Miniature Flying Dragons

Artistic reconstruction of ancient flying lizard, Weigeltisaurus jaekeli (image from Wikimedia Commons)

28 October 2022

Back in the Late Permian, 258 to 252 million years ago, there was a family of gliding lizards called Weigeltisauridae whose fossils have been found in Germany, Britain, Russia and Madagascar. Europeans drew them as dragons.

Winged dragon on the ground, illustration in: Athanasius Kircher’s Mundus Subterraneus via Wikimedia Commons

Today there are still gliding lizards on Earth but they are smaller and live in Asian jungles. Dracos can glide 100+ feet from tree to tree by extending their long skin-covered ribs.

Draco taeniopterus flying and Draco volans skeleton (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Watch one fly to escape a dominant male in this BBC Planet Earth II clip.

Learn about Draco dussumieri of Southern India in this video from Roundglass.

Where do Dracos live? Click on the map caption to see a larger view.

(photos, maps, a video and illustrations from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals. videos also embedded from YouTube)

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