Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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The Difference Between An Earless Dragon and a Wyvern

Query: I recently learned about a possible sighting of a grassland earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) in Victoria, Australia, where I live. I’ve never seen one myself, but scientists seem convinced that such a dragon exists as an endangered species. What makes scientists decide that a grassland earless dragon is “real” but another dragon, like a wyvern, is Imaginary?

Answer: Good question! Generally, there are two parts to deciding whether an animal is considered "real" or Imaginary.

The first distinction is that if the sighting must be made by a respected scientific authority, the animal is considered “real.” It’s not enough that someone has seen a dragon in their back yard every day for the past thirty years. To be considered “real,” a scientist has to see it too.

The second is that animals with characteristics that are not easily explained by science are usually dismissed as Imaginaries. Science can accept that the grassland earless dragon has no external ears, since other creatures, such as certain species of frogs and seals, share the same feature. However, a trait like breathing fire, for which there are no other examples in the animal world other than dragons, falls outside the realm of what science can explain, and so fire-breathing dragons are considered as mythical.

As a result, the grassland earless dragon has earned itself a taxonomic place in science’s description of the natural world, whereas the fire-breathing wyvern has not.

It’s always a positive thing when an Imaginary is recognized scientifically, as it gives that animal greater protection as an endangered species. Someday, perhaps, the scientific community will recognize the wyvern as an equal of the grassland earless dragon, and worthy of endangered species status. Until that day comes, that’s why Iranigami is here.


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.