Anyway, this apparent plasticity of dinosaur bodies has gotten me thinking: Can anything else be reclassified the same way? Specifically, do we now have the tools we need to reclassify (Western) dragons as dinosaurs?
- Dinosaur bones were one of the foundations for the idea of dragons in the first place.
- We know of flying reptiles that weren't dinosaurs, and dinosaurs that evolved into birds. Reptiles with wings are not an unsubstantiated concept.
- There were carnivorous dinosaurs. There were also intelligent dinosaurs. These were not mutually exclusive categories.
- Co-incidentally, Dromaeosauridae is a family we know had feathers.
- There is evidence that dinosaurs and similarly-dated aquatic reptiles have survived well into the modern era.
- A number of bird species hoard shiny objects. Birds are almost definitely descended from dinosaurs.
- Evolution can do remarkable things, given time.
- Some dinosaurs were very big. So are some dragons.
- Since we now have evidence that dinosaurs changed shape as they aged, it is not impossible that a species or two could have gained the ability to sprout wings out of their backs upon reaching maturity. We simply don't have any fully mature specimens to examine.
- Most cultures have some kind of "imaginary" reptilian creature, frequently one that eats people. Dinosaur fossils are found all over the planet.
- Dinosaurs are extinct. So, we believe, are dragons.
Three obvious "flaws" with this theory: no evolutionary evidence (we just haven't found it yet); no explanation for the fire thing (yeah, I don't have one either, except standard mythological exaggeration); no legends of Pan-American dragons, per se (thunderbird, Quetzalcoatl).
That aside, I think I've listed enough facts to build a good case for the theory that dragons are, in fact, giant flying Utahraptors with a unique defense mechanism. And don't tell me that would make dragons a solely North American phenomenon. First, there's Achillobator, and second, dragons can fly.