Do You Believe in Unicorns?

 

Please answer the following questions carefully before continue:

1) Have you ever wanted a pet Dragon?
2) Do you believe in Mermaids?
3) Do you love Unicorns?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, you are advised that this post may contain cruel content that can break many innocent hearts. Please read at own risk.

 

1. Dragon [ˈdrægən]

(Breathe fire) I breathe fire. I fly in the sky. I live in the dungeon, and my favourite hobby is kidnapping cute little princesses from their castles so that their boyfriends can come to mine to slaughter through the evil vines, and save the day. I am magnificent, immortal, and above them all. Now, who are you to say that I’m not real, you little piece of insignificant mortal being?! (Breathe more fire)

 

Sorry, Dragon. I’m a biologist, and here’s why you can’t be real.

Dragons are often depicted to have the body of a snake, with two arms, two legs, and of course, a pair of glorious wings. Now, here’s the problem: according to the theory of evolutionary developmental biology, no animals can ever have both sets of arms, and wings. You can either have (1) arms, but no wings; or (2) wings, but no arms. Never both.

Why?

This is because theoretically, both arms, and wings evolved from the same primitive structure of a common ancestor: a pair of fins of the ancient fishes. Through eons and eons of evolution, as these fishes evolved to become birds and mammals, the fins evolved into wings in birds, and arms in mammals.

And it is the same reason why we don’t have wings to fly to school while pigeons don’t have arms to pick up breadcrumbs in the park. It is just not evolutionarily possible.

Conclusion: Dragons are biologically impossible. Thus, Dragons cannot be real.

I’m sorry to all the Hobbit fans out there for bursting the bubble, but it looks like Smaug cannot be real. You may now cry like a man.

 

2. Mermaid [ˈmɜːˌmeɪd]

  

I have body of a female human, and tail of a fish. I live under the sea, and my favourite hobby is singing to the sailors, and stirring up storms. Be jealous of my long flowing hair because my shampoo is better than yours. Oh, and Mr. Christopher Columbus once saw me off the coast of Hispaniola when I was there visiting my grandmother 520 years ago. This means that I have got to be real, right?

 

Erm, not quite.

Mermaids cannot be real because:

Mermaid sex is impossible.

Assuming that the mermaids need human sperms to reproduce, and breed more baby mermaids to fill the Pacific Ocean, that ain’t gonna work too well for them. 

Since mermaids were anatomically a fish below the waist, we can safely assume that they would reproduce the fishy way – lay eggs into the water, and wait for the sperms to come. Here are the problems:

 

#1 Human sperms will definitely not survive in the sea.

Human sperms are designed to survive, and meet their egg in a female reproductive tract. Put them into the sea, and they will be long gone before they even meet their spouse egg.

 

#2 Human sperms aren’t designed to like a fishy egg.

I’d imagine mermaids, and humans to have fairly different DNA. When this is true, even if the human sperms are able to survive in the sea, and meet the destined mermaid egg (probably with the help of a diving kit, and air tank), the egg won’t be fertilized. The DNA in them will not match up: they are like zips from different sets of zippers. The DNA will not be able to zip up properly to make a viable, beautiful mermaid baby.

 

Here you have it: No mermaid sex. No mermaid baby. Therefore, no mermaid.

Looks like my favourite Disney Princess isn’t real after all.

 

 

3. Unicorn [ˈjuːnɪˌkɔːn]

 

Now, what about the magical unicorns that fart rainbows, puke free healthcare, and poop butterflies?

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

OF COURSE THEY ARE REAL.

I keep one in my backyard.

 

 

 

Vivian Loh is an MBiotech candidate at the University of Melbourne. She is an honest, and honorable scientist at heart, but be aware that she often lies about having a unicorn in her backyard. The truth is – she doesn’t even have a backyard.

 


16 Responses to “Do You Believe in Unicorns?”

  1. Vivian Loh says:

    @Deepika: Glad you enjoy reading my post! ;D

    @Priti: Thanks Priti!

