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Old Jan 6 2013, 09:10 PM   #1
skywaterblue
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Default How much do dragons weigh?

For a while I considered the question to be impossible to answer, due to lack of material in the canon. (No one ever weighs a dragon in a scene we see in the books. We can safely assume the First Pass dragons would have seen regular checkups including weigh-ins, but by the Ninth Pass, large digital scales such as used for weighing large animals would no longer exist. And the largest of the dragons would no longer fit!)

That's unfortunate because it's a necessary data point for determining how much dragons eat, which dictates almost all economic activity on the planet. Various people who have tossed their hat at this issue over the years Pern fandom has been active have led to a fan assumption that the basic economics and ecology of Pern do not work. However, various math noodlings I've done over the years have suggested to me that actually, yes, Pern IS capable of supporting six Weyrs of dragons.

LUCKILY, I have found a reference in "All the Weyrs of Pern" that will finally answer how much a green dragon weighs!

In Chapter 12, Jaxom, Master Fandarel, Jancis, Belterac and Evan are aboard the Yokohama, accompanied by greenriders S'len and L'zar and their dragons. Ruth is also present, but we're told that the greens ferried up the smiths on their own. After having discovered that the shields on the Dawn Sisters can destroy Thread, there's a brief argument about who gets to go over and do it: Jaxom ends up assigning them all roles and having the greens ferry them over to the other two ships to do that. AIVAS suggests they take supplemental oxygen, just in case.

"Jaxom," Aivas began, "how much weight can the green dragons carry? Their burdens today weigh more than their body weight."

To which Jaxom responds that they can carry as much as they think they can, but more importantly: now we know that a green dragon weighs less than her rider, two passengers, and two oxygen tanks.

Assuming that the average weight of a man is 190 pounds, and the tanks are scuba sized at 40 pounds each (as they're adapted from the queenrider's flamethrower tanks, which they wear on their backs, I believe) then the average green dragon can't weigh more than 700 pounds. Which is only a little more than I had estimated previously using data from paleontologists on big pterosaurs.

Sean probably had good reason to fear that his horse-sized bronze dragon was going to be overburdened!

Edit to add: I am also assuming that AIVAS did weigh the Ninth Pass dragons at some point. This is hardly the only time in AtW that he expresses interest and concern about their latent TK.
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Old Jan 7 2013, 05:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

That number seems pretty ridiculously small, to me. You're saying that a 9th Pass green dragon has to weigh less than a small horse. We know that Carenath was about Ruth's size and that the greens are larger than Ruth.

From DDawn:
Quote:
Carenath flew strongly and well. The bronze was nearly the same height in the shoulder as Cricket, though the conformation was entirely different, Carenath being much longer in the
body, deeper in the barrel, and stronger in the hindquarters. In fact, the dragons already were much stronger than similar equines, their basic structure much more durable.
Cricket is a stallion large enough to carry an adult male, most likely a cob type given Sean's preferences as a youngster for a horse that resembled his old pony. Carenath has shorter forelegs but a larger chest. His body is longer. His hind legs are of a similar length, but with greater musculature. His head is similar, but his neck is longer. His tail is considerably longer and more massive, and the horse doesn't have wings at all. There's nothing at all about him that's smaller except for a marginal height difference at the withers, and the length of his front limbs, and he wasn't yet fully grown. In terms of flesh, I'd be very surprised if the dragon wasn't 50% larger, and even if you balance that out with hollow, bird-like bones, bone mass is only about 15% of total for a mammal (cf. 5%-ish for a bird). Basically, whatever you make the bones out of, you can't make the flesh and soft tissues weigh any less, and Carenath isn't going to weigh any less than Cricket unless you stick him on a completely different planet.

I don't think the queenriders need to wear their tanks on their backs, either, but I'd have to check that to be sure. If you up the size of the smiths and the tanks, I think you can get close to the body weight of a horse, but a 9th pass green is going to top that by a significant amount. I think the margin for error is in the tanks, or that Anne lost track of the number of people each green carried. Make them closer to 50kg than 50lbs, and they'd still be manageable by a single person, just not wearable.
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Old Jan 7 2013, 06:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

In the DLGOP is stated, that modern greens grow to between twenty to twenty-five meters in length, blues twenty-five to thirty, browns from thirty to thirty-five and bronzes from thirty-five to thirty-eight. Golds are from thirty-eight to forty-two as a rule, but Ramoth was closer to forty-five meters long (or about the size of a jet plane). I cannot begin to imagine wath there weight is.. But if they can carry as mutch they think they can,cann't there weight be is mutch as they think it is?
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Old Jan 7 2013, 06:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

The meters figure in the DLG is wrong, isn't it? Didn't Anne confirm that that was a goof?

