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reatures that roamed Earth millions of years ago have been depicted in ancient historical records and today with the help of technology we are slowly uncovering their remains, some of which come in pristine condition. One particular finding has been described by many people as the depiction of a dragon due to its armored-like skin and almost perfect preservation of the corpse.

Perfect Preservation

Borealopelta markmitchelli was discovered millions of years after it died in 2017. This armored dinosaur has been so well preserved that we can picture how it looked in life. Almost the whole animal—the skin, the armor that covered it, the spikes down its sides, the majority of its torso and feet, and even its face—survived fossilization. It is a one-in-a-billion find, according to Dr. Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

This dinosaur is a crucial key to understanding parts of Early Cretaceous ecology, and it illustrates how this species may have lived within its habitat.

Scientists have researched its anatomy, armor, and even what it ate in its final days since its bones were unearthed, gaining new and unexpected insight into an animal that became extinct roughly 100 million years ago.

The head of the ankylosaur still partly encased in the concretion it was discovered in
The head of the ankylosaur still partly encased in the concretion it was discovered in (Source:Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology)

It is not as unusual as one might imagine to see a land-based megaherbivore preserved in an ancient seabed. A number of other ankylosaurs, though not as well as Borealopelta, have been preserved in this fashion. Scientists believe the carcass was dragged from a river to the sea during a flooding episode, where it may have bobbed upside-down for a few days before sinking into the ocean depths.

“We can see it went in water deeper than 50 meters because it was preserved with a particular mineral called glauconite, which is a green phosphate mineral. And it only forms in cooler temperatures in water deeper than 50 meters,”

Dr. Donald Henderson

The connection between Dinosaurs and Dragons

This connection between dinosaurs and dragons is not strange at all. Many different cultures still believe in dragons such as China. For many years due to this cultural belief, most fossils that have been found in China or by Chinese paleontologists have been thought to be the fossils of dragons and not dinosaurs.

Chinese new year dragon
Chinese new year dragon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Interestingly enough, the Chinese dragons are said to be made up of nine different animals: the head of a camel; scales of a fish; horns of a deer; eyes of a rabbit; ears of a bull; neck of a snake; the belly of a frog; paws of a tiger; and claws of an eagle. Dragons appear in many areas of Chinese culture but today their purpose is mainly decorative. They cover shop fronts at Chinese New Year and are embroidered on silk clothing and wall hangings.

The dragon was most likely inspired by ancient civilizations’ finding of massive fossils. The bones of unknown creatures can rapidly take on a life of their own through speculation and tale. Furthermore, many mammalian creatures that existed in prehistoric times—or before to the arrival of humans—were substantially larger than they are now. Remains of such monsters may also arouse some imagination, causing both past and current people to question if these flying and fire-breathing beasts existed. It begs the question of whether dragons are a form of dinosaurs.

During Medieval times, the idea of dragons has been very much dramatized and the idea of dragons from the word of mouth was always becoming more exaggerated, such as spitting fire. From a physical appearance dragons and dinosaurs are quite similar, as well as abilities. The idea is that dragons are more fantasized and thus their existence is questionable at best.

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