Feathered dinosaur tail discovered in lump of amber from a market in Myanmar

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'It's as close as anyone will get to petting a dinosaur'

Updated December 09, 2016 08:16:43 Exquisitely preserved bones and feathers from the tip of a dinosaur tail have been discovered in a piece of 99-million-year-old amber, found by a palaeontologist hunting for fossils in a Myanmar market.

Forest Dragons of Warhammer

Friday, December 2, 2016

Forest Dragons are an ancient breed of Dragon that seems to only dwell within the ancient woodlands of the Old World. At first thought, it seems incredible that a creature as vast as a Dragon could make its home in the dense forests of Athel Loren. Yet, in the deepest recesses of the Chasm Glades, there lurks a distinct race of great sky wyrms who long ago adapted to life within the greenwood. Protected by the forest canopy and shielded from the attentions of young heroes seeking to make names for themselves by the sheer rock faces of the chasms, these Forest Dragons thrived and multiplied.

Such providence has proven itself a stark contrast to other places in the Old World, where Dragons and their kin have long since been either slain or driven into the mountains. Nothing dwells for long in Athel Loren without being changed, and the Forest Dragons are no exception. Like certain groups of Wood Elves, the Dragons have slowly become an extension of the forest’s will to survive and prosper. Though still voracious predators, the Dragons hunt only when the forest has need of them, resting in a state of hibernation for the remainder of the time. Should there be an intrusion by creatures too mighty for Athel Loren’s spirits, the forest will occasionally goad one or more Forest Dragons to wakefulness in order to counter the threat. More often, the Elves will themselves petition the aid of a Dragon to serve as a steed for a Glade Lord — a request to which the beast cedes with reasonable grace, provided it wasn’t disturbed from a particularly fascinating dream. Over time, a Glade Lord might form a strong bond with a particular Forest Dragon, the two becoming friends, more than mere allies at need.

Regardless of the reason for its waking, a Forest Dragon is a ferocious foe and one not easily matched. Few can stand firm against its wrath unless they can master the primal fear its countenance provokes. This fear only grows when the beast descends, arrows and bullets scattering off its scaly hide, to eviscerate and devour all who oppose it. Even those enemies fortunate enough to find themselves beyond the crippling sweep of the Forest Dragon’s talons inevitably succumb to its soporific breath. Those who breathe this cloying emerald vapour collapse into a stupefied daze, their will to fight or flee utterly spent.

Despite their monstrous appearance, Forest Dragons are actually highly intelligent, and maintain a keen interest in events that occur far beyond the boundaries of Athel Loren. They are particularly voracious for tidings that relate to their long months of slumber. In part, this hunger is fed by the Elves who petition them for aid, but the Dragons do not necessarily consider the Elves to be wholly unbiased observers and often seek out others to provide counterpoint. Indeed, it is not unknown for a Dragon to spare a suitably intriguing opponent, providing that it has the potential to expand the Dragon’s knowledge. If the captive’s news is sufficiently valuable or intriguing, the Dragon feels duty-bound to spare his life in exchange for the information; if not, the captive is invariably devoured on the spot for unknowingly having squandered the Dragon’s precious time.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Once noble rulers of the skies, now corrupt with change, the two-headed Dragons of Chaos are malevolent predators. Each is a nemesis of order and sanity that can break armies. Their twin maws breathe death upon their foes; one exhaling dark flame, as the other emits corrosive gas. Only the most powerful can ride such a monster, and even then, it is more an unholy alliance than a matter of master and servant.

The third challenge Archaon faced was retrieving the Eye of Sheerian from the lair of the three-headed Chaos Dragon Flamefang. Archaon awoke Flamefang by smashing his axe into the slumbering Dragon’s forehead. For many hours, the two battled amongst the bones of legendary creatures at the base of the Cliff of Beasts. The Dragon breathed searing flames over Archaon and even swallowed him whole, but the Armour of Morkar proved inviolable, and the Chaos Lord fought his way out of the Dragon’s gullet with the ferocity of a maddened Warhound. With its insides shredded, the great drake eventually collapsed and died. Archaon plucked the Eye of Sheerian from the gems encrusting the Dragon’s belly, and hung the artefact around his neck as a trophy.

List of dragons in mythology and folklore - Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

List of dragons in mythology and folklore - Wikipedia

A serpentine dragon common to all cultures influenced by Hinduism. They are often hooded like a cobra and may have several heads depending on their rank. They usually have no arms or legs but those with limbs resemble the Chinese dragon.