(That said, the same values in units of feet instead aren't quite right either. It's okay for the early passes, but not for the 9th-pass giants...)
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Old Jan 7 2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

The book also says, that the original dragons were ten to twelve feet long, and about sixteen to eighteen hands high at the shoulder. There is also a picture of a bronze rider who leans against the hind legs of his dragon. If you turn the rider to a horizontal position, he can lay on his dragon's foot!!
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Old Jan 7 2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

I don't think we can rely on the DLG at all for this stuff. Dragons are clearly meant to be measured in feet, not meters. And I don't feel like reopening the debate on that one: the fandom has gone 'round and 'round for decades, and if at this point you're not convinced it was ALWAYS feet and not meters, then that's your choice. It is not canonically correct, but it is your choice.

I don't think that 9th Pass greens can be very much larger than Ruth, since there was the expectation that Ruth could fly them. And as Mara points out, Ruth being roughly the size of Carenath means we have a pretty good estimate for how large Ruth is: about twelve feet long, and about six foot at the shoulder. (There is a point in AtW in which Ruth betweens directly into Jaxom's apartments in Ruatha and it's noted he does so safely though he knocks over a bit of furniture. This seems reasonable given that he's horse-sized and the clear master of teleportation amongst dragonkind.)

The roughly 700 lb weight of a green dragon is consistent both with cutting edge paleontology research into how large pterodactyls flew (the closest model we're going to get on Earth!) AND with what detail we're given about their eating habits. 10% of 750 lbs or so is 75 lb a day, 225 lbs every three days. Or about three large wherries, or two goats and a wherry. I outlined the math I've been using for that in this thread.

That number is consistent with depictions of Ruth's feedings in the books, though not with Carenath. I'm inclined to throw that scene in DDawn out, since a bronze dragon the size of Ruth shouldn't be eating a whole cow. I'm sure we must get a depiction of Zaranth's feeding at some point in Skies.

On the plus side, for those of you who like the dragons having latent TK, they largely don't need it to fly but do need it to fly with passengers and cargo. Which neatly makes both Sean's position that the dragons shouldn't be overburdened correct - AND allows for them to lift giant spaceship engines to another planet.
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Old Jan 7 2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

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Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
I don't think that 9th Pass greens can be very much larger than Ruth, since there was the expectation that Ruth could fly them.
Are you going to apply the same argument to Canth and Wirenth then? Or even Mnementh and Ramoth, or any other gold/male pair...? Ruth might indeed be fairly close to a green in size, or he might not, but that particular argument doesn't hold any water whatsoever.

Quote:
The roughly 700 lb weight of a green dragon is consistent both with cutting edge paleontology research into how large pterodactyls flew (the closest model we're going to get on Earth!) AND with what detail we're given about their eating habits.
That may be so, but a pterodactyl isn't built with a torso and extra limbs that are larger in every dimension than a horse (except for the forelegs, which are a fairly minimal fraction of the total mass). The shape and build are completely different, and where a pterodactyl of that mass is optimised for flight, any creature the size and shape of Carenath is going to mass considerably more than a horse of the same height at the withers, for the reasons I outlined. You can counter the mass with TK or extra strength and power and lift from the wings, but you're not going to dispose of that extra soft-tissue mass ab initio.

Quote:
That number is consistent with depictions of Ruth's feedings in the books, though not with Carenath. I'm inclined to throw that scene in DDawn out, since a bronze dragon the size of Ruth shouldn't be eating a whole cow.
Um, why not? Mammalian predators gorge themselves on not disproportionate meals, and the dragons have the extra energy expenditure of TK and flight and betweening to fuel.

