@Dragon: I think that one could say that biscuits and scones are distant cousins (at least from the scones that I've had in my life, all of which have been outside of the UK). "Normal" biscuits are made from flour, baking soda, baking powder, butter and/or shortening and/or lard (with possibly some bacon drippings) salt, sugar and buttermilk. The fat is cut into the dry ingredients quickly, the liquid is mixed in "until just combined." They can be rolled out until 1/2" thick, but are often just patted out to that thickness. The dough is then folded over and pressed out five times, ending up with a dough that is about 1" thick. They are then cut into circles about 2.5" in diameter and baked.
The batter for drop biscuits is basically the same, perhaps a bit softer, and there is no patting out or folding involved. They appear quite different from the images of pikelets that I've seen, which are, as we would say, as flat as a pancake. Drop biscuits don't spread/flatten out.
In both cases, however, the dough is treated as gently as possible so that the gluten isn't activated (as has been mentioned here). Biscuits are so common in the South that I believe that their all-purpose flour (something like Germany's 550) is "softer" (has less protein) than that which is sold in the rest of the US.