Dragon - Wikipedia

Dragon - Wikipedia

Narratives about dragons often involve their being killed by a hero. This topos can be traced to the Chaoskampf of the mythology of the Ancient Near East (e.g. Hadad vs. Yam, Marduk vs. Tiamat, Teshub vs. Illuyanka, etc.; the Biblical Leviathan presumably reflects a corresponding opponent of an early version of Yahweh).

Beowulf and the Fire Drake

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Beowulf dragon is the first example in European mythology of a fire-breathing dragon. Previously, most dragons had poisonous breath. This might be an early indication of Christianity creeping into the tale, using fire to connect the dragon to Satan, or, just as likely, it highlights the danger of fire at a time when nearly everything was constructed of wood.

The aged king, Beowulf, stood on a hilltop and watched as distant flames consumed both his own hall and the village of his people. For hours he had watched in helpless heartache as a fire-drake, a winged-wyrm, had rained fire and destruction down on his people. The world of the Geats was being reduced to cinder and ash.

His warriors had caught the man who had started it all: a foolish thief who had stolen a golden cup from the dragon’s hoard, enraging the vengeful beast. The thief would now be their guide back to the dragon’s lair, where Beowulf would face his last and greatest battle. He glanced at his companions, all young men and untested in battle; they would be of little help. Beowulf had his smiths bring him a giant shield of iron that could turn aside the dragon’s breath. He strapped the heavy shield upon his time-wearied arm, and nodded for the thief to lead the way.

The thirteen men walked long through the night, the distant fires shining like small candles. In time, they approached the rocky hills. The thief pointed towards a dark archway, the mouth of the dragon’s cave. A small stream of fire trickled out of its open maw, confirming that the master of the hoard was home.

Beowulf ordered his companions to stay where they were; he would face the dragon alone. Drawing a time-tested sword, and walking with his shield held before him, he followed the burning stream up to the mound. Near the entrance, he stood his ground, and let out a mighty battle-roar. The challenging cry echoed from the cliffs and around the stones before the cave mouth. Then a lance of fire jetted out of the cave, and Beowulf caught it on his shield. In a cloud of choking smoke, the dragon emerged, a sinewy, black-scaled monster, covered in the filth of years. It belched forth another blast of flame, which spilled around the iron shield, singeing Beowulf’s helmet and armour.

Then the two combatants, man and monster, rushed together. In a fury of sword, fang and claw, they struck at one another, clashing against shield and scales, but neither could gain the upper hand. They drew apart, the dragon drooling fire, the old king panting in the smoke-thick air.

All around, Beowulf’s men shrank back from this fight, and fled into the woods. All but one; a young warrior called Wiglaf felt a stirring in his heart. Drawing his own blade, he rushed into the fray. Though never before had he weathered the battle-storm, he bellowed his own war cry as he charged into battle.

Undaunted by the appearance of a second foe, the dragon spat forth its flaming breath. The flames consumed Wiglaf’s shield, burning it from his arm. He cast the smouldering ruins aside and took shelter behind the great iron shield of Beowulf. Then those two bold warriors moved forward together, striking at the dragon with their gleaming swords. The dragon sprang forward again, its claws screeching against the iron shield. Beowulf batted aside those fearful claws and brought his blade around to slash against the dragon’s head. But, in that moment, the venerable sword shattered against the dragon’s rock-hard scales.

For a stunned moment, Beowulf gazed at the broken blade in sad amazement. That instant of inattention proved fatal, for the dragon coiled its long neck around the shield and clamped its jaws around Beowulf’s throat. Its fangs pierced the flesh of his neck and lifted him off the ground.

As the dragon reared up with the aged king trapped in its jaws, it exposed its vulnerable underbelly. With a cry of hatred, Wiglaf lunged forward, driving his sword deep into the dragon’s belly. At the same moment, Beowulf drew a dagger from his belt, and, still suspended in the dragon’s mouth, he plunged the knife into the creature’s eye. Twice mortally wounded, the dragon dropped Beowulf to the ground and tumbled backwards in agony. Its fiery breath sprayed in all directions, then went out. It collapsed in a loathsome heap, smoking from its own dying fire.

With the dragon dead, Beowulf struggled to his feet, but his neck was already swelling from the bite of those poisoned fangs. He staggered to a seat by the entrance of the cave, his body clenching in agony. He spoke to Wiglaf through bloodied teeth and asked him to bring the treasures of the dragon before him. Wiglaf went into the dragon’s lair, and found more treasure than an army could carry. He selected some of the best golden cups and gleaming jewels. These he brought back out and placed before his dying lord.

