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Old Dec 5 2008, 07:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
Gender: F
Fan of: Pern, Talents
Now Reading: Just finished: House of Suns
Default Forked tongues on firelizards?


Originally Posted by Weyrbrat View Post
Ahh... I see where I've been confused. When I first read Pern, I didnt think of it being on another planet, and assumed wherries where some sort of bird like creature, with feathers. That being said, doesn't it mention somewhere that they have beaks? And what I mean is that the fire lizards might have at first been simply lizards with wings, as they look like, without other abilities. If this was true, the forked tongue would be possible.
Wherries ARE birdlike creatures. They're large -- around the size of turkeys, I believe -- and six-limbed, with "proto feathers" similar to what Archeopteryx would have had. But remember, birds evolved from saurians. It's entirely plausible for wherries and firelizards to have a similarly-shaped single ancestor from which they both split.

Todd Cameron Hamilton depicted them, in the DLG, as looking like this:

...though there's an artist on DeviantArt who did sort of an interesting interpretation I think I like and that may make more sense as a firelizard ancestor and not just a firelizard cousin. ("Proto feathers," which wherries have, PRECEDE true feathers -- they're less evolved than actual feathers. If firelizards come from wherries instead of just being related to them, then they would have just lost the proto feathers altogether.)

Anyway. Wherries are birds. Well, if not birds, exactly, then "avians," and yes, they've got beaks and such. I suspect the wherry/firelizard/tunnelsnake archosaur would have started off terrestrial, and then the wherries and tunnelsnakes would have come from intermediate ancestors who gained wings -- but not forked tongues. ;> (Useless in the air, anyway. They'd've probably gained excellent sight -- more advantageous from the air -- before they'd've gained excellent smell.)

Last edited by Hans; Dec 6 2008 at 09:59 AM.
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