I was going to post the following question about Dragons in Temeraire, but looking for appropriate tags started to think it might be off topic as science based. Could I get a feeling in the room?

In Naomi Novik's Temeraire series Dragons are seen to mature very quickly and then live a very long time. From the information in the books Dragons seem to reach adult size in around a year, sexual maturity in at most 2 years, but can then live for up to two centuries.

Is there a real animal that this sort of growth cycle is based on?

  • 2
    Asking if it resembles a real animal, is asking mainly about animals and is off-topic. Asking if an animal inspired this lifespan might be on topic if we can find a quite from the author perhaps, otherwise it seems likely to attract Primarily Opinion Based answers. It's a fine line to tread for sure!
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Oct 7, 2021 at 13:55
  • 2
    This list of long-lived animals might be of interest; as a rule, however, at least in vertebrates, lifespan is correlated with the time to reach maturity. So the sharks that can live up to 500 years take over a hundred to reach maturity. Sea turtles that can live over a century take 20-30 years to reach maturity (similar to the great whales), etc.
    – DavidW
    Oct 7, 2021 at 14:09
  • @DavidW thanks for the page, I've snagged some of your comment to add to the question.
    – Jontia
    Oct 8, 2021 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


It depends.

As written, it's not entirely clear what your specific question is.

If you're wanting to know whether the growth cycles of this author's fictional dragons were based directly on a real world animal, then that would be very firmly on topic e.g. what inspired her to make her dragons like this?

If you're simply wanting to know whether there are any real world animals that share a similar growth pattern to those seen in the book, then that would be firmly off-topic. Stripped of the fantasy content, it's just a question about the growth patterns of mundane animals and that would be better asked elsewhere.

  • I shall steal your wording and go ahead and post.
    – Jontia
    Oct 8, 2021 at 14:53

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