Quote:
On the plus side, for those of you who like the dragons having latent TK, they largely don't need it to fly but do need it to fly with passengers and cargo. Which neatly makes both Sean's position that the dragons shouldn't be overburdened correct - AND allows for them to lift giant spaceship engines to another planet.
That, I can agree with. One thing I do wonder is how it's applied. For a horse to safely bear a load, you need to think of the stress to the body, and the points at which the weight acts. Carrying two extra passengers on your back is very different to having a well-balanced, distributed load strapped evenly to other parts of the anatomy.
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Old Jan 7 2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

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I'm sure we must get a depiction of Zaranth's feeding at some point in Skies.
There is, right at the end of Part One, when they're called to repel felines from Cardiff Hold. Zaranth kills and eats two felines in the end, and the remainder of the wing from Monaco Bay have to make do with one each.
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Old Jan 8 2013, 05:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Are you going to apply the same argument to Canth and Wirenth then? Or even Mnementh and Ramoth, or any other gold/male pair...? Ruth might indeed be fairly close to a green in size, or he might not, but that particular argument doesn't hold any water whatsoever.
Yes, since the Pernese clearly are doing the same in that instance. They're used to the smaller bronze and brown males chasing the queens, even though greens are chased by proportionally larger males (blues and browns). And much is made by them about size equaling staying power in the chase. So clearly, Ruth must not be so small that the Pernese assumed he would be capable of chasing, if not catching, a green.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath View Post
That may be so, but a pterodactyl isn't built with a torso and extra limbs that are larger in every dimension than a horse (except for the forelegs, which are a fairly minimal fraction of the total mass). The shape and build are completely different, and where a pterodactyl of that mass is optimised for flight, any creature the size and shape of Carenath is going to mass considerably more than a horse of the same height at the withers, for the reasons I outlined. You can counter the mass with TK or extra strength and power and lift from the wings, but you're not going to dispose of that extra soft-tissue mass ab initio.
Horses are a terrible model for dragons metabolically, and thus terrible models weight-wise. They're mammalian, land-bound herbivores. Dragons are warm-blooded, carnivorous egg layers and adapted for flight by evolutionary virtue of their ancestors, firelizards. They have lighter bone structure on a planet with slightly lower gravity. They're not carrying around large guts for digestion as horses do, because they eat meat - which is vastly more efficient. They're also not gestating for eleven months and then nursing for another year and a half. Horses don't power themselves flight. Dragons do; which means that like birds and bats, a large amount of the food consumed is going to be immediately expended to power flight and less stored as fat. (Which they can't afford to be carrying around anyway: fat dragons aren't going to be efficient fliers.)

Dragons pay for two expensive adaptations: (really) big brains and flight. They do this in part by eating meat, which means they need to spend a lot less on guts than horses do, and by being egg-layers who don't nurse. There's also ample evidence that when possible, they cheat on endothermy by basking in the sun.

Honestly, aside from the fact that McCaffrey says the first dragons are horse-sized and they carry riders, the two creatures have nothing in common, whereas large pterosaurs are evolutionary convergent enough to make reasonable models. (Save for the pesky bit of extinction.)

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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Um, why not? Mammalian predators gorge themselves on not disproportionate meals, and the dragons have the extra energy expenditure of TK and flight and betweening to fuel.
Tigers and other large carnivorous mammals may gorge themselves on lots of food, but they don't eat their entire body mass in one sitting. Their metabolism isn't fast enough; their stomachs would rupture and explode. The average cow is about 1000 lbs. In order for Carenath to eat a cow without dying, he'd have to be many times larger: two tons, maybe. There isn't any available evidence to say that he does weigh that much, and lots of circumstantial evidence and literary comparisons to suggest he doesn't.

(Carenath is roughly the size of Ruth. Both are horse sized. Yet there's concern in the First Pass that Carenath can't lift his rider and as well as heavy loads. We see that AIVAS, who would have the best information due to being scientifically minded, privy to the initial engineering reports, and having a vested interest in knowing, thinks that a green dragon shouldn't be able to lift more than three humans and a couple of O2 tanks.)

I think the best work-around for the scene of Carenath eating a cow would be if either McCaffrey said herdbeast. (In which case, maybe it can be a goat or a llama or something.) Or to assume Carenath left a lot on the field.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Almaron
There is, right at the end of Part One, when they're called to repel felines from Cardiff Hold. Zaranth kills and eats two felines in the end, and the remainder of the wing from Monaco Bay have to make do with one each.
Awesome. It's too bad the big cats are described so inconsistently in the books. I'll be relatively conservative and assume these represent lions, and that most killed are the females of the pride. About 250 pounds each, 500 lbs. Shouldn't really be possible for her, but perhaps Zaranth is a bigger green (I believe it's mentioned she is) and the two selected by AIVAS might be on the smaller end. Equally likely, the Pernese big cats could weigh less than a lioness.

