There is a new genus of dinosaur, and its name couldn’t be more apt. The Targaryendraco wiedenrothi takes its name from House Targaryen of Game of Thrones, whose members were known for their connections with dragons.
The original fossils were found in Germany in 1984 by Kurt Wiedenroth and assigned to the group pterosaurs. These are flying-based dinosaurs represented in media with long snouts and wings. But now these fossils have been reassigned to a new genus called Targaryendraco. Upon receiving this news, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin stated:
I am delighted, needless to say. Especially by the kind words of the discoverer, paleontologist Rodrigo Pêgas, who is solidly on my side about dragons having two legs, not four.”
House Targaryen’s symbol is a three-headed dragon. The most prominent member of that House from the books and show is, of course, Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons herself. She had three dragons named Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Paleontologist Rodrigo Pêgas said he chose the name because the dark fossils reminded him of the black bones of dragons from Game of Thrones, and because pterosaurs have inspired dragons, in a sense. In regards to Martin’s dragons having two legs instead of four, Pêgas stated:
[I] always thought this was very nice, especially because I work on pterosaurs . . . [I am] big nerd and a big fan of Game of Thrones.”
In regards to whether or not creatures as large as the Game of Thrones dragons would be able to fly, Dr. Dave Hone explained:
Some estimates suggest that the biggest pterosaurs were at the limit of the weight of viable flying animals and yet the dragons have smaller wings, smaller muscles and none of the weight saving in the bones, legs or tail. They would have been grounded even before we take into account the full sizes that these animals are supposed to get to (capable of swallowing a horse apparently!).”
Are you a big Game of Thrones fan? Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the newest development for the series.
Ashley is the author of the Thread of Souls book series, an avid traveler, and a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast!