Sorry, Sophie — There Are No Dragons, But We’re Working on It


A 7-year-old-girl’s request for a dragon and the surprising response she got from a science agency have captured the attention – and the imagination – of the Web.

It all started just before Christmas when Sophie Lester of Queensland, Australia, wrote a letter to her country's science research organization, CSIRO.

Her adorable letter was posted on CSIRO’s website. "Hello Lovely Scientist," it began. “My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at the CSIRO. Would it be possible if you can make a dragon for me. I would like it if you could but if you can’t that’s fine.”

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Sophie included a helpful drawing and even picked out potential names for the future dragon: Toothless if it’s a girl and Stuart if a boy. Plus, she writes, “I would keep it in my special green grass area where there are lots of space. I would feed it raw fish and I would put a collar on it. If it got hurt I would bandage it if it hurt himself. I would play with it every weekend when there is no school.”

While Sophie has clearly given the idea of dragon adoption some serious thought, there is of course, one minor problem. As CSIRO explains in its good-sport response, the organization is simply way behind on its dragon research. (But pretty well caught-up on its “Game of Thrones” viewing. More on that in a moment.)

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“We’ve been doing science since 1926 and we’re quite proud of what we have achieved,” goes CSIRO's statement, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “But we’ve missed something. There are no dragons.”

The agency notes, “Over the past 87 odd years we have not been able to create a dragon or dragon eggs.”

CSIRO continues, “Perhaps dragon fuel is a good area for us to start accelerating our dragon R&D program. Thanks for the fuel for thought, Sophie. We’re looking into it.”

CSIRO closes its letter with a suggestion that the 7-year-old check out “Game of Thrones” for a dragon fix. We’re not sure Sophie’s parents would approve of that advice, but mom Melissah Lester was thrilled with the response otherwise. She told the Sydney Morning Herald that Sophie loves dragons and had asked for a baby one for Christmas.

"Her dad sat her down and said we couldn’t get her one. But he suggested why don’t we write and see if someone can get you one? And she said, ‘What about a scientist?'”

Instead of a factual reply her parents had hoped for, Sophie got the far-fetched and funny response.

“The letter was so polite and hopeful I really couldn't ignore it,” Vanessa Hill, spokeswoman for CSIRO and author of the dragon response, tells Yahoo Shine in an email. "I wanted to be encouraging and like we are in all things, scientific." As for how CSIRO's dragon research is going, "We're working on it," she says.

While CSIRO is far from producing an actual live dragon, the organization did take advantage of some other cool technology, and is making Sophie a Titanium dragon with its 3D printer, according to Hill.

Commenters around the Web were quick to express just how impressed they were by little Sophie. “I want her to grow up to be a Super Villainess determined to genetically engineer a dragon for world domination,” the Bean posted to the Jezebel site.

“Its amazing how far a young mind can go. We need to renew our minds as scientists,” Tosin posted to the CSIRO news blog.

Sophie might not have a fire-breathing dragon, but now she has a life goal -- and a lot of fans. “Sophie says she now wants to work in the CSIRO," her mom told the Herald. "She’s saying Australian scientists can do anything."

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