I also feel like pointing out that smaller, feet-sized dragons that don't weigh very much are far more likely to be seen by big cats as potential prey than the meters-sized, sixteen ton beasts. The danger to the dragons seems far more reasonable, since lions are well capable of taking down even full-sized elephants in the right circumstances.
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Old Jan 8 2013, 07:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

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Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
Yes, since the Pernese clearly are doing the same in that instance. They're used to the smaller bronze and brown males chasing the queens, even though greens are chased by proportionally larger males (blues and browns). And much is made by them about size equaling staying power in the chase. So clearly, Ruth must not be so small that the Pernese assumed he would be capable of chasing, if not catching, a green.
But you said (or at least implied, going by your wording - if this wasn't what you meant, you need to re-phrase) that BECAUSE Ruth was believed to be capable of flying a green, he COULDN'T be that much smaller in size. That's completely illogical, given that significantly smaller browns and bronzes can catch much larger queens. You've also overlooked the fact that blues and browns have an advantage over bronzes when it comes to flying queens, because the smaller size of the lighter males gives them better manoeuvrability than the bronzes, enabling them to match a green's twists and turns more easily. Ruth is known to be a particularly artful flyer, and it's that skill - which is enhanced by his small size - which gives him a particular advantage should he care to chase down a green. If anything, the fact that Ruth knows he can outfly any green he chooses is an argument in favour of him being smaller rather than larger.

Quote:
Horses are a terrible model for dragons metabolically.#
Yes.

Quote:
and thus terrible models weight-wise.
Not necessarily. You're still dealing with most of the creature's weight in a roughly cylindrical lump of lean flesh.
Quote:
They're mammalian, land-bound herbivores. Dragons are warm-blooded, carnivorous egg layers and adapted for flight by evolutionary virtue of their ancestors, firelizards. They have lighter bone structure on a planet with slightly lower gravity. They're not carrying around large guts for digestion as horses do, because they eat meat - which is vastly more efficient. They're also not gestating for eleven months and then nursing for another year and a half. Horses don't power themselves flight. Dragons do; which means that like birds and bats, a large amount of the food consumed is going to be immediately expended to power flight and less stored as fat. (Which they can't afford to be carrying around anyway: fat dragons aren't going to be efficient fliers.)
I completely agree, but you've (partially) weakened your own argument here. Muscle masses more than fat, and dragons are going to be leaner than horses. The dragons lose mass by virtue of having more efficient guts (good catch for pointing that out, btw)... but guts aren't the majority of an animal's mass. A large tiger still masses 600lbs, and none of that comes in the form of extra digestive capacity, does it? So, what are we left with? Carenath still has a larger torso than Cricket, even without the guts. You can argue that lung capacity is greater for the dragons, but so too is the musculature involved in flight. Extra oxygen capacity in the lungs is balanced by a cardiovascular system transporting oxygen to the muscles, and a greater volume of muscle mass to USE the extra oxygen supplied. What the dragon gains in 'empty' volume inside that larger torso, he loses by virtue of a more massive musculature overall.

Quote:
Dragons pay for two expensive adaptations: (really) big brains and flight. They do this in part by eating meat, which means they need to spend a lot less on guts than horses do, and by being egg-layers who don't nurse. There's also ample evidence that when possible, they cheat on endothermy by basking in the sun.

Honestly, aside from the fact that McCaffrey says the first dragons are horse-sized and they carry riders, the two creatures have nothing in common, whereas large pterosaurs are evolutionary convergent enough to make reasonable models. (Save for the pesky bit of extinction.)
Yes, there is that!


Quote:
Tigers and other large carnivorous mammals may gorge themselves on lots of food, but they don't eat their entire body mass in one sitting. Their metabolism isn't fast enough; their stomachs would rupture and explode. The average cow is about 1000 lbs. In order for Carenath to eat a cow without dying, he'd have to be many times larger: two tons, maybe.
As you said, Carenath is neither a horse nor a tiger... but canon repeatedly shows the dragons on a gorge/rest feeding cycle. However their metabolism works, they're not grazers when it comes to meals.

Quote:
There isn't any available evidence to say that he does weigh that much, and lots of circumstantial evidence and literary comparisons to suggest he doesn't.
I don't think it's as clear cut as you're trying to suggest. I'm a physicist, so I do have a habit of reducing things to the simplest possible models - that's thanks to all those exams questions where the first step is to assume a spherical dinosaur made entirely of water - which is why I keep bringing things back to cylinders of muscle tissue. We have consistent descriptions of a dragon's volume relative to horses, and we know that that volume can be simplified down to muscle tissue+lungs. It's only a first approximation, but a detailed model doesn't ever diverge all that far from the simplest first-order construction.

