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Acknowledgements

All canon Pern content copyright to Anne McCaffrey. All non-canon Pern content copyright Kestrana. All draconic sprites/button images copyright to various artists (many images from Pern book covers; dragon sprite from "Dragonlady" fantasy portrait of Anne McCaffrey). All original characters copyright of their gamers.

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1 Dragon-ary on Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:04 pm

Kestrana

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Admin / Weyrlingmaster
Physiology

Psychic Abilities

Psychology

Dragon Colors


NOTE: The codes shown for dragon speech color are simply the default codes so that people don't have to try and remember something like #B8860B (the standard hex used for bronze dragons). If, however, you would like a custom code please message one of the admins with your dragon's name and the hex you wish to use for your dragon. We can then add it to the admin CP and you can simply replace the color with the name of your dragon (for example, Sora uses <span class="dranith"></span> instead of <span class="blue"></span> for A'dam's Dranith).

Gold | Bronze | Brown | Blue | Green
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Last edited by Kestrana on Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

2 Re: Dragon-ary on Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:18 pm

Kestrana

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Evolution of Dragonkind


The original dragonkin species of Pern was the firedragonet. Kitty Ping recognized their potential as protectors against Thread after they were observed chewing firestone to protect their bondeds' homes and livestock.

The species was determined to be essentially immortal. It was hypothesized that this was so that their population could recover from being devastated by Thread (either directly through contact with the spores or indirectly by destroying their food sources). Left to their own devices, the firedragonets would live for centuries if not longer. However, it seemed that in bonding to a human being, the shock of the bond breaking when the human died resulted in the death of the firedragonet.

From Firedragonet to Firelizard
Firedragonets are the ancestor of both firelizards and dragons. The first alterations to the dragonets, accomplished in the early colony years, involved treating a clutch of eggs with mentasynth, the Eridani compound designed to enhance fetuses' empathy. Their pincer claws were also genetically altered to a pentadactyl arrangement. When the eggs hatched in an environment that closely duplicated a nest in the wild, the new dragonets (later called firelizards) were capable of more direct communication and empathy with the humans who Impressed them. Over the next several generations, the improved firelizards grew to be larger adults than their wild dragonet counterparts did, probably a result of superior food and care. They also developed more pronounced head knobs. Firedragonets have a single pincer that closes on a two-fixed-claw "hand." The forearm have two arm bones that rotate to produce the ambidactyl movement, which is why the geneticists were able to alter the form of the claw. The genes were altered to produce four "fingers" and a "thumb."

One side-effect of the mentasynth enhancement of empathy was a decrease in the memory retention in the firelizards. While the firedragonets have a genetic memory and can remember incidents from centuries past, the firelizards have lost the ability to pass knowledge on genetically. They can learn and remember events in their lifetimes.

From Firelizard to Dragon
The firelizard genome was altered further to create the dragon embryos. Kitti Ping, the lead geneticist, had given the firelizards their five-digit claws. She continued to manipulate their genes to shorten the forelegs into more modified "arms" and to give the dragons a stronger endoskeleton so the dragons would be comfortable upright. The back legs were modified with additional muscle.

The mentasynth was applied again to the dragon embryos to further enhance their empathy. The side effect is that dragons' memory recall is significantly reduced, although their empathic bond with their riders is unbelievably strong.

Effect of Mentasynth on Memory and Empathy
Firedragonet
Memory
Empathy
Firelizard
Memory
Empathy
Dragon
Memory
Empathy

Firedragonets vs. Firelizards


The Differences
There are a number of differences between firedragonets and firelizards. The most obvious, of course, is the physical differences, namely the blunter nose, the underdeveloped head knobs, and the three-toed pincer claws.

More subtle, however, are the mental and emotional differences. In applying mentasynth to firedragonet embryos (and later, to firelizard embryos), their mental resources had to be reallocated in order to strengthen the bond they would feel to their riders. This reduced their mental capacity for memory and image-based communications and increased their empathic communications.

Breeding & Genetics
The genetic differences may or may not allow firelizards and firedragonets to interbreed. However, their physical traits breed true, so even if they interbreed, their offspring would be one or the other. That doesn't mean the entire clutch is one or the other, but the individual hatchling would be.

No official decision has been made on this site regarding interbreeding. We have been avoiding interbreeding just as a matter of firedragonets and firelizards being genetically different species.

If anyone would like to interbreed, let me know and we'll come up with a way to figure out how to determine the offspring.

As Pets: Which Do I Want?
Because of their extreme mental differences and their digital differences, firedragonets and firelizards are suited for different uses.

Firedragonets have better memories. Because of this, they would make better companions for Harpers, Vintners, Miners, Smiths, and Carpenters. They would also work well with any of the Crafts that require a steady hand because of their less powerful emotions; this is especially important to Glassmiths. With their pincer-like claws, they would also make good companions for Fishers and Farmers.

Because of their more dextrous claws, firelizards would make better companions for Healers, Weavers, Tanners, Sailors, Cooks/Bakers, Computerers, Technicians, Printers, Papermakers, and Plastic-makers. They would also work well with Harpers, Vintners, and Carpenters. Because of their stronger empathic abilities, they also make good companions for Healers, Dragonhealers, Herders, and Dolphineers.

On the new planet, the firedragonets would be especially useful as scouts because of their improved memories and ability to visualize those memories long after experiencing them. On the flip side of the coin, the firedragonets are larger and have correspondingly improved stamina; and with their more dextrous front claws, they can more easily collect rock, soil, and plant samples to bring back. The firedragonets, with their locking pincers, are better able to capture animal specimens.

Folks who have read the (chronologically) later Pern books, most notably the Dragonsinger trilogy and the White Dragon, have expressed confusion over the differences between the two species. That is because the Pernese, prior to uncovering AIVAS and learning about the genetic manipulation, referred to both species as firelizards.

The firedragonets are specifically described in the White Dragon. Due to the mentasynth manipulation, the firelizards are not mentally capable of remembering the scenes of Landing that the firedragonets shared with Ruth.

Those who studyied the genetic history of the dragons in AIVAS' records would have learned the differences and would have started referring to them accordingly.
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