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Old May 2 2005, 09:55 AM   #1
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Default After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

After Thread is removed from threatening Pern at the end of the Ninth Pass, how low will the dragon population go before it levels out? As the queens will stop rising so frequently, and produce smaller clutches, then its undoubted that the number of dragons WILL fall. However, there is also the issue of lack of deaths through fighting Thread. But I don't think that this will in any way remove the dent in the population.

Here I am talking about after all the dragonriders who fought Thread have gone between and so a 'natural' or 'normal' level will have been reached.

Do you think that there will still be enough dragons to fill all the Weyrs (despite them being unlikely to be - at least fully - occupated full time)?

Will the number of dragons reach a plateau as low as during a normal Interval (or a Long one), or will it fall lower, as Thread is not coming back?

ok, I think I've written enough now for you to get my idea!

(also posted NKT )
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Old May 2 2005, 12:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

not sure...
if they have a role the population could remain at interval level.
No role... possibly v few dragons!
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Old May 2 2005, 02:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

I think that the numbers would fall lower then Pern has ever seen them. Sure there would still be a need and a want for the dragons and their riders but I think without the issue of thread the numbers would go way down. In my humble point of view I don't even see the number reaching a full weyr full of dragons. With the dragon population I can also see a rise and fall in the numbers just as with any human population, just never as high as the numbers needed to fly a pass of thread.
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Old May 2 2005, 03:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Dragons and their riders have a 3 fold role on pern post thread.

1, Transport remember that the dragons were originally designed to replace the failing sleds. So I can see some taxi type fee support system continuing. I can see some type of barter system begining under contract so much goods so many rides or so much goods to have a candidate stand on the sands.

2, Pern wide police type activities just as they always have sort of support the rights of the people under the charter.

3, This is put forth in SOP dragons can be effective metor protection.
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Old May 2 2005, 03:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

I suppose that eventually (after a few centuries) they'll be down to the number that Benden Weyr had at the end of the Second Long Interval...

The queens will produce smaller and smaller clutches but since we will end the Ninth Pass at highest point of dragon population it'll take quite some time for the numbers to dwindle.
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Old May 2 2005, 05:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

I think that there is a level at which the dragon population will plateau. Probably somewhere between a normal Interval level and the population before Weyrs came forward. I am no biologist, but there is a natural level for all animals. Just because there is no more Thread does not mean that there will be no more dragons. It is possible that the normal Interval level is around about the natural level as after a century or so, then there will be little real requirement for more dragons, ar least for a while.

Dragons are still natural, however they have been genetically manipulated, and will still behave in a natural manner, expanding and contracting as to the number of them that can be supported. Thread just meant that they had an extra impetus to breed more, to fulfill their natural - and genetically enhanced - job, which actually gave them artifically high numbers, which can explain why they drop off so much after a Pass.

I don't actually know precisaely where I am going here, but I do think that there is a natural level for the number of dragons, with a guesstimate of somewhere around 3-4 Weyrs, though with the Southern Continent also open, then there would be more room (and food) available....
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Old May 2 2005, 06:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

I always had the thought in the back of my mind that, since dragons were created for the purpose of destroying thread and they grew larger and larger over time towards that end, it is possible that, with their purpose removed, they may dwindle away. This thought was made more likely because of the way AIVAS shut down after fulfilling it's purpose. Animals the size of dragons take a lot of feeding and care. A scientist cold enough to create an animal as a weapon might well have programed it to cease to be once the enemy it was designed to fight ceased.

Some dragons are happy to make people happy and could therefore prosper as burden beasts but others would not enjoy that role. I also think most of them would become very bored with year upon year of skywatching.