For the same volume body, let's try a quick dragon/horse comparison. Air capacity of the lungs is perhaps 20% of a horse's torso, leaving 80% for bones and soft tissue. Maybe we could up-scale that to 40% for a dragon, leaving only 60% for a dragon, giving a 4:3 ratio for mass in the same volume. A 500kg horse, a 375kg dragon. Bones are about 15% of the mass in a horse, and maybe as little as 5% for a flightworthy animal, so we can shed another 10% of the dragon's mass in the form of lighter bones. Now we're down to 340kg, and not too far off your 700lb figure, but we still need to factor in those thunder-thighs, wings, tail and neck, and the enormous musculature of the chest...and you're not going to get a lot of change out of 400kg. There's only so much you can physically remove or account for in terms of chemical composition. Tissue is massive, and foamy bones and large lungs and limited guts only go so far. Pterosaurs are a great model, but they're gliders (IIRC) rather than jumpers, and they have very different proportions to the canon descriptions of dragons.

Quote:
(Carenath is roughly the size of Ruth. Both are horse sized. Yet there's concern in the First Pass that Carenath can't lift his rider and as well as heavy loads. We see that AIVAS, who would have the best information due to being scientifically minded, privy to the initial engineering reports, and having a vested interest in knowing, thinks that a green dragon shouldn't be able to lift more than three humans and a couple of O2 tanks.)
There's another factor here which you've not accounted for. A very, VERY important one. Carenath is still VERY young, and physiologically immature. He hasn't finished growing and developing, and a load which can be safely borne by a mature animal isn't one you'd force a younger beast to carry, particularly not when the survival of your whole society depends on the long-term flying capabilities of said animal.

Carenath has to take care because he was young. We still have the greens with three passengers and two tanks, but if the dragons are closer to my 400kg than your 300kg, that's not all that problematic. Just make the tanks bigger, and remember that these are Smiths that we're taking about. Jancis may not be burly, but if Fandarel's not more than 120kg all on his own then I'll drink Smithcraft Klah. It all still hangs together, just a third more massive than your own model.

Really, that's not a heck of a lot to be quibbling over.


Quote:
I also feel like pointing out that smaller, feet-sized dragons that don't weigh very much are far more likely to be seen by big cats as potential prey than the meters-sized, sixteen ton beasts. The danger to the dragons seems far more reasonable, since lions are well capable of taking down even full-sized elephants in the right circumstances.
Well, I certainly don't believe in the meter-scaled dragons! When I said that the feet measurements weren't right for the ninth pass dragons up-thread, I should have clarified: that doesn't mean I think the 9th-passers are on the meter-scale. Every other time I've seen this discussed in fandom the consensus for the 9th pass has been that the 9th pass dragons are bigger than the feet-values, but still way smaller than the meter-scaled values described in the DLG. That's pretty much what I think myself, and all I meant.
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Old Jan 12 2013, 02:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

I've been sick and doing home reno, so pardon my belated reply: yes, 100kgs is not much to quibble over. It's still well under the tonnage that most of fandom assumes the dragons weigh. (Though I'd argue that since there's only one Fandarel, Jancis probably makes it roughly even in weight burden.)

All pterodactyls were active launchers, though you're right that the bigger species (probably) were gliders rather than active flappers. This is where they don't model well with our dragons: pterodactyls used their front wing limbs as the main launching force.

(http://youtu.be/ALziqtuLxBQ)

Science still hasn't figured out this whole six-limbed take-off stuff, alas. I would suggest that we start assuming dragons DO use their forelimbs in launch, even if only for a slight push, since it relieves some of the burden on the hindlegs. It's too bad that the Pernese dragons are almost consistently depicted as keeping wings off the ground, too.
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Old Jan 14 2013, 11:00 PM   #12
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I'll drink Smithcraft Klah.
I see you feel that strongly about your logic. That or you take your coffee in thick slices.
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Old Jan 21 2013, 08:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: How much do dragons weigh?

