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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
the biology of dragons
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Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:11am

Post #1 of 34 (868 views)
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the biology of dragons Can't Post

 
i am one who definitely, because of reading and school, looks at imagined forms of life with an eye towards biology. i don't necessarily let it interfere with my suspension of disbelief, but i do think about such things.

like... i was just thinking about smaug's mass. and the fact that he has the capability to be airborne. which made me wonder if his bones were hollow. also thinking about the ratio of wing size to body size.

in the short bit we've seen of smaug, his feet struck me as a bit komodo dragon-ish, 'tho he didn't appear to walk like one. will his legs be splayed out, lizard-like, or more tucked underneath him.

perhaps we can get dom m. to do a wild things episode on him.

anyone else besides me wonder about dragon biology in such a fashion?


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:14am

Post #2 of 34 (564 views)
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something else that has always struck me... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
the game of thrones dragons are really wyverns.

i needed to say that out loud.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


tarasaurus
Rohan


Apr 7 2013, 12:15am

Post #3 of 34 (515 views)
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Didn't think of it, but [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's a fascinating topic! I know when TORn Tuesday and Cliff were going over the sneak peek of DOS, he mentioned how previous dragons in other films have off ratios, such as dragons with t-rex like arms, or wings too small for their bodies.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:20am

Post #4 of 34 (497 views)
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depending on the way [In reply to] Can't Post

 
depending on the way someone has envisioned a dragon, t-rex-sized arms might make sense.

supposedly, over time, the progenitors of t-rex lost bulk and size in their arms as their skulls got more massive, to balance the animal (think of the fore part and the tail part like a see-saw).

btw -- i've noticed your name before -- +love+ it. i am a paleontology buff (thought i might be a paleontologist when i grew up). my bookshelves are filled with books on comparative vertebrate anatomy and ancient ecosystems and stuff like that. my first company was fashioned from [my first name] + "saurus," much like your own.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


KieranDhesi
Bree


Apr 7 2013, 12:26am

Post #5 of 34 (504 views)
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Wargs from TTT [In reply to] Can't Post

From what I can remember, in the design sections of the TTT EE, when they explain how they designed the Wargs didn't they build them up from the skeleton and muscles then texture them?

The same for Gollum as well, winning that award for the first film. I think when we see Smaug we will see something that if it actually existed then it would actually be that would be biologically sound and would be able to survive, so correct wing size to lift that mass of a dragon, etc.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Apr 7 2013, 12:30am

Post #6 of 34 (520 views)
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Hmmm? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
the game of thrones dragons are really wyverns


You would think they would have done a little research Laugh

As to your lead post, I though Smaug's foot looked rather meaty in the prologue. I wonder if he slimmed down in all the years he lay holed up in Erobor, sleeping.

I'm really hoping his front legs are part of his wings. As well I'm hoping he is long and wyrm-y, something like this: Wyrm by sandara.

In the scene where we see Smaug's tail slide through the doors of Erobor, his tail appeared (to me) to be similar to the one in Howe's drawing here: Smaug Destroys Laketown.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:38am

Post #7 of 34 (500 views)
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re game of thrones dragons/wyverns [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
the game of thrones dragons are really wyverns



i read/heard recently (was it in the show commentary by the producers? can't remember) that martin's original envisioning of them was that their forearms were part of their wings. so, even if martin doesn't know what wyverns are, he definitely wants them formed this way.


cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brego93
The Shire


Apr 7 2013, 12:39am

Post #8 of 34 (469 views)
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I love thinking about this stuff! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm currently studying zoology and thinking about the anatomy of fantastical creatures always fascinates me. I love the way that it is taken into account on these films to try make the fantastical creatures as real as possible; there was lots of things on the lord of the rings EE docs to show this. I loved the way at the of AUJ, when we glimpse Smaug as he opens his eye, you can see his "third eyelid" like what most reptiles have! I can't wait to see if they make him walk like a reptile too, making the S spine shape movement, because most reptiles don't have the advantage of flight Tongue (Nerdy I know)

"I don't know half of you as half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you as well as you deserve"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:42am

Post #9 of 34 (484 views)
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smaug renditions [In reply to] Can't Post

 
interesting... howe's smaug reminds me of anne mccaffery's pern dragons... 'tho the pern dragons are less gracile...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/...rey_Dragonflight.jpg

the other rendition (the deviantart one) is quite neat. very light in form, and i can easily imaging that one flying.

cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


tarasaurus
Rohan


Apr 7 2013, 12:42am

Post #10 of 34 (465 views)
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That is SO [In reply to] Can't Post

awesome! And Thank you! I always forget what my nick is, haha! You should be a paleontologist, if I had more knowledge on it I would have totally considered that as a career. Closest career to that I almost went with was veterinarian. Smile Anyway, I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread for more input, it shall be interesting.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:55am

