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Old Jul 30 2015, 09:46 PM   #1
CuriousFlit
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Default What affects which colors are laid?

So I've been wondering... I posted a comment in a thread about feral watchwhers, and how if the greens rose to mate as often as green dragons, you'd at least have a lot of blue and green whers despite their high egg mortality rate, but then I wondered what would happen if a brown or bronze caught a green. I read somewhere (a fan site I think) that brown dragons can't sire golds.

But I remembered hearing about the green dragon laying a gold egg, so I read the Sky Dragons plot on the Pern wiki and about the "green queen" (which interestedly enough, had a "brownish" eggshell color), and remembered that Todd said "it's a given" that greens will normally only lay blue and green eggs, but then I remembered something else from Dragonsdawn. So I looked on google books to find out what color the male was who flew the green that laid the gold egg, and if I'm reading it right, he was a brown.

That got me REALLY wondering... Did the greens only lay blue and green eggs before because they were caught by blues? Was being caught by a brown what triggered a gold egg in a green mother? Or was it simply the absence of any golds in so many mating cycles? Is it the mother who determines her offsprings' colors, or the father?

Todd had this to say on the matter: http://pernhome.com/tjm/?p=1059

Quote:
Dear Tracy,

Thank you for your letter.

In answer to your question — greens can only produce more greens and blues. The bronzes, browns, and gold are only produced by queens.

That said how-ev-errrrr, you might want to re-read Dragonsblood carefully. Or wait until Dragongirl gets out (Dragongirl is the sequel to Dragonheart). Or the sequel to Dragongirl.

Cheers,
Todd
Yet in Dragonsdawn, we get this comment during the First Hatching:

Quote:
"Kitti programmed the heavier males, but I believe they're to carry sperm for the entire range. The greens will be the smallest, the fighters; the blues sturdier, with more staying power; the browns sort of anchor fighters with even more endurance. They'll have to fight four to six hours, remember! The bronzes are the leaders and the golds . . ."
So what do you guys think?
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Old Jul 30 2015, 10:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Bronzes and browns can sire any color. This is canon per both the Dragonflight quote and in Chronicles of Pern: First Fall (Sorka makes no distinction between bronzes and browns when mentally considering avoiding too many repeat matings and sire-on-daughter/son-on-mother matings.) Golds can produce any color. The fact that longer, higher flights seem to be required to produce golds argues that the chances of producing a gold (and more bronzes) are increased by a longer mating time (more chances for some of the egg/sperm combinations to be the rarer ones that produce the metallics.) Even if greens could clutch, their low, fast flights and the fact they're mostly caught by blues (who don't have the size and stamina for long and high, either) means even if they do carry all the genes, which is never clarified, the odds are remote they'd conceive metallics or even many browns.

That's Anne-canon. Whatever Todd does is up to him, but to fit with the books Anne wrote, that's the way it appears to work.
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Old Jul 30 2015, 11:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Huh... Seems the characters in Sky Dragons are having the same debate on if the sire makes any difference in type of eggs laid. One makes the assumption that a greens eggs in a certain clutch are probably all greens and blues because the sire was a blue, and another asks if he'd been a bronze, would it have made any difference.

Page 76: https://books.google.com/books?id=_o...&q=egg&f=false
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Old Jul 31 2015, 11:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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Bronzes and browns can sire any color. This is canon per both the Dragonflight quote and in Chronicles of Pern: First Fall (Sorka makes no distinction between bronzes and browns when mentally considering avoiding too many repeat matings and sire-on-daughter/son-on-mother matings.) Golds can produce any color. The fact that longer, higher flights seem to be required to produce golds argues that the chances of producing a gold (and more bronzes) are increased by a longer mating time (more chances for some of the egg/sperm combinations to be the rarer ones that produce the metallics.) Even if greens could clutch, their low, fast flights and the fact they're mostly caught by blues (who don't have the size and stamina for long and high, either) means even if they do carry all the genes, which is never clarified, the odds are remote they'd conceive metallics or even many browns.