I was actually sorry that F'lar managed to see his great goal accomplished because I hate the idea of Pern without dragons!
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Old May 3 2005, 12:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Even with their main purpose accomplished, I don't think Pern will ever be without dragons. I don't think they'll ever get bored, taking care of a dragon is a full time job even without Thread. I think it'll be relaxing for them without so much jumping into danger every week. I don't even think they're numbers will drop TOO much. I hold to the beleive that only the ingestion of firestone causes green sterility, so without firestone they can reproduce. Byt without Thread anymore, they will not mate as often and they'll probably keep at a level number without Pern overflowing with greens. And with more dragons from green clutches, the average size of dragons will probably decrease.
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Old May 3 2005, 02:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

There's absolutely no reason to assume that dragons would become extinct one day, even though they were specifically bred for fighting Thread. As C_ris said they are animals and they will breed. As I said earlier though we'll go back to small, very small clutches over the Turns; maybe we'll end up with a handful of queens laying between 1 and 5 dragons per clutch (re clutches Jora had prior to the start of the Ninth Pass) eventually. The question is how long it will take for the dragon population to reach some sort of stable base. I think we all agree upon the fact that the population will shrink drastically.
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Old May 3 2005, 05:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

i agree. they dragons wount cease to exist just beacise thier primary job is done. perhaps they will adapt a little, or fibd some new talent. Who knows?
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Old May 4 2005, 08:31 AM   #11
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Another thing to look at is how restless the dragons may get since one of their main purposes is to flame thread, and with no thread to flame what else can they do with their flame? Surely with thread gone, there will be much more growth in trees and bush etc, and there is the possibility of firefighters, and breathing fire to stop fire (you know, how firefighters set fires in certain places)
But remember when Mnementh used to say to F'lar when F'lar wasn't so sure thread would come, about how he was /meant/ to flame thread! Mnementh just /knew/ it, wouldn't future dragons just /know/ that they should be flaming?

Spiff, I don't believe that the green's ability to reproduce has anything to do with firestone, since in intervals, surely they wouldn't have such an urgent need to train dragons as young as they do in a pass, and therefore, it's possible, that they start training later in a green's life, perhaps even after she has first risen to mate for the first time? I wonder if Kitti Ping would have known how the green firelizards were not as good mothers as golds, and quite often their clutches were only small, producing mostly the lower colours, and therefore decided to remove their ability to reproduce at all, because they would produce smaller clutches, meaning smaller dragons, when the weyrs needed bigger and bigger dragons.
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Old May 4 2005, 08:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax
Another thing to look at is how restless the dragons may get since one of their main purposes is to flame thread, and with no thread to flame what else can they do with their flame? Surely with thread gone, there will be much more growth in trees and bush etc, and there is the possibility of firefighters, and breathing fire to stop fire (you know, how firefighters set fires in certain places)
But remember when Mnementh used to say to F'lar when F'lar wasn't so sure thread would come, about how he was /meant/ to flame thread! Mnementh just /knew/ it, wouldn't future dragons just /know/ that they should be flaming?

Spiff, I don't believe that the green's ability to reproduce has anything to do with firestone, since in intervals, surely they wouldn't have such an urgent need to train dragons as young as they do in a pass, and therefore, it's possible, that they start training later in a green's life, perhaps even after she has first risen to mate for the first time? I wonder if Kitti Ping would have known how the green firelizards were not as good mothers as golds, and quite often their clutches were only small, producing mostly the lower colours, and therefore decided to remove their ability to reproduce at all, because they would produce smaller clutches, meaning smaller dragons, when the weyrs needed bigger and bigger dragons.
That's true about the intervals... but I don't see why Kitti would go out of her way to eliminate the greens ability to reproduce completely. In my opinion she introduced a genetic marker to trigger infertility from ingestion of firestone. Queens can easily become few, and if greens are inherently sterile then that makes the species more vulnerable. I'd think that greens would be a backup for stocking up more numbers in case they became dangerously low. And as you said, dragons just have that instinct to flame, even if it isn't really necessary at the time. So in an interval most dragons would probably still chew firestone anyway, although not nearly as frequently.
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Old May 4 2005, 08:48 AM   #13
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

If that were the case, noone on Pern knows about it, has ever mentioned it or whatever. And we can't forget how dire the situatoin was when Jora and Nemorth were the last, (dead?) when Ramoth's egg was laid, the last golden egg, yes I know that by that time all the current greens would have chewed firestone by then, but what about any greens that may have hatched at that particular hatching?

