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Varthikes
11-18-2008, 03:51 PM
At the moment in my WIP novel, the characters are trying to save the main dragon character's unhatched son, whose egg was cracked prematurely in a recent fight.

The suggestion was just put forth to put the pre-hatchling in an incubator (like the ones used for premature Human babies) set to simulate the egg's environment. When the main character asks if this could really work, the doctor answers that he doesn't see why it couldn't and adds, "...the only difference between your developing infants and ours is that yours are protected by a hardened shell instead of a muscular bag.”

That would be accurate, right? I just wanted to be sure.

Also, any suggestions that I could work in to help save the young dragon would be appreciated.

Thank you. :)

Albedo
11-18-2008, 04:22 PM
Well, the uterus is basically a muscular bag, so it is correct. But if you want to talk comparative biology then mammals and reptiles share an embryo covering called amnion, hence mammals and reptiles (and birds) are considered "Amniotes". From what I can recall, birds and reptiles lay down an additional layer over the amniotic sac, and this becomes the eggshell. Mammals obviously lack this outer layer and retain the embryo in the reproductive tract, so your doc might point out that reptiles have an extra covering. Someone will no doubt tell me if I'm wrong.

stephenf
11-18-2008, 05:59 PM
Human foetuses are connected to their mothers blood supply and receive everything they need to grow from the mother. But it is possible for premature baby's to survive with the help respirators and transfusions.Foetuses in eggs need to stay inside their eggs to develop.I don't think any body has bothered to keep a premature Chick alive,however it my possible to make a artificial egg, a big tank may be?

Smiling Ted
11-18-2008, 07:08 PM
While bird eggs have hard, brittle shells, reptile eggs usually have a tough, leathery outer layer. So the egg might not "crack," unless you make the specific decision that dragon eggs are avian, not reptilian.

Also, if the shell is broken the big concern won't be heat (which is what an incubator provides) but whether or not the egg is leaking fluid. It's the amniotic fluid inside the egg that the embryo needs to develop. If that is gone, it must be replenished somehow...

GeorgeK
11-18-2008, 07:41 PM
The biggest concern for cracked eggs are
1. Dehydration. Human incubators are not designed to have the humidity which is required for eggs. They probably make ostrich egg incubators. You might even be able to brush some rubber cement over the crack to seal it, but not if there's extensive damage because CO2 still needs to be able to diffuse out and O2 needs to be able to diffuse in.

2. Infection. You'd need a way to not only prevent bacteria from getting in, but probably more importantly molds.

3. Displaced shell fragments damaging the embryo. Relatively easy to address with a dot of superglue for a large egg probably a chop stick; very gently pull the depressed fragment back into allignment

Varthikes
11-19-2008, 02:28 AM
The story is set roughly 200 years from now, and the dragons, who are not of Earth themselves, are being helped by other aliens who are about another 50-or-so years ahead of us technologically, so I have some latitude.

The dragon eggs are leathery when they're first laid but harden over time.


Anyway, thanks for the advice everyone. :)

HeronW
11-22-2008, 09:41 PM
Depending on what the shell is made of--if it starts leathery and hardens--say due to calcium deposits moving from the inner to outer shell, then making a paste of ground eggshells mixed with gelatin--something non-toxic that will harden in air.