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Draco Arboravus by KatePfeilschiefter Draco Arboravus by KatePfeilschiefter
Protodragon; from this tree dwelling ancestor came contemporary westerns, those that lost their forelimbs became wyverns, and those who returned to the ground and seas developed into various wyrms and eastern dragons.

Those that came before the protodragon dwelt primarily in the water, hence the remnant of a paddle-like crocodilian tail.
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:iconeyewonderuniverse:
EyeWonderUniverse Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
cool! Looks like a lizard thing, which it IS... but, well, you know wat i mean?
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:iconcyberchief02:
Cyberchief02 Featured By Owner May 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this pretty good sorry that was being mean I love this piece but there is just one big problem I have with it being a Proto western dragon and that is its build is too lizard like and the western Dragons most defining Feature is missing X shaped pectoris muscle isn't being Shown here but its still a awsome little guy
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Keep in mind that mammals evolved from reptilian ancestors, which in turn evolved from amphibians. The differences between an ancestor and it's descendants can be as extreme as necessary as long as enough time separates the two. Crocodiles for example are the closest living relatives of birds, yet these two animal groups look nothing alike today.

However I'm not sure what you're talking about when you refer to an "x shaped pectoral muscle". 
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:iconwith-heart-and-soul:
with-heart-and-soul Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Instant :+fav:

Wonderful details, and the description is fantastic.
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:iconchirostenotes123:
Chirostenotes123 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Like a dragon version of microraptor! LOVE it girl!
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:icon21gunbunnies:
21gunbunnies Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
awesome creature!
I can imagane it looking like a dragonfly in flight.
..maaybe?
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!

I don't think this guy could fly yet, he'd more likely be seen jumping from tree to tree like a sugar glider. He doesn't have the muscular bulk or aerodynamic shape for powered flight.
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:icon21gunbunnies:
21gunbunnies Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
I see :)
If you're being realistic I guess x)
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Of course
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:iconaprilweredragon:
Aprilweredragon Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012
Awesome
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:iconaprilweredragon:
Aprilweredragon Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012
Wow
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:iconsarpaxd:
SarpaxD Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing
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:iconahkenahten:
Ahkenahten Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
kewl, love the pseudo science realism doohing you got goin on
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:iconfriggo-glicker:
Friggo-Glicker Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
interesting concept, and you drawing is just amazing
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:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Now I can bravely say that if dragons WERE reptiles, they'd look like this. Awesomely done.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! This guy, though he looks reptilian, couldn't actually be part of that animal Class. The simple truth is that because dragons possess six limbs they'd be exempt from all currently known animal Classes; instead belonging to a brand new group unique to hexapodal chordates. I styled him after a reptile because of how early he'd be placed in the hexapodal family tree. Mammals actually evolved from reptiles via synapsids, so I imagine as dragons evolved they'd take a similar route, starting off looking like amphibians, then reptiles, before taking on the mammalian characteristics featured in our myths and legends.
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:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Dude, I AM a biologist....
I only meant that I always get very annoyed when people name the dragons "reptiles" or sometimes even "winged lizards". Like they have never seen a lizard before OR a dragon (according to modern concepts). And that picture of yours would perfectly depict the differences in their appearance that I always point out. Apart from the biological side of things.
And since we ARE talking about evolution, you've just hit a theory I developed myself: hexapods - and I mean all hexapod vertebrates, not just dragons - have to evolve separately from tetrapods since as back as fishes, in which the limbs are first developing. But I think if they did they wouldn't look so similar to modern lizards. This creature on the picture looks like it has a close relation to lizards, considering its morphology I'd say it has somehow evolved from a lizard, no matter how difficult would that be (I won't say impossible, cuz I believe nature has no word for "impossible"). Evolution has too much randomness in itself to achieve such similarity between two branches which are supposed to have diverged from each other so early and therefore become so distant.

Apart from that, awesome picture - did I say this? :D
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I would have to disagree concerning the probability of similarity between distinct evolutionary branches, considering convergent evolution is quite prevalent among animals. I don't consider it too much of a stretch considering we're already accepting the existence of a new Class of animal in the scenario. I simply find it more probable than the spontaneous development of a second set of limbs in reptiles. As I don't know any example of such a case occurring in nature as opposed to the many examples of convergent evolution.

And yes, thank you again. And thanks for your input, I enjoy talking about this stuff.
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:iconsimkoning:
SimKoning Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
I'm not sure if fish with an extra set of paired fins is significantly more plausible. As far as I know, there are no fish species that have an extra set of paired fins beyond the pectoral and pelvic fins, which are homologous to the limbs of all tetrapods. Even lineages that evolved them separately have similar fin arrangements due to the same selective pressures. Consequently, a mutation analogous to a tetrapod getting a new pair of legs would need to occur, so even this scenario is rather implausible. It seems more plausible superficially, which helps with suspension of disbelief, and that's the important thing when it comes to fiction.