    @Wei Tong: CUTEEEEEEEEEE!!! ;D

  2. Priti Arora says:

    I found the post very intriguing. Great work Viv 🙂

  3. Deepika says:

    Such a FUN post! 😀 Love the scientific take on some of these ‘mythical’ creatures.

  4. Vivian Loh says:

    Thank you everyone for reading my post!

    @Sarah: Hi, that’s a good question! Insects have both wings and ‘legs’ because fundamentally, their ‘wings’ are different from that of birds – this means that they are not developed from the same primitive structure of a common ancestor.

    @Imarotta: Hi, that’s a very good observation! When I was writing this post, I never quite consider the existence of merman – all the merpeople I’ve seen in literature are women. But you’re very welcome to write another post to dispute my view!

    @isabelsm: Hi, good point! But I never really quite considered about the existence of merman when I was writing this post – all the merpeople I’ve seen in literature are woman!

    @Wendy: Yea, I’ve heard about those dragons too – very interesting! Come and pet my unicorn!

    @suyar: Thank you!

    @Meagan: Whoaaa you make those lizards sound really interesting! Why not write a post on them! I’ll be interested! And thanks for reading my post!

    @setiawan: HELLO SARI. What are you saying? Unicorns are real. Come pet, you know where I live.

    @Jeane: HI JEANE. Come ride, you know where I live too.

    @ Shailee: Thank you so much!

    @ Liang: Thank you!

    @ Hector: OH NOOO I’m so sorry Hector :c And no, you can’t have my unicorn, but you’re very welcome to come see him!

  5. Hector Lau says:

    Oh no.. You ruined my childhood memories… By the way can I please have your unicorn?

  6. Liang Ma says:

    HAHAHA,dragons, mermaids and unicorns are real because I can see them at night while dreaming……well, there is a kind of whale called narwhal which has a horn(tooth). Anyway, that’s a excellent post there!

  7. Shailee Patel says:

    Thanks for telling us the ‘Science’ part of some the most beautiful creatures ever imagined!! I had a smile all through the post! Nice work, Viv!! 😀 😀

  8. Jeane Angelina Prasetya says:

    That is really fascinating to read Vivian! But I want to ride a cute unicorn!!!

  9. setiawan says:

    Interesting post! Deep down, I do wish dragons, mermaids and unicorn are real. 🙁

  10. Meagan Lane says:

    Very entertaining and enjoyable read! However as Wendy Nguyen already pointed out, dragons do exist! Agamidae is a family of lizards known as dragons or lizard dragons. Whilst they might not be mythical beings that breathe fire and have wings, they are still pretty special. They include such species as the Thorny Devil (with camouflage powers), the Komodo dragon (with venomous powers) and the Frilled lizard (with scary frill powers).

  11. suyar says:

    Haha Such a great post!

  12. Wendy Nguyen says:

    Wait ! there is dragon. Komodo Dragon in Indonesia. In fact, they look like a giant lizard. very scary and strong. I read somewhere that they found Komodo in the south of Vietnam as well. not sure if it is reliable or not.
    Interesting post ! I come over to see you unicorn this week 😛 ?

  13. isabelsm says:

    Wait! I thought Mermen were Mermaids other halves!? I mean Ariel is but one of few mermaids in ‘history’ who decided to go off and fall in love with a human, I think the other mermaids and mermen were quite happy to fish for mates under the sea!

  14. lmarotta says:

    I have seen plenty of versions of dragons with wings as forelimbs (as in no arms), I always liked them more.
    Why would a mermaid need human sperm? if they have fishy eggs then surely they would have fishy sperm. I mean the mermen are fishy down there as well

  15. Sarah Hardgrove says:

    An entertaining piece. but please, enlighten me….Flies and other insects appear to have things that function as arms as well as having wings. Is it just that they are really legs they use like arms? Whats the diff?