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Here Be Dragons

Science Apologizes to Little Girl for Not Making Dragons

Little kids ask a lot of questions, and it’s the mark of a confident parent that when they don’t actually know why the sky is blue, they can go ask an expert. Or just make something up. But I think I know which one I’d prefer. When Sophie Lester‘s parents had to sit down with her and explain that, no matter how much she asked, they couldn’t get her a dragon for Christmas, they also suggested that she write to somebody who might be able to get her one. Sophie knew exactly what to do, and suggested that they ask a scientist.

And that’s how the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency, wound up apologizing for not being able to create dragons yet.

“And for this Australia,” the CSIRO said in a statement, “we are sorry.”

We’ve been doing science since 1926 and we’re quite proud of what we have achieved. We’ve put polymer banknotes in your wallet, insect repellent on your limbs and Wi-Fi in your devices. But we’ve missed something.

There are no dragons.

Over the past 87 odd years we have not been able to create a dragon or dragon eggs. We have sighted an eastern bearded dragon at one of our telescopes, observed dragonflies and even measured body temperatures of the mallee dragon. But our work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire breathing variety.

Sophie, who was planning on naming her dragon Toothless if a girl, Stuart if a boy, was very happy with the response. Her mother Melissah told The Age that Sophie and her friends all want to be scientists now. “She’s saying Australian scientists can do anything.”

This morning when the film crew left, Sophie said ‘I forgot to tell them they can come back when we have a dragon.’ I told her they can’t do it now, it might be very long time but they’re looking into it.

So that’s probably at least as long as it’ll take for Sophie to be old enough to watch Game of Thrones, as the CSIRO kind of suggest at the end of their letter. You can see pictures of Sophie’s handwritten letter (including a self portrait with her dragon) here.

(via The Age.)

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  • According2Robyn

    I can’t speak for other scientists, but I’m going to do everything I can to get this girl a dragon.

  • Lowprices

    Well I’m glad SOMEBODY finally apologised for the lack of dragons.

  • Benjamin Meis

    I can now officially say, as someone who is studying to become a genetic engineer, dragons are most certainly on the docket. At least on my docket.

  • Anonymous

    I have never been so proud to be an Australian taxpayer.

  • Anonymous

    I have never been so proud to be an Australian taxpayer.

  • Morgane Guillemot

    Man, I thought I was hardcoare for asking the tooth fairy for a velociraptor when I was 7. This girl makes me look very small.

  • Morgane Guillemot

    Man, I thought I was hardcoare for asking the tooth fairy for a velociraptor when I was 7. This girl makes me look very small.

  • locuas

    Wait………toothless is a girl?
    also, dammit, if science does not allow us to play god and create dragons to satisfy a little girl’s wishes what is it good for?

  • Becky Cunningham

    Both this little girl and the scientists who responded to her are people after my own heart.

  • frankenmouse

    When there was first a lot of buzz about genetic engineering I was a pre-teen (maybe 10?). I remember, quite vividly, standing in the shower and deciding, with all the seriousness in my little heart, that I would become a genetic engineer so that I could figure out how to make a dragon (I think I had just read Piers Anthony’s Balook). It’s good to know that there are other little girls out there keeping the dream alive.

  • Christopher LaHaise

    When I was about 6-7, I asked the tooth fairy if she could teach me to fly, and ‘to land easily’. I didn’t want to hurt myself landing. :)

  • Vian Lawson

    Then this, from the comments in the Age article, should be right up your alley:

    “Dear Sophie, I saw your letter to the scientists at CSIRO in my
    newspaper here in Melbourne, and being a girl scientist myself I though
    you had come up with a very good idea! Although we might not be able to
    make you a dragon right now, maybe one day when you’re older you might
    like to be a scientist yourself and you could study dragons or other
    wild creatures – and in the meantime, we will work much harder to
    understand more about these and other wonderful creatures. By the time
    you finish school and are old enough to go to work, we will know much,
    much more – and wouldn’t it be exciting if you were the person who
    discovered how to make a dragon or another magical creature? Being a
    scientist is all about finding the answers to interesting questions like
    yours, and we need more scientists because there are so many questions!”

  • Christopher Geoffries

    This is how it always starts (shakes head mournfully). A seven year old
    and dragons, do her parents not know that flamers are gateway species?

    Sure…it is just dragons now. Soon it is DNA and evolution. before you realize what has happened, zombiepocolypse.

    Is that REALLY what we want?

  • Donna M

    Yes, yes I think it is. Dragons vs Zombies would be pretty epic, actually.

  • Vian Lawson

    As long as I can be on Team Dragon, then yes. Yes, it is.

  • Ashley James


  • Anonymous

    This made me tear up for so many reasons!

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Hmm….Genetic engineering probably would be able to pull off a wyvern in fifty or so years, as it is not to indifferent from a lizard with bat-like properties.
    A dragon though…The hardest part I think would be working out the whole fire breathing thing…Could probably spray some sort of flamable fluid or gas, though im not sure if there is an organic equivalent to a flame…

    We must solve this conundrum for DRAGON SCIENCE!

  • Yukahana

    I would so want to see that movie!

  • Yukahana

    On second thought. What kind of chance would a zombie have against a fire breathing dragon? …Zombie dragons?

  • Anonymous

    Zombie dragons. Yeeeeeeesssss.

  • Cain S. Latrani

    Working on that, actually.

  • Ashe

    When science gets around to dragons, I’d like mine small, purple and with a spunky attitude, please.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Hmm…Its teeth would have to border on metallic to get a spark, but that is certainly possible…
    As for the mouth burning thing, you could take a pagee from the pompei worm’s book and encourage the growth of heat resistant bacteria.
    Admittedly, having something like that in its mouth would be kinda iffy, but ill leave that to you sciencey types.