Surely at least one green dragon, in the 2500 odd years that dragons have been around, would have risen to mate before chewing firestone, and they would have found out about it?
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Old May 4 2005, 10:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

In Intervals it is likely that firestone is not chewed as often - but the problem sfor me with the whole theory that if greens don't chew firestone then they are fertile are that:

1. In 2,500 years then one green dragon should have been able to rise without chewing firestone first

2. If firestone makes dragons infertile, then how come it doesn't affect the male dragons? There were no greens in the first hatching, so this genetic problem would have had to be passed down from a gold or bronze or brown. And the golds can't chew firestone, and the males are still fertile afterwards!

I think that Kitti Ping was being 'cultural' with her enginering, and so made it that females can't both breed and fight. It can explain why the golds can't chew firestone, because they are the breeders, and how the greens are not fertile because they fight - and having a pregnant dragon in a fighting wing would not bode well. Historically, warrier women have rarely been mothers, generally because they can't fight whilst preganant, and because they are often not the 'mothering type'.
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Old May 4 2005, 10:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Ok as to the original question, some people have been saying that the amount of dragons will decrease, because their activity will decrease. But in reality, as some have mentioned, a carrier service would actually keep them rather busy. With thread gone, all the people of Pern will have the chance to strike out on their own, not being limited to living in caves anymore (though I'm sure there will be many who are too agoraphobic after living so long in the caves that they won't want to leave).
So, the people of Pern wil spread out, the dragons and dragonriders of Pern will spread out, each making their own place to live, before, during times of thread, not many dragons were available for conveyance, there were people who'd not ever seen a dragon even, but now, with dragons readily available, more people would have access.
Granted, that with the dragons spread out, any mating flights would have less selection but that doesn't mean that the mating flights aren't going to go as long as they used to, producing a reasonable sized clutch.
Especially now, with thread gone, I believe /anyone/ would die for the chance to be a candidate, to have easy access to the whole continent, but I think the weyrs will still be a main base for all dragons, as they still need to learn the basics, like flying between and care of your dragon, learning to go between to places you've never seen before there will still need to be weyrleaders to oversee this type of thing, or perhaps become Mastercraftsmen for deilvery or whatnot.
(Sorry I do seem to be rambling, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going here)

And I'd like to point out the fact that with approximately 3000 dragons currently in action during threadfall that is not a large amount for any given species on a world! If there was an animal on Earth with that number left, they would be considered endangered! With all of the Southern Continent to expand into, I believe that the species might even stay at that average number, just more spread out over the whole planet, perhaps even more!

Hmmm, I'll leave it at that for now as my mind's drawn a blank.
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Old May 4 2005, 09:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

But note: Pern is much less species-diverse than Earth (discounting the unknowns in the sea). And, none of Earth's giant animals are predators! 3000 of a species doesn't seem like much, but when they're 3000 animals all as big or bigger than elephants, and carnivorous to boot, it's not such a small number any more. It would be like having a planet full of double-sized T-rexes, only with no other dinosaurs around.

Re: the firestone thing. Now, personally, I think Kitti probably just shut the greens' fertility off. It seems easier than engineering a trigger from firestone into THAT ONE COLOR, leaving all the others untouched. (The reason, c_ris, that it doesn't affect the other colors as a trigger is that while the bronzes and browns carry the DNA to make a green, they aren't green themselves. Presumably Kitti's trigger requires the half of the genes supplied by the queen, like many traits in human DNA.) However, I can see the argument for not making it absolutely foolproof--putting ALL your eggs in one golden basket, the rarest color, is rather risky.

But that brings us back to human curiosity--NO ONE was ever desperate enough/curious enough to wait until after a green's first flight to give them firestone? Ever? In 2500 years? When we know of at least two occasions (if you count DB) where the population was dangerously low? Given what he was about to face with Thread, F'lar's cavalier "We'd be up to our ears in green dragons" seems awfully flippant. Given how much of Pern he had to protect with so few, wouldn't even green dragons be a bonus? After all, Ramoth could only breed so fast, and even if the Southern Experiment had worked it was going to take time.
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Old May 5 2005, 03:29 AM   #17
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth
But note: Pern is much less species-diverse than Earth (discounting the unknowns in the sea). And, none of Earth's giant animals are predators! 3000 of a species doesn't seem like much, but when they're 3000 animals all as big or bigger than elephants, and carnivorous to boot, it's not such a small number any more. It would be like having a planet full of double-sized T-rexes, only with no other dinosaurs around.
Ok, I'm sure this will be long and rambling again, but I just want to reiterate that I think that we are thinking too small. 3000 dragons is not a huge population for an entire planet, Crispy pointed out to me that Pern is a smaller planet, but I was thinking the Northern continent may be about the same size as say North America? (I don't have my Atlas here yet :p @ Cris)

