The Mountain Dragon lived in remote mountainous regions of Europe. It formally hunted Mammoths, but after they declined in most parts of the world and loss of some of the great herds of large animals resorted to livestock, which made it a target for slaughtering by humans. Like other dragons it was a solitary and unsociable animal preferring to live alone, except when looking for a mate.
The mountain dragon is so called because in medieval times, it was restricted largely to mountains and other remote habitats. The name is, however, slightly inappropriate since the species was much more widespread in lowland forests and was not restricted to mountains before the pressures of agriculture and a burgeoning human population restricted its habitat.
Like all post-Cretaceous dragons, mountain dragons had six limbs: a pair of wings in addition to two pairs of legs, the result of an advantageous developmental mutation that probably occurred ten million years before or just after the extinction of the two-legged, two-winged prehistoric dragon.
The mountain dragon's body was relatively short compared with that of the marine dragon; however, a shorter body is essential for flight, where a long flexible vertebral column is a disadvantage. The tail was approximately as long as the body, with a razor-sharp arrowhead-shaped structure that could be used as a defensive weapon. A sideswipe from a dragon's tail could sever a man's arm.
The head was armed with sharp spikes or horns, which would provide protection against attack (mainly by other dragons, as no other predators were likely to challenge a dragon). They also served to make the animal seem even more intimidating, and so had a deterrent role in social conflicts, as well as providing weapons when combat ensued.
The mountain dragon's body was relatively short compared with that of the aquatic dragon. A short body is essential for flight, where a long, flexible vertebral column is a disadvantage.
The wings consisted of a leathery surface supported by the bones of four greatly extended digits. The first digit (equivalent to the human thumb) was not functionally part of the wing, but retained a grasping claw. Overall, the mountain dragon's wing structure is very similar to that of modern bats, rather then birds, in which the wing structure is largely composed of two digits fused together.
Mountain dragons had a pair of wings in addition to two pairs of legs. These six limbs, an anatomical feature of all post-Cretaceous dragon species featured in our fanciful series, were the result of an advantageous developmental mutation that occurred after the extinction of the (two-legged, two-winged) Prehistoric Dragon.
Dragons varied considerably in color, depending on age, maturity and other factors. Some were grey, others golden; a varied assortment was brown or black with a red, green or yellow. Others were striped red and green or yellow, blue or black and speckled. Still other species of dragon had a green head, back and legs, while the chest, belly and undersides of the wing were red. Some had a white ring of scales around their neck.
The general pattern of a darker back and paler underside is widespread among animals. It is termed counter shading, and generally serves the function of concealment, with the greater amount of light falling on the dorsal surface balancing the paler underside (or vice-versa, if looking at the dragon from another perspective) and making the animal as a whole less conspicuous than it would be otherwise.
Dragons, therefore combined cryptic (i.e. camouflage) coloring with the bright display colors and patterns. The bright colors and patterns of adult dragons suggest a display or warning function, used in territorial disputes, gender-based rivalry or attraction of mates.
Each of the feet carried three major claws, again formidable weapons. The claws of the Carpathian adult specimen were approximately 10 centimeters (8 inches) in length.
The tail was approximately as long as the body, with a razor-sharp arrowhead-shaped structure that could be used as a defensive weapon. A sideswipe from a dragon's tail could sever a man's arm.
This species was a skillful and elegant flier. It was also capable of traveling long distances in search of food. This long distance flight ensured that this species could travel the globe and become widespread.
Mountain Dragons were hunted to extinction by knights, because the dragons ate their livestock. They were considered pests in the Middle Ages.
But they, along with the Marine Dragons, Forest Dragons, and some other dragons, may still be around alive today, although they still remain as cryptids despite their sighings in modern times.
The mountain dragon, which did exist, resembled a cross between the European Dragon and Frost Dragon of the Dragonology books: it had the colors of the former, but the head was shaped more like the latter.