Scientific & Common Names
The Golden Dragon is a specific breed of European Dragon (Draco varanus). European Dragon is one of two major species of dragon currently alive, the other being Asian Dragon (Draco yang). Wyverns (Draco varanus wyvernis) are a subspecies of European Dragon.
European Dragons have two sets of legs, similar to lizards; long, serpentine bodies, similar to snakes; and large, leathery wings, similar to bats. The Golden Dragon has gold horns on its head and a golden spike crest atop its head and at the end of its tail. Its off-white wings match its underbelly. Its legs are shorter than most other dragon breeds, but are wide and muscular.
One of the earliest confirmed breeds, Golden dragons were easier to identify due to their bright, bold, canary yellow and gold coloring. They have been recognized in the earliest recorded artifacts from all over Europe, including Bronze Age Celtic jewelry.
Golden dragons were hunted to near extinction during the Middle Ages. The uneducated populace believed that the dragons would either kidnap young women for food or for high ransom, and so knights and other young men set out to attack them in their shallow cave lairs.
The breed was believed extinct from the 1500s until 1828, when freshly-moulted horns were discovered in a field in Provence, France. Until that point, it was not known whether these dragons shed their horns or not, but the horn so perfectly matched Medieval illustrations, that scholars now largely agree about its source.
Several dozen shed scales and two more shed horns have been recovered in the 20th century, the last in 1986.
No sightings since Middle Ages, circumstantial evidence (horns, scales) as recently as 1986.