Physiology: the branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.

So thanks to the wonderful medium of technology, despite the fact that when this actually gets posted, I shall be driving to a field for a fun filled four days of camping over Easter weekend, I can still fulfill my posting obligations. I love schedules publishing. Today is going to be about physiology: how do dragons function biologically? (Anatomy will also come into this, but we passed A ages ago.)

For dissection today we shall take the classic western form of a dragon: long reptilian body, four legs, wings, wedge shaped head, long tail.

anatomy_of_the_western_dragon_by_katepfeilschiefter-d3iy3c7

Skeletal Structure: The skeletal structure is thought to comprise of over 500 bones, more than doubles that of humans. Although they are more commonly compared to reptiles in apperance, the dragon’s skeleton is more like a feline is structure with it’s backbone and four legs. The bones thmselves are hollow like a bird, whic enables them to fly with ease, since their overall weight is reduced. Within the body the bones are increadably strong, but once the dragon dies or the bones are exposed to air, they become very brittle indeed, tending to crumble away at a touch, which is what make fossilised bones so rare.

Muscular System: The muscle system of a dragon is very strange indeed, coming in at a cross between a reptile and a large cat, if one were to compare it to other creatures, but it is probably best to look at it function wise. The chest and wing muscles are very dense and provide great power to the wings for flight, but this is still not enough to get a dragon off the ground, which is why it is thought that they use their elemental energies, which they appear to store in their hollow bones, to assist them in flying. The wings muscles are also very mobile, allowing the dragon to rotate their wings and control their flight once in the air. Because of the density of the muscles, this area is well supplied with blood, which flows in great quantity, and because of this the toxins which cause fatigue in humans are washed away before they affect the dragon, so they can fly for hours at a time without needing to rest, as long as they are not going at top speed. The muscles from neck top rump, including legs, resemble those of a great cat for aid in hunting, whilst the tail and neck are more like those of a constricting reptile.

Major Organs: A dragon’s brain is large, both proportionally and absolutely. A big part of this is dedicated to the acts of reasoning, logic and memory, and another big part to the sensory organs of the dragons, and a third to the channeling of learned behaviours into their brain to overcome some of their more base instincts. This part is interesting because it can add to the natural flight or fight response that most animals are born with, and develop new instincts for situations that it has been in before. A dragon’s voice is capable of ranges both far above and below what the human voice can replicate, and what humans can hear as well. The lungs are like an avian’s in construction since they need to deal with massive amount of oxygen, and the thinness of the atmosphere when flying at height. The heart of a dragon is the source of its power in lore. Whilst it still has four chambers like a human heart, it is said to pump strongly enough to crush granite. It generates all the elemental energy that a dragon uses for it’s magic, breath weapon, and flight and is doubtless the most important part of the dragon. The blood is produces is thinner than a human’s, and darker as well, nearing black in colour. Another important organ is the fundamentum, which is the source of a dragon’s breath weapon, and is a bit like a large artery, channeling energy rich blood from the heart directly into the upper stomach. The upper stomach stores this until it is needed, making the term ‘breath weapon’ inaccurate, since technically it comes from the stomach rather than the throat. It also deals with food, and uses large plates and muscles to crush the food up and digest.

Dragon_Organs Dragon_Skeleton

That’s it for today, but more to come on this topic when we look at T – Traits, for all the external parts of the dragon.

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