Monday, April 13, 2015

Here be Dragons: Identities Revealed

Two days ago I released a cartoon I drew and painted of nine dragons based on prehistoric animals, all of which are named after dragons.  I asked you, the viewers, to try and guess which prehistoric beasts were being shown Well, boy, did you all deliver!

the comments section and facebook page had responses from many readers all guessing the identities of the mythical monsters.  Amongst everyone who commented, eventually all of the creatures were correctly identified!  As promised, I will now over them all below!


The full genus and species for this dinosaur is Dracorex hogwartsia, which translates to "Dragon King of Hogwarts".  It was closely related to the dome-headed Pachycephalosaurus, and had a skull which was adorned with many horns, paired with its long snout, gave it the appearance of a mythical dragon that would be at home in the Harry Potter franchise, which is where the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry comes in.  This dragon is depicted front and center with a golden crown since it is named as the "king" of dragons.

Dracorex skull

Despite its fearsome appearance, the real Dracorex was a plant-eater and wasn't all that large in the grand scheme of things.  Some scientists believe it is in actuality a juvenile Pachycephalosurus. (Which would be a shame since it has one of the coolest dinosaur names ever)


Dawndraco translates to "Dawn Dragon" and is seen here shooting a beam of radiant light from its maw instead of fire to reflect this.(Either that or it looks like projectile yellow barf.)  In real life, Dawndraco was a pterosaur that flew over a shallow body of salt water, called the Western Interior Seaway, which covered what is now the Midwestern United States during the Late Cretaceous.

Dawndraco cast fossil that was temporarily on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

Characterized by an extremely long bill, this toothless pterosaur was probably adept at catching marine prey by plucking it out of the water as it flew.  It may have even dove for prey.


Judging by the comments from readers, this was the most difficult one to identify.  Qijianglong translates to "Qijiang Dragon".

Qijianglong skeletal mount in China.

Although many Chinese dinosaurs were named after dragons, this one in particular was named so because of it's extremely long neck, which reminded paleontologists of traditional dragons from Chinese culture, which have long, serpentine bodies.  In my cartoon I drew it as such which may have been the source of confusion when it came to identifying it as a sauropod dinosaur.   I did give it teeth in the front of the mouth only, a characteristic of all sauropods!


 Ikrandraco was a pterosaur who's name translates to "Ikran Dragon".  An ikran is a kind of flying creature from the hit 3D movie, Avatar, which came out in theaters in 2010.

Ikrandraco skull

Ikrandraco had a unique crest on its lower jaw, which coincidentally made it resemble the creatures from the movie, which was made before the pterosaur's discovery.


Balaur was a feathered dinosaur, characterized by having two enlarged claws on each of its feet.  It had two fingers on each hand and sadly no material from its head was ever unearthed. (that we know of for now!)

Balaur fossilized remains

 In Romanian folklore, however a balaur is a kind of dragon, commonly depicted with many heads.


Hippodraco was a plant-eating dinosaur, closely related to Iguanodon, that lived in what is now Utah during the early Cretaceous period.

Known fossil material from Hippodraco

The name, Hippodraco, translates to "Horse Dragon" and is depicted here with hooves in my drawing to reflect that.


Guanlong was a small, meat-eating dinosaur, related to Tyrannosaurus, that lived in what is now China during the late Jurassic Period.

Guanlong skull

Guanlong translates to "Crested Dragon" in reference to the dinosaur's tall, but thin crest running from the tip of its snout to its eyes.


Yinlong was a very early member of the family of dinosaurs that would give rise to Triceratops and its kind, the ceratopsians, that lived in what is now China during the late Jurassic Period. 

Yinlong skull

Yinlong translates to "Hidden Dragon" in reference to the movie, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which was filmed not far from where its bones were discovered by scientists.  Yinlong and Guanlong coexisted in real life and were likely natural enemies as their dragons reflect in the drawing.


Mei was a small, feathered dinosaur, related to Troodon, that lived in what is now China during the early Cretaceous Period.

Mei fossilized skeleton in sleeping pose

The full genus and species for this dinosaur is Mei long, which translates to "Sleeping Dragon".  It was named this because its beautifully preserved remains were found furled up with the head tucked under one of its arms, indicating it was sleeping when it died.  The dragon representing this dinosaur is sleeping in the same position.

Thank you all who participated in our comments section and on the facebook page!  I hope everyone enjoyed the artwork and the post to go with it.  Judging by how this went I will most likely do a similar post in the future.  Farewell until next time!

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