NCBI ROFL: The pyrophysiology and sexuality of dragons.

By ncbi rofl | March 29, 2010 7:00 pm

dragon“To examine the means whereby dragons produce fire and steam, we have studied a related species, the desert-lizard Lacerta pyrophorus. Morphological studies showed that there were in the snout three distinctive features: (1) a dorsal swelling in the pharynx, the Organ of Feuerwerk, consisting of brown adipose tissue with an extensive sympathetic innervation; (2) greatly enlarged lachrymonasal ducts, the Ducts of Kwentsch; and (3) asbestos deposits in the nasal skin, the Bestos Bodies. Physiological studies show that the Organ of Feuerwerk can, when the animal is excited, produce extremely high temperatures. We discuss how these mechanisms can produce steam and fire, and how the snout is protected. We also discuss and offer a solution to the problem of how, since dragons are invariably male, the species can be propagated.”
fig 2

“Fig. 2. Laboratory photograph showing S.T.G. performing an experiment on a specimen of L. pyrophorus. The microthermistor is in position. Note S.T.G.’s protective clothing (courtesy of Amourplating plc, UK), and his macromanipulator (especially developed by Equus Probes Ltd., UK). The demure appearance of the technician (Miss Virginia Young) may not be typical; at the time she was into bondage, and shortly afterwards left to marry S.T.G. Photograph by courtesy of U. Cello.”


Thanks to Per for today’s ROFL!

Image: flickr/Beverly & Pack

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing").Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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