Artwork and text by TwilightSaint
The bones of a Dutch Angel Dragon are lightweight yet reinforced with crossing trusses to support its weight during flight. The limb and torso bones possess little to no pneumatization, instead having packed trabeculae. The bones are highly vascular, ensuring a constant high energy supply to the wings and limbs.
Instead of a collar bone for support, the front limbs move freely with help from the muscles and tendons, permitting it to fully tuck its legs while lying down, jumping, or flying. Sternal projections ensure a strong anchor for the wing' enlarged pectoral muscles to the keel. The keel is not pronounced, instead having a smooth look due to abdominal muscles and fascia.
Despite the lack of internal organs and reproductive system, the pubis and ischium are swept backward to allow further attachment of the wing muscles and more space for the 'energy' stomach pouch. The gastralis, or stomach ribs, give more protection to the abdomen as well as additional muscular attachment, and alos prevent the stomach from feeling too soft to the touch. Due to the lack of heavy bones, the abdomen is however of the the softer and more vulnerable parts of the body.
On Dutch Angel Dragons, the lack of a clavicle for the front limbs is due to their equine-like anatomy, horses not actually possessing a collar bone. The front limbs are supported by looser tendons and muscles, making them extremely flexible in their shoulders, like horses. The cervical (neck) vertebrae are rounded in shape, permitting a wide range of movement despite the overall length of the neck. The vertebrae of the tail are also smooth-shaped, supporting flexibility over structure.
Pneumatization refers the presence of air pockets in the bones, separated by criss-crossing trusses of thin bone in the core. This makes the wing bones quite light yet incredibly strong due to the trusses. The lack of a core of marrow necessitates the presence for larger, more developed muscles of the breast and wing arms themselves to support the flow of energy to the wings, which would otherwise be provided by a highly vascular system.
Dutchies do not have a clavicle on their front limbs, but a clavicle for the wings is set just forward of the front limbs' scapulas. This is the same as the 'wishbone' found in avians, due to them sharing feathered wings. The majority of the wing muscles and bones are clear behind those of the front limbs, ensuring a full range of lateral motion for the wings and no restriction of the front limbs.
The metacarpus, or wing hand, is fused into a single bone. Some individuals may possess elongated metacarpals and claws which may be opposable, allowing them to climb or hang by grasping rough surfaces. The publis is swept backward to allow space for wing muscles and the 'energy' stomach.
The carples are fused together into a tight pack, with thick metacarpal forming the paws. The bones and muscles of the front limbs are stronger than those of the legs in order to support the weight of the sternum, wings, and associated muscle groups. The elbows and the heels alike jut outward in support of muscles attachment.
Like equines, they possess elongated metatarsal (cannon) bones, from which the phalanges form mammalian paws, The pisiform is present on the front and hind paws. Some individuals do possess hooves.
Dutchies possess a mix of a Western dragon's digitigrade stance, with similar bone structure to the horse, an ungulate. This stance has been dubbed "digiuligrade". The metatarsals are fused into a single cannon bone with the phalanges starting at the bottom portion along with a pronounced sesamoid. The combination of stance and skeletal anatomy gives Dutchies a good mix of leaping power with long-term standing and walking, from their draconic and equine characteristics, respectively. Like equines, they are able to tuck their legs close to their bodies, and bend their paws downward quite far.
Dutch Angel Dragons have a horse-like skull, though they lack the closed, circular orbit of equines. Instead the Dutchies have full-color, forward facing eyes completed by the orbital ligament. most individuals have crisp vision, some able to see with binocular-like focus or see clearly underwater depending on their adaptation and environment.
Like mammals, they possess a nicitating membrane, or 'third eyelid' to protect and clean their eyes, though this is vestigial in some individuals. Those with facial horns will sport them as bony protrusions from the skull itself. Some individuals may have broader or longer faces, raised or sloped snouts, matching the horse breed they most closely resemble.
Similar to horses, Dutchies have a wide gap separating their canine and molars, supported by a rounded facial crest. While individuals may change the shape and function of their individual teeth as they change appearance, the gap is permanently present among all Dutchies.
The typical dragon possesses a good mix of both tearing canines and incisors, and crushing molars. However, Dutchies may change the shapes of their teeth to suit eating their favorites foods. Herbivorous individuals will sport flatter, closing front teeth for snapping up grasses and leaves, and square molars for crushing tough plant matter. Those who prefer meat will have sharper, piercing teeth to tear at prey. Seafood-lovers will have sharp, conical teeth for keeping hold of wriggling fish.
Horns and Other Adornments
The shape and the size of the horns will vary by individual and depend largely on their environment and function. Those with large, elaborate horns may use them as a display to warn potential threats, or to fight with other dragons. Some may possess thicker, sloping horns in order to protect their necks and serve a more defensive purpose. Larger horns will require larger muscles for the dragon to move their head and neck with ease.
Along with motion, the horns cannot be places where they would inhibit movement. For example, large horns sweeping backwards on the aft portion of the mandible would prevent the dragon from opening their mouth very far. Instead, the horns should be turned more outwards as to not interfere with normal function. The same applies to other forms of display, from spikes, scales, and feathers.
Dutch Angel Dragons sport a notably equine-like skeletal system. This is most seen in the limbs, shoulders, and hips. Unlike other dragons, the metatarsal bone is elongated like a horse's, with mammalian toes growing from the tarsus. Some individuals possess hooves.
The skeletal system of the Western dragon (with bat-like wings) is closer to that of mammals and dinosaurs. The limbs may be slightly shorter than that of a Dutch, sporting talons resembling a mix of mammal, avian, and theropod anatomy. The skull may be noticeably more reptilian, supported by a long, flexible neck muscles.
Having less equine-like limbs shows in the larger separation between the bones of the forearms and shins in the Western dragon than the Dutchies. This suggests greater attachment of bulkier muscles used to take down prey rather than stand or stride for long periods.
Unlike the Dutchies, Western dragons possess a metatarsus which form the upper portions of the feet. On bipedal or more dinosaur-like individuals, these bones will typically be fused into a single unit to better support them. The separation between the tibia and fibula are more pronounced, showing where the stronger calf muscles used for leaping into the air are attached. Western dragons do not have a pronounced inner hock like the Dutch Angel Dragon. The Dutchie's tail is typically much more flexible than that of the Western dragon, able to sway back and forth and even curl laterally. The tail is typically adorned with feathers or a mane.