Post #11 of 34 (452 views)
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yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
yes, smaug has a nictitating membrane! loved that!

the other thing that makes me wonder is that i've read/heard that they're going to do motion capture with cumberbatch. which is cool, but what kind of leg will smaug have? one like ours ("knee" bending forward), or one that looks like a horse's ("knee" bending backward)?

if like a horse's... a horse's hock is actually its ankle. horses' hooves are actually like the tips of fingers...

http://www.localriding.com/...ck-conformation.html

if cumberbatch is playing smaug with horse-like leg structure (minus the hooves, of course; i'm only thinking about whether the leg looks like it bends forwards or backwards), using stop-motion, would they cgi-shorten/.lengthen the limbs to get the proportions they want? would that impact the authenticity of movement?

if they're keeping with a forward-bending "knee," then it won't matter as much, perhaps. the proportions, i would think, would have to be different than a primate's leg.



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 7 2013, 12:59am)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 12:56am

Post #12 of 34 (440 views)
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hah! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
hah! i seriously considered veterinarian as well. : )

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 1:23am

Post #13 of 34 (441 views)
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i must confess [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
From what I can remember, in the design sections of the TTT EE, when they explain how they designed the Wargs didn't they build them up from the skeleton and muscles then texture them?

The same for Gollum as well, winning that award for the first film. I think when we see Smaug we will see something that if it actually existed then it would actually be that would be biologically sound and would be able to survive, so correct wing size to lift that mass of a dragon, etc.




i must confess, despite having watched the EEs so many times i could hardly put a count on it, i have never watched any of the special features material.

i am one who -- at least at this point -- does not want to know how the sausage is made. i avert my eyes from green screens (i actually covered my eyes during the special event / live event in march).

i did listen to a +little+ of the commentary, for i wouldn't mind hearing about how actors might think about their characters and character motivations, but i had to stop. there were so many moments when i was doing "lalalalala i can't hear" so that the real world would not intrude upon how real middle earth is to me.

i did the same thing with battlestar galactica, 'tho i did wind up listening to the commentaries for all the episodes. ron moore's were the best, as he talked mainly about character development and story. whenever someone veered into "this is how we did it" territory, i clapped my hands over my ears.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brego93
The Shire


Apr 7 2013, 1:46am

Post #14 of 34 (427 views)
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heyhey! You know what i'm talking about! [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh I thought nictitating membrane would be too science!

Hmmmm, never thought of that. I had always assumed that they were just goin to do his facial expressions but that does raise an interesting point. It depends on where they postion Smaug's legs. To support their weight and to due to the horizontal plane of movement of their spin, the S shape, they legs come out of their body opposed to being underneath their body leg a horse. (I would show a pic of a komodo dragon but I don't know how ha!)

They could go for the "horse style" leg but theoretically speaking wouldn't support his sprawling mass as well because it would make him less stable when walking as it would narrow the field that his centre of gravity can lie within without him toppling over.....which comes back too depending on how he will walk Wink. It could work if he walked like a horse instead of a reptile; vertebrate moving vertically. However they could surprise us all and go for the "worm" style with only very little legs as flying Is the main mode of locomotion! Its going to be greta when we get to see him!Laugh

Whatever they go for I'm sure the wonders of technology would sort it out to look grand on screen but I think you have a point in the fact this would be difficult to make it look like authentic movemnt. This is why I thought it would just be facial motion capture.

Thanks for the ideas and opinions Smile

"I don't know half of you as half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you as well as you deserve"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 2:08am

Post #15 of 34 (413 views)
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stance [In reply to] Can't Post

 
our only look at him was so brief and never a full view... but.... his stance struck me as a bit splayed. if he was very splayed, he'd need to move like a croc or komodo dragon... s-bending from side to side.

but they could also style him like a sauropod.... apatasaurus, brachiosaurus.... those guys had serious bulk, but their legs were built like pillars beneath them.

i will +definitely+ have to rewatch, but when we saw smaug's tail disappear into erebor, it didn't strike me at all as s-bend from side to side, and he was moving pretty quickly.

of course, if we're looking back along evolution's path, there were some transitional forms as the splay-stance reptilians developed into the more upright-stance dinos. perhaps smaug's stance will be like the transitional form.

oh, and feel very free to use as much scientific terminology as you like. : ) i'd be like a smilodon with a big pile o' catnip.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 7 2013, 2:08am)


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Apr 7 2013, 2:21am

Post #16 of 34 (407 views)
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Great topic! [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, just last night I was discussing vertebrate anatomy with respect to dragons with my two boys.

