Basically I wanted dragons to be able to efficiently finish off armored opponents by chomping on one of their arm then batting them around and against hard surfaces until they're no more.

If you need a visual demonstration, here's one with a water monitor (live feeding) and one with Filthy Frank. Just replace the rat/hamster with a knight.

Now the problem with dragons isn't the square-cube law, but two semi-separate things:

  • Weight for material selection: when you start increasing the weight, the tendons, ligaments bones and wing flaps will be subjected to greater forces. This can be overcome with stronger materials (which are already present in nature).

  • Mass fraction of the wing muscles: Its mass is usually 25% of the TOTAL body mass, plus there are the wings. This means, the legs (fore and hind), tail and neck need every bit of trick to maximize the force they can exert for the least amount of weight.

That being said, how should the dragon's "Human Whiplash" work from a mechanical standpoint, given that we're going for maximum lethality, and how would their neck adapt to it?

The dragons in question are the six-limbed variants.


1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, animals which attack with the head have very short, thick necks in order to deal with the stresses involved. This is common across different species and even between herbivores and carnivores - both a modern bull and a lion have short, thick necks relative for their size.

The closest analogue for a dragon would be the most impressive of all carnivores: T-Rex

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The size of the T-Rex neck speaks to the huge muscles needed to grab and shake prey or tear off chunks of meat

Of course the T-Rex could likely bite right through a knight and tear off the arm, so there are some scale effects in play as well.

The long, slender necks that have been popularized in illustrations and movies would speak more to a creature that strikes out at prey like snatching fish out of a stream or perhaps birds from the air. The amount of leverage would not be sufficient to really cause lots of damage to a large target, and indeed, the creature would likely instinctually keep the head well back to protect the head and neck if involved in a fight.

So dragons that wade into fights with their teeth would most likely have short, thick necks and resemble a T-Rex when the unfortunate knight gets a set of jaws clamped down on them.

  • $\begingroup$ As far as I saw, water monitors move their entire bodies when doing the whiplash. Would that matter? $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2020 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps, but even then the prey being attacked is likely less than the size of the snake. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Feb 27, 2020 at 21:18

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