Dragon Physics

$0 - B

Dragon wings: Better in the center of the back or attached to the shoulder?

  • Center of back of body

    Votes: 7 50.0%
  • Attached to shoulders

    Votes: 6 42.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 7.1%

  • Total voters


An Old Friend
DragonWings attach to shoulders or center back of body? Which is more realistic? Which 'looks' cooler?


Code Monkey
Staff member
"Cooler" would have to be center of the back.... it gives the look of the wings being much bigger than they really are. Actually flying, though, I'd have to go with over the shoulders for the strength factor.


An Old Friend
Reference from movie

Dungeons & Dragons movie had the wings centered and the dragons used their tails to offset the wingbeats. When the dragons wings are near the shoulders the rear body hangs like a humming bird. There is no body motion to counter the wing beats. I just watched D&D the other night.:)


Caster of...stuff..
Personally I think they look better at the shoulders and I also agree with KW802 on the strength factor at the shoulders as well..


just some guy
i think the physics would put them at the shoulders. double socketed shoulders allowing for full range of motion for arms and wins. as for dragons being too top heavy and having their rear ends drag, they would need extreme amount of musculature in the front end for the wings that are strong enough to keep their bodies aloft and for the arms strong enough to useful for rending and tearing. when you combine this with hollow bones (which most will be south of the shoulder) and leaner bodies than are commonly portrayed, i would say that their center of gravity and thrust capabilities would keep their bodies in a streamline position. of course when they take off or slow down their back ends will drop which is good for strong leg-thrust take offs and smooth landings on their feet.


An Old Friend
Just because it 'Looks' Cool doesn't mean its true, I like seeing animated dragons with the wings in the middle but It doesn't mean thats where they really are



This Image:

This is not the skeleton of any creature that coult take flight.
In fact, at first glance, this appears to be the structure of a quadrapedal land beast. The long span between the shoulder girdle and pelvis indicates not only a land animal, but a slow one at that, probably an omnivoire or scavenger. Look at how short the legs are compared to that length.
Now, aside from that, if it was a beast of flight, the most obvious problem is the blatant body mass indicated by this structure. How tiny are these wings compared to the overall length of this bone structure?

Now, to the main question. Obviously, if a dragon descended in evolution from any of the main classes and order of earth animals, the wings primary point of connection to the body would be at the shoulders. (I am not even going to get into the fact that the shown skelleton has a set of arms as well as wings where shoulder sockets are traditionally known to have one set of joints). But even if this beast evolved to take flight, the show skelleton would be wrong. Even with still having shoulder ajoined wings, the neck would have to be much longer to counter balance the tail, legs, and aft body section.

The image is a crude adaptation of a cat like skeleton.


The wings would HAVE to be attached at the shoulder. In fact I think it very likely that dragons would have integrated fore-arm/wings {Much like a bats}. Thier physical structure would have to be much more streamlined than traditional depictions show. Hollow bones are certainly a must. I'de think that the majority of the dragons length would be tail. Used for balance and likely as a sort of rudder in flight. As for the beasts hind legs, I'm shure they would be somewhat retractible, or formed to fit snugly against the body. However they would need to be able to extend thier hind claws for hunting purposes.
One might also surmise, that the dragons fire producing ability would be tied into flight. Perhapse a cartelige hony comb like internal structure which the creature could inflate with hot gasses to aide in lift. This would help explaine thier great size and still being able to fly. :D


just some guy
interesting point that i forget about. fire breathing not only as a means to destroy enemies, but also as a means to stay aloft. methane-generating organs and pockets placed in the lower regions of the dragons body can help with bouyancy in the air.


Physics can be a *****.

Basically, since dragons fly, and they are so large, they need to have some extreme adaptations.
Because physics can be such a problem, the larger you are (in mass) the greater your lift capacity needs to be in relation to your overall volume. For example, if you took a humming bird and put him in a machine that did nothing else but increase his size by ten times, but he is still composed of all of the exact same materials, he would not be able to fly, or atleast, definately not be able to hover and fly with the same agility that hummingbirds normally do. The energy that would be required to beat the larger, more massive wings to hover the larger more massive bird would be far too great for the hummingbird to maintain.
This is because of the nature of physics.

You could drop an ant from the door of an air plane (without a parachute) and he very well could live. That is because the his mass to constituent composition strength is much more advantageous for somethign that weights less than an ounce.
I'm sure you've heard that an ant can lift 10x his own weight. Well, if you grew that ant by 100x and he was the size of a small dog, he wouldn't be able to lift more than his own body weight. In fact, the exoskeletal system would be weak and inefficient, which is why you almost never see arachnids or insects much larger than 1lb in mass.

Any creature larger than 25lbs would need wings designed almost purely for lift based on wingshape. Such a creature would not rely on beating his wings for aerial flight except posibly for getting off the ground. Think of the largest known birds. Many of them rely on spread wing flight and often thermal updrafts to gain and maintain altitude.

And as your mass increase, so does your inefficiency of flight. If a beast weighted more than 1000 pounds, his wingspan would probably have to be over 40 meters in order go gain the lift needed. But the problem is, wings that large would have to weigh 1000lbs all by themselves, or they would simply not have the strength to stay extended, and they would fold under in flight! Just having hallow bones doesn't do it. ....and having cartilagineous exoskeleton to protect you from fire, that is completely out of the question.

So, like I said, physics can be a *****.
Any creature the size of a dragon, in order to fly, would have to have evolved some EXTREME adaptations.


All quite true, however we must take into acount the intangible. Those same laws of physics say that a bumble bee is incapable of flight! Yet having run in terror from a swarm of said insects I can tell you physics is dead wrong in that case!! :LOL:


Avid Gamer
I think it all depends on how the dragon is drawn in the first place. I mean in the old movie "DragonSlayer" and in "Reign of Fire" the dragon had wings much like a bat, and it looked cool. Then in D&D society there dragons have there's either behind the sholder or in the middle of the back and they look cool as well. Though like I said it depends on how they are drawn and look.