That's Anne-canon. Whatever Todd does is up to him, but to fit with the books Anne wrote, that's the way it appears to work.
I do agree that higher and longer flights produce more eggs, but that doesn't seem to be the only factor. Remember Ramoth's hatching? Her mother had a terrible flight by all accounts from her rider being scared of heights and the queen being fat from laziness. There were only ten eggs from that last flight. I can't remember though, were there any bronzes in that clutch?
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Old Jul 31 2015, 02:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Apart from Ramoth, there's no indication of any dragon-colours in that batch.
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Old Jul 31 2015, 02:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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Apart from Ramoth, there's no indication of any dragon-colours in that batch.
That's true, looking over that scene again. But it does look like they're all male except for Ramoth, unless I'm missing something.
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Old Jul 31 2015, 04:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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The fact that longer, higher flights seem to be required to produce golds argues that the chances of producing a gold (and more bronzes) are increased by a longer mating time (more chances for some of the egg/sperm combinations to be the rarer ones that produce the metallics.)
Prideth's first mating flight must have been a long one, she produced 14 bronzes out of 32 eggs
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Old Jul 31 2015, 05:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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That's true, looking over that scene again. But it does look like they're all male except for Ramoth, unless I'm missing something.
The very first draft of Pern, the bit that was the novella Weyrsearch, seems to have had golds as the only female dragons. Lytol's dead dragon is referred to as green and male. Female greens were in place by the time the novella got expanded into a full-sized novel, but if there's mention that Ramoth was the only female in her clutch, it's probably an uncorrected holdover from that earlier plan of dragon sexes.
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Old Jul 31 2015, 06:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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The very first draft of Pern, the bit that was the novella Weyrsearch, seems to have had golds as the only female dragons. Lytol's dead dragon is referred to as green and male. Female greens were in place by the time the novella got expanded into a full-sized novel, but if there's mention that Ramoth was the only female in her clutch, it's probably an uncorrected holdover from that earlier plan of dragon sexes.
They still haven't fixed that. It's even in versions of Dragonflight (and the three dragonrider book volume) as recent as 2002. I think his dragon was later rewritten as a brown in the other books.
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Old Jul 31 2015, 11:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Yes, Larth's brown, but in DF is both "green" and "he" (though in the second novella greens become female as F'lar laughs off the idea of greens clutched as terrible since they'd be "up to their ears in green dragons.")
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Old Aug 1 2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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F'lar laughs off the idea of greens clutched as terrible since they'd be "up to their ears in green dragons.")
Which isn't exactly the brightest position to take, given the dragonpower shortage F'lar was facing at the time. Long-term, he's right. Unrestricted green breeding would swamp the Pernese's ability to support the dragons or even supply candidates, even if the Holds had been on board with supporting the Weyr at the time. But, you know, if I only had one breeding female on hand and five Weyrs to repopulate on a short timeline, I'd maybe like a green clutch or two if I could get one.
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Old Aug 1 2015, 01:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Nope, thought the fact he didn't even TRY to me suggests it was pretty deeply established greens can't clutch, period (which, again, is the much easier thing for Kitti to have done as in general, especially during a normal Pass when breeding is peak, you wouldn't want uncontrolled amounts.)
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Old Aug 1 2015, 01:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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Nope, thought the fact he didn't even TRY to me suggests it was pretty deeply established greens can't clutch, period (which, again, is the much easier thing for Kitti to have done as in general, especially during a normal Pass when breeding is peak, you wouldn't want uncontrolled amounts.)
But WOULD it have been easier to create them sterile right off? Or even made sense? As for F'lar not even TRYING, I'm pretty sure that by the time Lessa suggested it, the greens they had were already chewing firestone. They start that training not long after learning to fly, if I remember right.
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Old Aug 1 2015, 02:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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by the time Lessa suggested it, the greens they had were already chewing firestone
It seems pretty unlikely that Lessa was the first person to ever have that idea. F'lar already had a reputation for radicalism (or radical conservatism, if you like, because ultimately he was trying to return the Weyr to the old ways). I would be shocked if he and F'nor had never come up with "What about the greens?" when they were sitting around with a bottle of something late at night, kicking around ideas about how they were going to take over the Weyr and save the world.

Plus, there was always Prideth's clutch, and the backtime breeding colony. That would've been an opportune time to try with two or three new greens. Maybe the greens chosen for the experiment wouldn't've been ready to joining the fighting wings when they got back -- but if sacrificing the fighting capacity of a few greens got you dozens more combat-ready dragons, even just dozens of combat-ready greens, then the correct choice is clear.

Remember what the alternative was, before Lessa hit on her own plan: Thread falls, everyone dies. The fact that a forward thinker like F'lar didn't even try breeding greens when the survival of everyone on Pern was at stake makes the original explanation the easiest. Greens were sterile, period.
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Old Aug 1 2015, 07:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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that brown dragons can't sire golds.
I think Sorka may had said something, or is that
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blue can't keep up with a queen
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Old Aug 2 2015, 10:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Pearldiver makes an excellent point--if they wanted to try they knew they'd for certain have greens in Pridith's clutch and years to spare downtime to try. They were desperate enough to try time travel that they ALREADY knew (both from Lessa and from seeing Future!F'nor come to warn them) was dangerous at best.