Beowulf smiled and removed his helmet. He gave the royal boar helm to young Wiglaf, his last act as a gift-giver. He commanded that the treasure be buried with him, to remove it from the temptation of thieves. Then with a final breath, Beowulf’s eyes clouded over, and he passed from the world, the last of the great Geatish kings.

Cretacea: The game of gargantuan survival


 Cretacea is the skirmish wargame of gargantuan survival, inspired primarily by a passion for dinosaur documentaries and dinosaurs themselves.

The cretaceous period of earth’s history was a fruitful and inspiring era full of magical creatures. It has long been my intention to bring these beasts to the table top in a survival based game.

Why survival?...because Cretacea is not just about fight and destroy objectives, it employs the use of roaring and grazing, barging and stomping among a plethora of other genre specific actions that make the game unique.

Cretacea is mainly inspired by nature documentaries and the way in which they depict the characters of the ancient world, fighting to eat, grow and survive!

A game plays in 30-45 mins (genuinely!) therefore, a small "campaign" or "dinosaur life" can be played out in a few hours.

Each game utilizes checks to emulate the real life characteristics of predators and prey respectively. Of course there are only really two teams to choose from, but the animals in those teams are so varied and wonderful that it is all you need.

The game also allows a level of investment in your dinosaur by being able to modify your dinosaur’s stats to suit age should you wish!

Fight to survive and risk it all, or graze peacefully and run when the predators get close. Its your game so it's entirely up to you how you play your dinosaurs!

Utilize a selection of realistic yet crazy mechanics such as stomping tiny creatures with your gargantuan scale dinosaurs or tail whipping enemies as they close in.

By making the most of unique specials for your dinosaur models you can also control the sway of the battle while keeping a steady flow of play due to the minimal models included.

Each game uses about 2-3 dinos a side.

 Although the game is designed to be used with 1/100 scale metal dinosaurs from magister militum the book includes 4 pages of hand drawn dinosaur tokens that have been professionally digitally colored.

Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Fossils indicate dinosaurs evolved rapidly after first relatives appeared

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dinosaurs took evolutionary fast track to planetary dominance

Updated December 08, 2015 07:24:07 The first dinosaur relatives may have emerged up to 10 million years later than previously thought, then evolved rapidly into the animals that would take over the world, a new study suggests.

Top 10 Bizarre Prehistoric Animals

Top 10 Bizarre Prehistoric Animals - Toptenz.net

We've all heard and read about the dinosaurs. We know the extinction theories, and you may even have your own. However, there were thousands of other creatures living amongst the dinosaurs that you may not know about. Some look like animals you would find in the zoo or aquarium today, while others are extremely bizarre and down right scary looking.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Water Drake

Fire Drake

Air Drake

 Earth Drake

Though tales of them might scare children, few people believe these giant monsters exist. Those who find out the truth rarely survive the experience-the soft flesh of humanoids is drakes' favorite food.

Athasian drakes are enormous, fearsome predators having only animal intelligence and strong instincts. Each variety of drake is attuned to a specific element and has psionic control over that element, making its home in areas dominated by its associated element. Athasian drakes collect objects in their lairs or expand their territory, depending on the individual drake's nature. Although some hoards are valuable, drakes also amass trinkets or souvenirs that have no worth to anyone else. Air drakes maintain multiple lairs atop rocky spires or mesas and divide their few precious belongings among these lairs. 

Drakes use terrain to their advantage, and the setting for a battle with a drake can be as important as the monster. Precarious cliffs are a great setup for air drakes, volcanic fissures favor fire drakes, and unstable underground burrows make tricky settings for encounters with earth drakes.  Water drakes might appear anywhere precious reserves of water exist. Any location might also have been booby-trapped or fortified before the drake claimed it.


According to the dragons, the first two gods were waters, one fresh and representing law, the other salt and representing chaos. Their mingling was mostly harmonious, and from their union came other gods. These new gods created Heaven, Hell, and the mortal realm in between. Then the firstborn of the waters, which called himself Dahak, took a mighty and terrible form and rampaged through Hell, making it a nightmare of devastation and suffering. This embittered the other gods toward him, but he cared little, and he ruled alone in his shadowy realm. When the salt water created six new metallic gods, Dahak named them, recast them into forms similar to his own, and hurled them to the Material Plane, where they shattered and became the first mortal dragons. These he hunted for sport.

