Posted by Curt on 1 April, 2015 at 8:54 pm. 15 comments already!



Be warned. Don’t write this off as the usual exaggerated hype from Nature.

Zoology: Here be dragons

Emerging evidence indicates that dragons can no longer be dismissed as creatures of legend and fantasy, and that anthropogenic effects on the world’s climate may inadvertently be paving the way for the resurgence of these beasts.

Figure 2: The rise and fall and rise again of dragons. The relative frequency of ‘dragons’ in fictional literature (thick red line), as determined as a unigram probability4, with two historical reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (decadal smoothing) shown in blue5 and purple6. Global temperatures have been measured since 1855 (thick black line5). Temperature anomalies represent deviations from the 1961–90 reference period. The rising incidence of dragons in the literature correlates with rising temperatures, and suggests that these fire-breathing lizards are being sighted more frequently. As a result, the large-scale ‘Third Stir’ is deemed to be imminent.

Ominous signs are there:

Further work has revealed that the early medieval period was a veritable paradise for dragons. This can be attributed to the period’s unusually warm temperatures (Fig. 2) and an abundance of knights, the beasts’ favourite combatant and food. It was also a time when wealth and status were measured in terms of gold and silver — the preferred nesting material for Western dragons.

So dragons forage for knights, and nest in gold and silver. The Nature researchers don’t even mention the rising price of gold and silver nor the volume of trades. Now that’s a hockeystick.

Australia gets the blame again:

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