To be clear, this is the most realistic depiction of dragon evolution I've yet seen. Good work.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, and yeah in order for this guy to occur it would mean inventing a strain of fish with additional pelvic fins. It's just easier for me personally to believe dragons evolved this way than a species of lizard spontaneously sprouted a new pair of arms. Though either way I guess something is sprouting something somewhere along the animals evolution, but the simpler the organism the more I can buy into the mutation. Other people may take the gliding lizard route, but this is what I personally find the most convincing when trying to create hexapods.
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:iconsimkoning:
SimKoning Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
I prefer so called "wyvern" like dragons myself. Thanks to TSR/D&D I can't refer to a 4 limbed flying dragon as anything but a wyvern without angering a fantasy nerd out there somewhere. The heraldic wyvern is derived from the viper (not the snake) which was usually depicted in much the same way as many dragons: two legs, two wings. The primary difference between the two was not in their anatomy, but rather in the fact that medieval people believed that female vipers/wyverns gave birth to their young by being consumed from the inside out... medieval bestiaries are crazy.

Also, here is a medieval depiction of a bat [link]
Notice it has six limbs, 4 legs and a pair of wings. This would be my explanation as to why dragons are depicted with 6 limbs in medieval art; people were ignorant back then! lol

Here is a suggestion for your IP project: some lobe finned fish are actually "six-limbed" in that their posterior dorsal fin and anal fin have an analogous skeletal structure.

[link]

If the anal fin either split (like a gold fish tail) or doubled in someway, you might have the basis for another set of proto-legs. The "pelvis" would have to migrate up past the vent however, otherwise you might have yourself an animal with a cloaca where our belly button is... that would be weird.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah I remember these fish. Thanks for the link. Also that's pretty funny that people actually misinterpreted a bat like that, though it doesn't surprise me as even now some people don't understand that the wings are the arms of flying animals.

I do like wyverns, though I've unfortunately grown a little bored of them since they're the only kind of dragon I ever see in movies nowadays. And as improbable as hexapods are, they're fun to puzzle out, especially since they open up so many creature opportunities.
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:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Convergent evolution leads to similarities in adaptive characteristics, like body structure, organs, form of the limbs and so on, and so on. Nevertheless it doesn't lead to similarities in details which are of no vital importance, which we however recognize in certain animals as their typical features. They form in a much more random principle.
I mean that the contours and textures you've used to define the forms, the body cover, etc. - they make it look completely lizardine in every single curve, finger, toe, and piece of skin, even in the loose hide of the throat area. In fact, only the head is a little peculiar for a lizard. Which all looks awesome, but doesn't stand to logic. Like I said, convergent evolution can indeed cause very distant branches to develop similarities, but it is still a type of evolution - it's adaptive, it is achieved ONLY through adaptation. These similarities we observe in convergent branches are always adaptive, a result of similar environment and way of life. I can't see why would the finest details in the morphology be adaptive. Of course this is not impossible to happen, but chances are - even if the creature would live like some sort of a lizard, and have by some conincidence had the same evolutional history as lizards - it will have similar body structure and morphology but when you look at it closer, it will be actually very different. ;)

I'm glad, cuz I enjoy discussions of this kind as well. :meow:
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
True, I imagine the most similarities a dragon would have to a reptile are primarily external ones. I imagine the scales as being of a unique structure, rooted to the body via hairs in most places (with the exception of scutes), with the ability to raise from the body like feathers for temperature regulation purposes. And their internals would be more akin to that of avians than lizards, including being homeothermic.

I don't think I included too many fine reptilian details in this guy, (unless you're considering scales), just the basic climbing body type shared among reptiles and mammals. The arms and feet could go either way, the hands and wing membrane are more mammalian. And many creatures have loose skin around their neck, though in this case it was purposely inspired by frilled lizards.
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:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yeah, exactly. I tend to imagine them with a physiology similar to the one that certain dinosaurs have probably had. Those most closely related to birds in particular. Homeothermic doubtlessly. But on the other hand, I don't think dinosaurs were anatomically and physiologically similar to lizards either.

Yet the first thing that you think of (or at least that I think of) when you see this drawing is a lizard, isn't it? :) I was talking about its anatomy from an artistic point of view, not biological. Because mammals and lizards (and any other animals) have different shapes in their body, even in parts which function in similar ways. Those are the biologically insignificant, but very typical features I was talking about. By the way, its wings are mammalian, but the fingers and through and through lizardine - at least on the second pair. Let's say on the first pair they are something in between.
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:iconphenomi:
Phenomi Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Very cool! Your handle on detail and anatomy is always a treat to see. I love the small, adorable whiskers on the snout. I can see that those would perhaps become more developed when evolving into the eastern dragons.
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:iconmiguel2010:
Miguel2010 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Photographer
Love the great detail in this drawing.
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:icondeviant-danni:
Deviant-Danni Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
reminds me of my water dragon stitch :iconsparklylaplz:
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:iconbatiemily:
Batiemily Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Amazing!
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:icondystatic-studio:
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
What a special life-form! And It's rare to see an aquatic dragon doesn't possess fins on the neck/head.
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:icondraconius666:
Draconius666 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
good stuff!
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:iconroryscurls:
RorysCurls Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
haha, this must be a coicidence. Last night I was asking myself where would these magnificent beasts come from.
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:iconsagittarius-a-star:
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Nice work!! At last, we have found the ancestor of the various species of dragon. This guy kind of looks like the lizards that run around in my backyard, only with proto horns and wings...
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Indeed, reptiles were among the earliest lifeforms, having evolved from amphibians; so I figure the younger dragon species would be aesthetically similar to these animal families. Only later during their development would they begin to take on more mammalian characteristics.
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:iconarvalis:
arvalis Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012
This is way cooler than when I tried the same idea. I like the little proto horns especially.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconinsanitystudz:
insanitystudz Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That is a pretty wicked design. Like... very badass
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