Also, what kind of cow were we talking about? Anything from a Dexter, at an adult weight of 300-350kg or a Kerry at 350-450kg to one of the more massive beef breeds? Small, hardy and ancient breeds of cattle would make sense in the kind of survivalist colony that Pern was planned to be.
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Old Jan 22 2013, 08:43 AM   #14
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While a horse certainly isn't built to fly, a good 15 hand high Quarter Horse will weigh between 500 and 700 kilograms (1102 to 1543 pound) and is usually about 6 -7 foot long for the rug (wither to tail) so I'd expect a good 30 foot long dragon would probably weigh in the same-ish range, to some extent.

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Old Jan 27 2013, 11:31 PM   #15
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What I can get from all of this is that a dragon weighs as much as it wants too!!!
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Old Jan 28 2013, 01:53 AM   #16
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yes!
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Old Jan 28 2013, 12:23 PM   #17
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I don't think there is a scale big enough to weight them.
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Old Jan 28 2013, 04:43 PM   #18
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Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Weyr Watchers (tm)! I can see a few new faces in the crowd tonight, and it's lovely to have you here, and I'm sure we'll be seeing less of you as the weeks go on, and that everyone will make you feel very welcome.

Now, we've finished the weigh-ins, and I'm pleased to announce that there are some certificates to hand out! Isn't that wonderful? Not that you haven't all done marvellously, because you have, but it's worth giving credit where credits due.

First of all... JORA! Yes, our very own Weyrwoman has lost ten whole pounds since the last meeting, and we applaud her as our slimmer-of-the-sevenday. Jora? Don't be shy, we can all see you anyway, so there's no point hiding. There you go, love, have a certificate.

Now then, now then... I think we've got some even better news from R'gul! No more paunch, no more love handles, the scales don't lie - you've hit your 25% weight loss target, haven't you? Come on up!

No? Well get K'net to help you then, and stop staggering! You've not been at the Benden white, have you? There's a good reason why our visiting Masterharper didn't reach his goal this week, and I tell you what, it's not Felena's cooking! Hang on, where did your other le...oh. Oh dear. Well, that's thread for you.

Perhaps we'd better move on. Now, we all know the importance of exercise when it comes to weight loss, and F'lessan has come up with some great new ideas for those dragons who've been over-doing it a bit on the wherries. Felines! They taste like shit - that's carnivores for you - so you know you won't gorge, and if you linger too long at the table, well, let's just say you won't want to do that. And we've also got Tai here, come on up, lovely Tai, that's it, right at the front so we don't have to stare at that dreadful mullet, and tell us all about TK! You say a dragon can pick things up with their mind, yes? Move them around as if they weigh less than they do?

And you already spoke to Jora did you, earlier, you say? Nemorth too?
Jora? Got something you'd like to share with us?

Honestly, I don't know why I bother.
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Old Jan 29 2013, 09:38 AM   #19
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Old Jan 29 2013, 10:43 AM   #20
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Weigh to go!
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Old Jan 29 2013, 11:20 PM   #21
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Nice post Kath
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Old Jul 2 2017, 04:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
I don't think that 9th Pass greens can be very much larger than Ruth, since there was the expectation that Ruth could fly them. And as Mara points out, Ruth being roughly the size of Carenath means we have a pretty good estimate for how large Ruth is: about twelve feet long, and about six foot at the shoulder. (There is a point in AtW in which Ruth betweens directly into Jaxom's apartments in Ruatha and it's noted he does so safely though he knocks over a bit of furniture. This seems reasonable given that he's horse-sized and the clear master of teleportation amongst dragonkind.)
To be fair, Ruth was also considered to be an exceptional flyer, and consistently outflew greens casually racing. And to answer both this and someone further downthread's comments about Canth and Wirenth...Canth also was an exceptional specimen, and in the end, the female dragon *wants* to be caught and *will* be caught, even if it means simply allowing it....I can't think of a single example, canon or even fanfic, of a female dragon refusing to be caught entirely once mating instinct has taken over. Even if a single suitor chasing, even if one who can't properly catch her and has to be "allowed" to win...she's going to eventually let a male have her once she decides she's had enough.

You realistically think they won't arrange it so Golanth catches Zaranth, in spite of his issues? A conveniently timed trip where there are no other males and even an old or wounded dragon will keep his green due to that instinct to be caught in the end.

None of the times a female dragon chose to go Between from a mating flight were because there wasn't a male who could catch her.

Also, one of the editions of First Fall had a very good cover illustration of an early bronze and his rider...I don't remember if it was Sean and Carenath, or M'hall and Brianth, or someone else entirely, but the bronze couldn't have been more than second, third generation at most, and to me he looked SMALLER than Ruth on ATWoP. Considerably so...
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