Eldarion was wondering about Smaug's wings. I got him to figure out how many appendages Smaug had, and he finally realized: "Six!" (i.e., two wings, four legs). We then discussed how no known vertebrate has six appendages. Many have four (four legs, or two legs and two wings), two (a few aquatic salamanders that have lost their rear limbs; and cetaceans, which have two flippers and but vestigial bones where their rear limbs used to be); or none (fish; snakes; a few lizards and salamanders). Thus Smaug has come via some other evolutionary pathway.

Eldarion helpfully pointed out that it is common knowledge that dragons don't *have* to have six appendages. Some have five, four, or even just one, he told me. Still not quite clear on where he learned that. But he did agree that five or one is a rather difficult number to have.

The placement of the legs is an interesting question, actually. Lizards have legs that stick out horizontally from the body ("lizard-hipped"). Mammals have legs that go straight underneath the body. This difference in leg placement was a key evolutionary adaptation that mammals acquired. It allowed them to move much more rapidly, and with less effort, than can reptiles. Smaug should also be lizard-hipped, and should move with that characteristic undulation easily seen in larger reptiles (komodo dragons, alligators). The scales on his head looked pretty realistic, so I'm going to hazard a guess that the rest of his design will look equally plausible.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 2:37am

Post #17 of 34 (396 views)
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hah! i +love+ the assessment of your boy-child [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
Eldarion helpfully pointed out that it is common knowledge that dragons don't *have* to have six appendages. Some have five, four, or even just one, he told me. Still not quite clear on where he learned that. But he did agree that five or one is a rather difficult number to have.


as some would say in the game of thrones universe, "it is known."

yes (emphatically yes, and it's a sincere delight to read these things in someone else's post! : ) ) to all the facts you cite re reptilian and mammalian posture. dinosaurs, too, as we've been discussing above, have their legs positioned underneath them (even the so-called saurischian-types/lizard-hipped-types).

re six-appendeged dragons... well, clearly, their dna hails from avatar's pandora. it is known.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


sycorax82
Rohan

Apr 7 2013, 2:47am

Post #18 of 34 (427 views)
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Even from the smallest of glimpses I'm thinking he's gonna be Alan Lee's Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post

Aka the image used for the cover of the illustrated Hobbit hardback - http://s4.hubimg.com/u/5648243_f260.jpg

Though, this sketch by John Howe could also be an influence, particularly with the tail. - http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1ef74JTpa1rss2pho1_500.jpg


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 3:58am

Post #19 of 34 (396 views)
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thots on dragonology [In reply to] Can't Post

Our local park hosted a Dino weekend. A small boy asked about the relationship between dragons and dinosaurs. (I personally think dragons are a genetic memory of dinos, wired into our DNA)... the paleontologist (who had done a bit of consulting on Jurassic Park, and had a T-rex talon that had flown off in that final scene... oooogh aaaaahhhhh) ...said that all cultures have dragon stories, even cultures (like arctic ones) who live nowhere near reptiles...

...they all have dinosaur fossils. That, and some travellers' tales of oversized crocs or snakes, and some deep mythic archetypes in our DNA, and some other stuff = dragons.

Remember that a lot of dinosaurs have legs constructed like mammals, under them.

Pterosaurs, related to, but not dinosaurs, could be quite large: Hatzegopteryx thambema wingspan;10 m (33 ft)-11 m (36 ft). Of course they are "wyverns".

Animal Planet did a swell "docu-fiction" on dragons, called "Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real". It featured some confrontations between dragons and dinos. And some convincing anatomy.

The completely excellent Dreamworks animation: "How to Train Your Dragon" took the Viking Age and ran off into left field with it. The dragons were imaginative, and based on a variety of real animals. I use (when I do art classes for kids a the local park) it as a great example of artists studying nature and reality before they invent something fantastic.

I always drew my dragons somewhat horselike (because I grew up on horses and understood their anatomy best), and my iconic dragons were McCaffrey's. Now I think I would see them as closely related to utahraptors (what those "velociraptors" in Jurassic Park really were) in their leg structure. They are predators, so their leg structure would be closer to that of the aforementioned dino, or a canine or feline (ie: Toothless, in How to Train Your Dragon), not a hoofed prey item like equines or bovines. The lower leg is longer on prey items, generally shorter on predators (a cat's wrist is lower than the same joint on a horse: the "knee").

The very large pterosaurs are more complex than originally thought: hollow bones, air sacs (like birds), a covering of "fur"...

Our concept of dragons as big flying lizards is probably out of date in a big way...

Go outside and play...


