
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    What about Shenron :'-(

    Reply

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