And consider the amount of 'tinkering' required--either shut off the ability to reproduce, period, or create a weird if/then/goto loop involving the consumption or lack therof of a chemical in a stone. And you have to do it secondhand because you aren't going to create any first-generation greens (Kitti specifically only creates "breeders"--golds, bronzes, and browns) by tinkering with the reproductive species of either the golds or the larger males to pass the on/off switch to her green offspring without affecting the queens' ability to clutch or the males' ability to sire offspring. Especially given the rush they were in to get viable eggs and growing dragons.
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Old Aug 4 2015, 12:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Hmmm.... Well, if you put it that way, could something have happened when Wind Blossom and the others working on the draconic plague cure in Dragonsblood altered the dragons genetics?
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Old Aug 4 2015, 11:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

No, because the Ninth Pass happens after that and the reasons F'lar would have tried are still valid. Heck, Moreta's time they might have thought of it and they have much less time to lose information. Basically, most of what Todd's done doesn't make sense with what Anne already wrote unless you think of it as some weird alternate-reality timeline that split off the main timeline and is in its own little world.
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Old Aug 5 2015, 04:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

I find it more reasonable to think that firestone never had anything to do with it in the first place. It was a false conclusion, where they looked at the fact that greens chew firestone and don't clutch, and queens don't chew firestone and do clutch, and assumed they were related. And then no queens ever tried to chew firestone because they wouldn't want to become sterile, so they never rediscovered that they can't process the stone, as shown in Dragonsdawn.
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Old Aug 5 2015, 11:17 PM   #20
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

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I find it more reasonable to think that firestone never had anything to do with it in the first place. It was a false conclusion, where they looked at the fact that greens chew firestone and don't clutch, and queens don't chew firestone and do clutch, and assumed they were related. And then no queens ever tried to chew firestone because they wouldn't want to become sterile, so they never rediscovered that they can't process the stone, as shown in Dragonsdawn.
Yep. It's a reasonable conclusion for them to draw by observation, but that doesn't mean it had to be right (especially since later eras, definitely past Moreta's time where at best they have a vague understanding that "the Healers" bred the dragons somehow but no more understanding than that, don't even know that genetic engineering was involved at all.) And DDawn shows that the queens can chew and swallow stone--they just vomit it instead of belching flame, and the implication is Kitti made them unable to flame to keep the breeders on the ground and away from Threadfall (that's the conclusion the First Riders draw as she's dead by then and can't say). Her aim was for queens not to fly Thread at all, which also suggests she knew they were the only breeders and being the rarest color, too valuable to risk. Which they wouldn't be if the greens could not only breed if left alone, but produce all colors themselves.
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Old Aug 16 2015, 01:47 PM   #21
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Have any of you older ones ever heard of the supposed letter from Anne talked about in this post?

http://www.annemccaffreyfans.org/for...hread.php?t=45

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Old 12th December 2004, 04:21 PM #1
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This was originally a thread on the old KTBB by Catalina. It's got a lot of info about the size and colours of dragons. Hopefully it will be as useful here as it was on the old site. FYI, I don't think the links work but that's something you can work on your selves.

[snip] . . .

This was taken from a letter written by ANNE and addresses the issue of green infertility:

What this means: Greens are programmed to be rendered infertile by firestone -- so their infertility is a mix of genetics and external conditions. That means that if they never chewed it, then yes, they'd probably be able to clutch, but Anne addresses why this is impractical.

Similarly, some people have speculated that the queens' regurgitation of firestone in Dragonsdawn is a failsafe programmed into the queens to prevent their infertility -- that, or there's simply no chance that firestone can render them infertile, and their bodies simply reject it as useless. In either case, it's programming, not accident, that makes queens the egg-layers and greens the fighters.
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Old Aug 20 2015, 04:21 PM   #22
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Default Re: What affects which colors are laid?

Greens may only produce five or six eggs per clutch. Greens don't guard their clutches. Golds would probably drive a clutching Green away for several reasons: fewer eggs to guard (i.e. only her clutch); having unguarded eggs some distance from the Gold's clutch will tend to keep predators away from her clutch; territorial urges are common in reptiles.
The modern Golds would probably not allow a Green to drop a clutch on her/their Hatching Ground.
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