Emerging evidence indicates that dragons can no longer be dismissed as creatures of legend and fantasy, and that anthropogenic effects on the world's climate may inadvertently be paving the way for the resurgence of these beasts.Grafen övertygar i alla fall mig om att det här är något att ta på allvar.
|The relative frequency of 'dragons' in fictional literature (thick red line), as determined as a unigram probability4, with two historical reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (decadal smoothing) shown in blue5 and purple6. Global temperatures have been measured since 1855 (thick black line5). Temperature anomalies represent deviations from the 1961–90 reference period. The rising incidence of dragons in the literature correlates with rising temperatures, and suggests that these fire-breathing lizards are being sighted more frequently. As a result, the large-scale 'Third Stir' is deemed to be imminent.|
The combination of decreasing temperatures and a sharp decline in the number of knights saw the onset among dragons of The Great Sleep around the start of the fifteenth century. Such a phenomenon is well recognized: many ectothermic beasts enter a period of brumation (analogous to hibernation in endotherms) under adverse food and climatic conditions. The Great Sleep coincided with what is generally referred to as the Little Ice Age (Fig. 2). Historical records demonstrate that this period was a time of relative peace, at least with regard to dragon attacks. Many believed that dragons — the fire-breathing species, at any rate — had become extinct by the thirteenth or fourteenth century1. This belief has further been extended to a perplexing level, whereby conventional opinion now holds that dragons, and indeed all other magical beings, are mere fantasy. Such a creed has been a blessing for dragons, because it spelt an end to the persecutions. Witches are now seen as crazy but harmless women, and wizards as senile old men with nothing better to do than wander around folk festivals in funny hats.