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I actually have a couple of questions here.

My dragon is very small, just about 3 meters long from beak to tailtip, 20 kilograms, with a 5 meter wingspan. A bit like a velociraptor-sized Rahonavis. Mating among her species usually takes place for 5-10 seconds during freefall from 4000 or so meters. Like eagles, they clutch talons together. Unlike eagles, they have sexual organs halfway along their tails which they briefly twine together while they do the mating fall.

She's the last of her kind, so we have to artificially inseminate her so we can have baby dragons again. But she's biologically unable to accept sperm unless inseminated while falling.

Question 1: What kind of mechanism could prevent fertilization except in conditions of zero gravity?

Question 2: How would you go about impregnating this dragon?

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    $\begingroup$ That is an incredibly low density dragon. Also... what sperm are you using...? $\endgroup$ – Samuel Dec 10 '15 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ Annnnd...new favorite Worldbuilding question. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Dec 10 '15 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ maybe we can clone her this way we can also fix her sexual fetishism through genetic therapy! $\endgroup$ – user6760 Dec 11 '15 at 3:51
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    $\begingroup$ @ConfusedMerlin, You do have a point. I guess I should say they were genetically-engineered thousands of years ago before all the technology was lost, so they'd have no nasty recessive genes that would come up because of inbreeding. $\endgroup$ – Miriam Garcia Dec 13 '15 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ biologically unable to accept sperm unless inseminated while falling you hear something new every day $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 16 '16 at 7:19
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The egg is held in a protective sack, clenched tight when not in freefall.

It's unclear how long it took you to figure out that this dragon needed to be in freefall for insemination to take hold, but I'm sure it wasn't an easy time for you.

Her egg(s) are fragile, so they're very securely held in an internal pouch while she's walking around, in flight, or being... experimented on. This prevents any sperm from getting to the egg. However, while in freefall, her natural instinct is to maximize her surface area and slow her descent. Part of the way this is done is by unclenching the egg sack and expanding its volume to provide more surface area outside her body. If you've ever unclenched your own egg sac you'd realize it's a very exciting feeling (this is why drops on rollercoasters are fun). This will put her in the mood, so watch out.

So, naturally, you can push her out of an airplane and skydive with her. You don't even need special equipment (for the dive), 4000 meters is at the upper limit of elevation before a skydiver needs to wear supplemental oxygen. You'll also get about 70 seconds of freefall (assuming a human's terminal velocity) to do the deed, as it were, before you'll need to open your chute. You can wear and artificial tail with the appropriate apparatus installed and just hang on to her as you fall together.

If she's not agreeable to being pushed out of a plane or you don't trust that she'll come back home after what you did to her in freefall, you can just ride the vomit comet and keep her caged. The freefall without the wind should make your work a bit easier and will likely still trigger the (in)appropriate response in the dragon.

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    $\begingroup$ "The most boring and dull vet tech job possible," said no one ever. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Dec 10 '15 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Outstanding answer. I'd add the possibility that freefall causes the release of endorphins which also are involved in ovulation. Sort of like some mammals which need to be bitten during copulation to trigger ovulation. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Dec 10 '15 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ "You can wear and artificial tail with the appropriate apparatus installed" Yes! Haha. Also, would a dragon just be OK getting pushing out a plane and having this happen? Do dragons go into heat like cats, so you know when it would acceptable to try this? $\endgroup$ – Timmy Dec 10 '15 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ I hope you'd at least have the decency to buy her a drink first. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Dec 10 '15 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ I guess you could say you've... fallen for her. puts on sunglasses $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 11 '15 at 12:51
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Proposed mechanism: mostly vagisnism. As with many females, her sexual muscles, the ones responsible for opening for insemination, are not completely voluntary. In everyday situations, the muscles will remain tightly clenched, with such strength that you can't even see the opening. In many species the female relaxes her muscles when aroused - but dragons are very particular animals, and very selective in mating, with a complex mating ritual. It's impossible for a dragon to relax and get in the mood if she has to be standing or actively flying - complete relaxation is only possible in zero gravity, with the wind caressing her scaly skin and being courted by the selected male. It's possible that the mating will be unsuccessful if the fall is too short or if the male is not to her liking.

Proposed solution: My first idea would be making use of a lot of drugs. Relaxing drugs might relax the muscles, although it might not work if she needs working muscles to direct the sperm or something like that. Aphrodisiac drugs could help too obviously. If dropping her out of a high place is an option, by all means do it -- if not, find a way to simulate the fall. You might have to simulate courtship too, maybe attaching fake talons to her talons, and somehow reproducing dragon courting sounds to her. The mechanical part of insemination is the least troublesome in fact. I mean, you will need some sort of sperm-seringe in the approximate shape of a male sexual organ, and maybe the easiest way to use it is jumping beside the female and applying it yourself, but you could also use a mechanical device attached to her tail that releases the sperm at the right time (the actual mechanics depends too much on organ shape).

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  • $\begingroup$ @mozsalles This is an excellent mechanism too. Maybe I'll make use of a hybrid of yours and Samuel's ideas. Now to work on methods of dragon arousal... $\endgroup$ – Miriam Garcia Dec 13 '15 at 5:49
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A bungee-jumping rig and very steady nerves! ;-)

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the chuckle! I shouldn't encourage it, but....the chuckle $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Apr 13 '18 at 21:41
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An entirely different mechanism: the received sperm is held in a fertilization chamber, while the freefall/mating behavior causes ovulation and the release of a an ovum into the chamber.

This has analogs in the natural (non-dragon) world. Some species are induced ovulators, and it has been suggested that the act of being bitten on the back of the neck may contribute to the triggering of ovulation. Certainly some species are partly triggered by mechanical stimulation (rabbits, for instance), and adaptation to include zero-g's seems perfectly possible. Although the fact that it is not seen in birds would seem to argue against this being likely. Then again, dragons are pretty unlikely, so the argument is not hopeless.

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The most logical thing I can think of would be to use surgical means. It's invasive and unpleasant, but you are trying to save a species and this is no time for half measures.

Surgically remove the egg, fertilize externally and then implant. You may have to stimulate the necessary hormones or synthesize them.

I would recommend flame retardant long johns and chainmail.

Alternately If it's a muscle control thing, you might be able to use a muscle relaxant and manually insert the spermatazoa.

Again, the above kinds of clothing would be a good idea.

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