The fresh water, Apsu, took the form of a radiant dragon and went to the material world to rally his mortal offspring. There were many great battles, with tremendous casualties on both sides, but eventually the dragons laid Dahak low. Dahak cried to his mother, the salt water, to save him, and she offered to heal the injured mortal dragons if they spared his life. Those who agreed exchanged goodness, love, and mercy for vengeance, wrath, and cruelty, replacing their shining metallic forms with dull chromatic hues. Then the dragons battled each other, and in the confusion, Dahak slipped away, and his chromatic followers fled after him. Apsu and the good dragons rested and healed, then searched for a world far from Dahak where they could know peace. Vengeful Dahak and his followers pursued them, and it seems Apsu and the metallic dragons have chosen Golarion as the place to make their stand.

Apsu is the god of dragons, glory, leadership, and peace. Lean and ancient, he is one of the two oldest beings in the universe, though he is still strong. All dragons respect him as their progenitor, though the evil ones do so grudgingly, and few good dragons worship him with the same vigor that lesser races do their gods.

Dahak is the god of destruction, dragons, evil, and treachery. Almost universally hated by both good and evil dragons, his offers of power and endless life still tempt a few evil dragons to his service. Covered in bony ridges, spikes, and horns, he bears many scars from his battles with Apsu, which still pain and enrage him.

Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A modern interpretation of Dobrynya and Zmey Gorynych by AlexanderYatskevich.

When Dobrynya was still a young man, his mother gave him four pieces of advice. ‘Don’t ride to the Saracen Mountains. Don’t trample baby dragons there. Don’t rescue Russian captives, and don’t bathe in the Puchai River.’ Of course, being a valiant young man and a seeker of adventure, that’s exactly what he did. Slipping away from home one day, Dobrynya walked up into the craggy peaks of the Saracen Mountains. During his trek, he went out of his way to stamp on any baby dragons that he passed, ensuring that they would never grow up into monsters. He also moved a boulder away from the mouth of a cave, releasing some travellers who had been captured there by a dragon. Finally, Dobrynya made it high into the mountains, near the source of the Puchai River. Tired from his excursions, he decided to take a bath.

While Dobrynya was bathing naked in the river, he felt a rush of wind and looked up to see a mighty three-headed dragon swooping down upon him. In a panic, he swam to the shore and cast about for a weapon. There was nothing there but an old hat of the type worn by Greek pilgrims. He snatched this up as the dragon landed in front of him. As the dragon’s middle head reared back, preparing to belch fire, Dobrynya ducked around its heads, leapt upon its back, and used the old hat to clamp its mouth shut. Man and dragon wrestled hard, until they rolled over Dobrynya’s clothes that were laid out by the riverside. In that instant, Dobrynya grabbed hold of his knife and put it to the dragon’s throat.

‘Hold Dobrynya, Nikita’s son,’ said the dragon. ‘Let us make a pact! You will not come into the Saracen Mountains, nor trample baby dragons, nor rescue Russian captives, nor swim in the Puchai River. In return, I will not fly to Holy Russia. I will not take any Russian captives. I will not carry away any Christian people.’

Dobrynya lowered his knife and rolled away from the dragon. ‘I will hold you to this, Zmey Gorynych. Now go and keep your promises.’ With that, the dragon beat its mighty wings and leapt into the sky, flying out of sight.

Several years passed. The story of Dobrynya’s fight with the dragon had spread around the country. The young man had become a regular at the court of Prince Vladimir, who ruled from his capital at Kiev. Although still not officially honoured as a bogatyr, the prince often called upon Dobrynya to serve as his messenger, especially when courtesy or cunning was required.

Then one day, while Vladimir’s niece, Zabava, was out walking in the garden, the three-headed dragon, Zmey Gorynych, swooped down from the sky and grabbed the princess in his claws. Before anyone could react, the dragon was gone, flying home to its lair in the mountains. The court was in uproar. Many brave bogatyrs rushed for their arms and clamoured for the honour of rescuing the princess, but Prince Vladimir went first to Dobrynya.

‘The stories tell that you have bested this dragon before, Dobrynya Nikitich. Go now to the mountains and bring my niece and the dragon’s head. If you succeed, you’ll be made a bogatyr and greatly rewarded. If you return in cowardice without her, it will be your head that is mounted over the city gate.’

So Dobrynya left the court, weighed down with responsibility. He went first to see his mother and told her of his plight. His mother, that wise woman, said he must have a horse. So she gave him the horse, Burko, who had carried both his father and his grandfather on many adventures. She gave him also a whip of seven silks, and told him to use the whip to drive Burko forward. Finally, she gave him a Tartar spear with which to fight. Thus equipped, Dobrynya set off to face the dragon.