Right, so if we go by the example of something on Earth that eats close to what a dragon would eat ok. So we'll say a Tiger for now, eats aroundabouts once a week, one animal, usually. And dragons eat 1-2 herdbeast or wherry a week when not fighting threadfall or between times-ing a lot? I looked up a few places on the internet and here http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/index.cfm it says that there are an estimated 5100 to 7500 tigers left in the world! Here http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/Tiger/diettiger.html it says that;
Quote:
"Kill frequency varies between tigers.
a. Researchers in Nepal found that female tigers without young killed every 8 to 8.5 days (42-45 kills per year). Researchers in India had similar findings.
b. Female tigers with two cubs ages six to ten months old killed every five to six days (61-73 kills per year)."
I can't remember how many sevendays there are in a Turn, but at the moment I'll just use 52 weeks in a year, so thats around 100 animals for one dragon, about 1/2 - 1/3 more per year than a Tiger. Ok now we deal with the idea that there's not enough room for herdbeasts to feed all these dragons, it makes it about 30,000 animals per year?

If you click on this link http://www.fas.usda.gov/dlp2/circula...0LP/sheep3.htm and scroll down to the sheep population in New Zealand after an El Nino drought, brought the sheep population in New Zealand down to 47 million! In New Zealand alone! New Zealand is only a small country, I believe that Pern which is much much many many more times larger than New Zealand, has the ability to sustain 3000 dragons and many more, especially now that thread is gone and no Herdsman has to worry about losing stock to thread.

Does that make sense to everyone? I hope it does!
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Old Sep 21 2005, 11:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

I am too cool for school
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Old Sep 22 2005, 04:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

We really don't know what a normal interval population is like. We only see Dragonflight, where the absence of the other Weyrs has increased Benden's decline, and Dragonseye, where the Weyrs are still trying to build up their numbers. Remember, queens have bigger clutches during a pass; without that urgency a clutch might not have more than a dozen eggs.
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Old Sep 22 2005, 05:31 PM   #20
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

In Moreta Sh'gall complains about the small size of Orlith's clutch and Moreta points out that 24(?) (the books the other side of the house) is a good size for so close to the end of a pass, especially with a queen egg.
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Old Sep 23 2005, 01:48 AM   #21
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

It may well be that the greens act like a woman with severe PMS on some berserker drug unless they're given firestone within a certain limit of time, to ensure that no green dragon ever rose to mate without being exposed to it first. That would still make it a possibility that the trigger would be left alone in case all the queens on Pern were dead, although of course it would be very unlikely, as the tradition of giving greens firestone would be so strong. Anne herself mentioned the firestone trigger in some e-mail or other.
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Old Sep 23 2005, 01:35 PM   #22
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Anne has contradicted herself enough times to keep the debate open.
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Old Sep 23 2005, 11:49 PM   #23
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by edith
In Moreta Sh'gall complains about the small size of Orlith's clutch and Moreta points out that 24(?) (the books the other side of the house) is a good size for so close to the end of a pass, especially with a queen egg.
It's Tolocamp who makes the snide remark and Capiam (or whassisname the Masterharper--Tirone? Harpers roll off me like water off a duck's back) who corrects him, and IIRC it's twenty-five eggs.

(What's Anareth's favorite Pern book? No prizes for guessing...)

And I agree with Spaceman Spiff--meteor watching? Good grief, what a yawner. Not many people are suited to the life of the astronomer, and this is even more specialized than that.
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Old Sep 25 2005, 09:30 AM   #24
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Default Re: After Thread - At what level will the number of dragons go to?

thanks for the correction!
brains gone all fuzzy! (as usual)
done a little asteroid watching at uni.
You take a light box stick a photo on top and using a hand lens look at everything on it in minute detail!
Horrible after a few hours!
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