How can a creature like this possibly evolve?

So uh how can this creature possibly evolve as it can shapeshift (OP’s words not mine) my guess was chromatophores and mimicry, because idk how a vertebrate can even change shape without painfully hurting itself in the process (unless you’re a fish or amphibian of which you have a larval stage). Maybe zooids? But what lineage would it come from? Btw here’s the link to the person who made this picture’s account: [](https://www.deviantart.come/sampledragon)

Here’s the link again because I screwed up

Please don’t double post, try editing the original post instead! :grin:

I’ve moved this to #not-thrive as dragons have been talked about before and I highly doubt that this time someone can actually come up with the scientific principles and how it can evolve step by step for it to work.

I mean maybe not exactly dragons (as in not reptiles), but given a world inhabited by hexapods (or maybe evolving dragons from Draco lizards) imo they could totally work

Edit: This particular example of dragon however seems rather topheavy, and it most definitely cannot fly. As for shape-shifting, it would really depend on what it shape shifts into. Anything? Probably something like zooids and a lot of magic. A few specific things could probably be done using just advanced mimicry

The OP of the OC said that it has up to almost 500,000 forms

Then probably a mountain sized dose of magic lol

To a certain extent, you can logic out things that would otherwise seem magical. But shapeshifting to over 500,000 different organisms? There isn’t any way to turn that realistic, not really. I guess maybe if all 500,000 were color variants of the same dragon or smthn, but other than that there would have to be a lot of hand waving involved to make something even remotely sensible while still trying to make it realistic in the slightest

We can create him, we have the technology

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i’d say it’s probably something like being able to disassemble itself apart from its nervous system into a slurry of pluripotent stem cells and using hormones/pheremones to determine what it turns into if it can’t use magic

Since you have mentioned magic and how it seems rather topheavy perhaps it uses magic to fly also or perhaps inflated itself by methane and burping it out in the form of fire, thus lowering it’s height also.

Don’t mention inflation…
vietnam war flashbacks
I wish there was a :face_vomiting: reaction.

I mean, logicaly, if the creature was extremely soft and malubly, like a squid, and has an extremely sophisticated system of muscles with the ability to change color similar to a cuttlefish, or that one species of octopus that can convincingly pretend to be a wide variety of things.
It might be able to shapeshift into that over 500,000 things.

Of course this would require the dragon to have little to no bones and I don’t even know what to do with the horns. But perhaps the bones can be segmented in a way that can lead to easy rearrangement, and the horns can be pulled into the body to hide.
This, of course, leads to the question of how in the world would this even even evolve short of gene-editing for the heck of it, but I’m just here to speculate how it might work.

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Another thing is that this dragon would definitely not be able to fly, unless it’s extremely small. It’s wings are at best made for insect-scale flying, not any larger.

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