He rode up into the Saracen Mountains, and as he rode, the baby dragons attacked Burko’s legs. The poor horse trampled them into the dirt, but more and more emerged from the rocks to snap at his fetlocks. When it appeared that Burko might be pulled down by the nasty little creatures, Dobrynya took out his whip and snapped it on the horse’s flank. Burko sprang forward, shedding the baby dragons and charging up the slopes.

Near the mountaintop, by the banks of the Puchai River, Dobrynya found the dragon once more.

‘Hail Dobrynya, Nikita’s son,’ spoke the dragon. ‘You have failed to keep your promise. You’ve rode in to the Saracen Mountains, and you’ve trampled baby dragons. No doubt you’ve come to rescue Russian captives here.’

Dobrynya responded, ‘Hail Zmey Gorynych. Was it I or you who broke the faith? Did you not swoop down and take the princess, a virtuous Christian woman, and carry her away as your captive? For this treason you must die.’

Without further words, the battle was joined. For three long days the brave warrior and the mighty beast battled. The dragon blew fire and bit with its three snake-like heads. Dobrynya dodged and parried, looking for openings to drive in his sharp spear. On and on the battle raged, around the River Puchai, through the rocks of the mountains, and even into the caves underneath it. Both man and monster received and dealt many wounds, until both were covered in bloody cuts. Dobrynya began to despair of ever defeating the dragon, until a voice, carried by an angel from heaven, spoke into his ear. ‘You have fought for three days, Dobrynya, fight for three more hours and you will have victory.’

So the fight continued for another three hours, until Dobrynya found himself unhorsed and battling the dragon in a small crater on the mountainside. There, the dragon finally made a mistake. Rearing up in its anger, the dragon exposed its soft underbelly. Dobrynya took his chance and drove his Tartar spear deep into the unprotected flesh. The dragon cried out in pain, as Dobrynya ripped the spear free in a spray of blood. The dragon staggered and then collapsed, its weight falling upon Dobrynya and pinning him to the ground.

Dazed, Dobrynya looked about and saw that everything below his waist was pinned under the dragon. All around, the dragon’s blood flowed from the monster’s many wounds, filling the shallow crater. Over three more days, the blood came up to Dobrynya’s ears. Bereft of strength after his long battle, he knew that he would soon drown in his enemy’s blood. He laid back and prepared for his own death.

Then the angel’s voice came to him again and said, ‘Do not give up Dobrynya. You have won a great battle. Drive your spear into the earth and go free.’

In that moment, energy once again filled Dobrynya’s limbs. With a prayer, he drove his spear down into the earth, allowing it to soak up the dragon’s blood. With the spear firmly planted, he used it to pull himself free of the dragon’s corpse. Covered in blood, he staggered up from the crater and saw the princess, Zabava, standing by the mouth of the dragon’s cave, surrounded by numerous other captives that he had rescued.

Courteous knight that he was, Dobrynya checked upon the captives to make sure that they were well. Then he did one more thing. Removing his blood-soaked armour and clothes, Dobrynya bathed in the waters of the River Puchai one more time.

Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych is one of the most popular Russian byliny, the traditional folk songs of medieval Slavic culture. Thanks to a major cultural conservation effort in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Russia has preserved a huge body of byliny, including over seventy versions of the Dobrynya and the dragon story. This story is only one of the many tales to include Dobrynya, who is considered one of the ‘big three’ bogatyrs (knights-errant) of Russian folklore, the other two being Ilya Muromets and Alyosha Popovich.

While the stories of the bogatyrs mostly exist in the land of fairytale, there are some who argue that both Dobrynya and his confrontation with the dragon have a historical basis. Dobrynya was the name of the uncle of Vladimir I, who ruled as Grand Prince of Kiev from 980–1015. It was during this reign that much of the population is thought to have been Christianized, and this may have included a mass baptism in the Pochaina River. Thus, some argue that the story is a metaphor for the rise of Christianity against the pagan dragon, which also explains why the story contains a Greek pilgrim’s hat and the voice of heaven. However, it is just as possible that these Christian elements were later additions to an older, pagan tale.

While Dobrynya remains relatively unknown in the west, he is still a popular hero in Russia, where he continues to serve as the subject of numerous artworks. In 2006 an animated movie, Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych, was released in Russian cinemas.