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 4:43am

Post #20 of 34 (416 views)
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Tolkien was clear though [In reply to] Can't Post

about Smaug... saying he had 4 legs and wings. So there should be no issue with his physical design. I hope but Hollywood is paying for Smaug so we might end up with some form of Harry Potter style dragon instead but I hope not. Wink


redgiraffe
Rohan

Apr 7 2013, 5:53am

Post #21 of 34 (367 views)
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Such a cool topic [In reply to] Can't Post

Since you mentioned not having watched the extras from the EE's I'll let you know that one of the things they mentioned about the fell beasts was making sure their wing span was large enough to look like it could support their weight.

In most movies that I've seen, wings look too small. Coming from my standpoint it's not that I think "those wings are too small to support flight for that creature," but rather it "just looks right" when the wing span is the right size. Lol, I know not very scientific perspective, but I appreciate how it seems that the science behind wing-span size has had an unconscious impression on my perception of movie creatures.

Also, something I've been wondering is about the Oliphaunts. I've heard people say that in real life they would never be able to be that size and survive because of their weight. So I've always been curious to know if that's true.

And if we really want to get into some scientific explanations, do you think there's anyway to scientifically explain the blowing of fire? Sly

-Sir are you classified as human
-Negative, I am a meat-popsicle


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 7 2013, 6:47am

Post #22 of 34 (352 views)
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Count me in [In reply to] Can't Post

as another person who was excited to see the nictitating membrane. It's one of those touches of realism that makes these movies a little deeper than mere "fantasy". Cool

Silverlode

Dark is the water of Kheled-zāram,' said Gimli, 'and cold are the springs of Kibil-nāla.



Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 10:25am

Post #23 of 34 (331 views)
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genetic memory [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i, too, have wondered if genetic memory is at work re our visceral reactions to some species -- spiders, snakes... some spiders are large enough to kill small mammals, and we definitely started off as small mammals.

don't know if we'd have genetic memory for dinos, but certainly peoples across the globe throughout the millenia have come across these fantastical bones; i think they must have a part in what we think of as dragons.


Quote
They are predators, so their leg structure would be closer to that of the aforementioned dino, or a canine or feline (ie: Toothless, in How to Train Your Dragon), not a hoofed prey item like equines or bovines. The lower leg is longer on prey items, generally shorter on predators (a cat's wrist is lower than the same joint on a horse: the "knee").


some predators have a forward-facing large hind joint (like theropods... think t-rex), others, like canids and felids have a backward-facing joint. i use those descriptors very loosely, as there are many joints in the hind leg, and depending on which one we're talking about, it's forward- or backward-facing. for discussion's sake, we're talking about the joint that looks the "biggest."

in horses and cats (herbivore and carnivore), the metatarsals (what, for us, are the long foot bones that comprise our arch) are very long, as are the tibia and fibula, which is why their rear legs look like they have "backward-facing" joints.

theropods (also carnivores) have much shorter metatarsals (even if they're raised off the ground, unlike with ours) and the femur and tibia/fibula are long, which makes the back leg look like its biggest joint is forward-facing.

so carnivores can be built either way. just wondering which one they will pick for smaug -- and -- if they want smaug to have really long metatarsals and a short femur, wondering how that will translate to doing motion-capture with cumberbatch, who is a primate/hominoid, with relatively short metatarsals and a relatively long femur.

(that last phrase, "cumberbatch, who is a primate" i find ridiculously funny; 'tho it is factually correct.)

must think about the biological mechanics around fire-breathing now.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 7 2013, 10:36am

Post #24 of 34 (345 views)
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oliphaunts [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Also, something I've been wondering is about the Oliphaunts. I've heard people say that in real life they would never be able to be that size and survive because of their weight. So I've always been curious to know if that's true.


the largest land animal which ever existed is (i believe) the indricotherium.

my friend, wikipedia, says that it stood 16 feet high at the shoulder...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indricotherium

there's an excellent chance that the fossil record doesn't give us the largest indricotherium which ever lived, so perhaps the biggest one was somewhat larger than that.

they seem oliphaunt-sized to me, so the oliphaunts, even before this discussion, seemed astonishing, but plausible.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 7 2013, 10:37am)


ArchedCory
The Shire


Apr 7 2013, 2:35pm

Post #25 of 34 (272 views)
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Of course [In reply to] Can't Post

There have been larger animals than oliphaunts in the world, but keep in mind that dinosaurs could only grow so big because of a totally different atmosphere back then. It's the same reason why insects were so large then and why Shelob in our atmosphere today would not survive.

I think the biggest problem with the film-oliphaunts are their rather thin legs, their bodies would have crushed them immediately.
What I do like about them though is that they have tusks in the upper and the lower jaw. There have been elephant-like creatures with tusks in the lower jaw, today's elephants have them in the upper jaw... but as far as I know there has never been an animal with both.

And did somebody just say fish have no appendages? Shocked

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