We all know about the dragons of the legends, but how much do we know about their actual lives?
Dragons are incredibly diverse, and the way they behave, interact and breed can affect their own well-being.
A new book, Dragon Adventures, tells the fascinating story of the creatures we love so much.
Its creator, Stephen Gammill, a retired zoologist from Dublin, wants to bring dragon stories back to life.
It has a big goal: to “bring together a diverse and fascinating range of dragons from all over the world”, and help people better understand the fascinating creatures they know.
In the process of doing this, Gammil hopes to help dispel myths about dragons.
“We’re really trying to do a real job of educating people on how the dragons actually exist,” he says.
“The only way to do that is by understanding the real life story behind them.”
One of the main points of interest in the book is the fact that dragons are born with wings.
When a dragon’s parents decide to give birth to a new dragon, it’s this extra body that becomes the dragon.
“When they have the right genes for that, it grows in a way that gives them wings,” Gammell says.
The book explores what happens to the body after birth and how that can change the animal’s life cycle.
The first thing you learn about a dragon is that they are born from a male dragon egg.
“This is the one where they have a head and tail and all of their plumage and feathers come out, and that’s it,” Gampill explains.
“Once the egg is fertilised and the dragon has a body, it goes into a vegetative state.
“It’s still quite young, but by the time you get a tail, the body is a lot bigger and the tail is still growing.” “
Once the egg hatches, it doesn’t take long for the body to start to change. “
It’s still quite young, but by the time you get a tail, the body is a lot bigger and the tail is still growing.”
Once the egg hatches, it doesn’t take long for the body to start to change.
“In that vegetative stage, it still has some of the body parts that it had before it hatched, but the tail starts to grow,” Gampsill says.
So what happens after the egg’s released?
“They start to develop a new head and neck,” Gamin explains.
That’s when the adult dragons develop wings.
“By the time the tail has grown to about two metres, it can be very visible,” Gamsill says, pointing to the dragon’s tail.
The tail grows back into the body and the body changes into a dragon, but then Gammills adds that “there’s a lot more change.”
Gammils life-cycle is quite complex.
“There are a lot of things happening in that body at that stage, so you have to get the whole picture,” he explains.
It’s not easy to understand just what happens.
“A lot of what we see is that you have an enormous change in body size and it can even change into a very different shape than the original body,” he points out.
“At the same time, you have these extraordinary growths of the tail, so it’s very interesting to see how that changes the body over time.”
The process of developing the body of a dragon varies from dragon to dragon.
There are many different species of dragon, including the more common black dragon, the blue dragon, and various species of white dragon, Gampills book also explains.
There is a big difference between a dragon that has the head of a horse and one that has an all-white body.
“They’re different in that they’re different species,” he adds.
“You have to be very careful in terms of when you hatch them because you can have a very strong tail that’s very sensitive to heat, and they can go quite deep, but they also need to be protected from predators and from predators’ food, which is very different from a horse,” Gimmill explains, adding that the white dragon has “much bigger teeth and they’re very sharp, but it doesn’s have as many muscles as a horse does.”
Gamps life-cycles can also be quite varied, with some species becoming large and strong, while others can change shape very quickly.
“Sometimes you have a dragon with very long legs and some other dragons that can have those long legs,” he laughs.
“Other times they change their body shape, but you have so many changes in the body that it’s difficult to see.”
What’s more, Gamps body changes can be so rapid that they can be completely different from the animal that was born.
“Some of them can go from being very muscular, to having the legs of a small animal and have the back of a giant horse,” he observes.
“But all of these changes can occur in the span of a year or two.”
In some cases, it takes months to get to the point of maturity.
“If a dragon doesn’t develop a tail