Do You Believe in Unicorns?
1) Have you ever wanted a pet Dragon?
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.
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.
Conclusion: Dragons are biologically impossible. Thus, Dragons cannot be real.
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?
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.