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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Water jets aren't much use for cutting stone, unless you're attached to something very heavy. Otherwise, the stone is undamaged because you are propelled away. And again, you are doing this underwater, where the rules of physics mean you have different effects for the same event. Jet of water in air? Air is compressed until it moves out of the way. Jet of water underwater? Water doesn't compress, so you are stuck with it acting like a wall until it moves--in either case, the density saps your momentum.

    Stone work all requires banging rock on rock. Coral is fairly soft, so it isn't useful for much. And again, much of the useful stuff is buried in silt.

    Octopi are not deep ocean creatures, but rather natives of coastal shallows. They aren't doing anything below about 250 meters and do not inhabit the pelagic zones (that is, most of the ocean). Any plan that doesn't factor that in is unworkable.

    Submerged waterwheels need some rather specific engineering to get around the issues of density and compressibility and are in fact much more akin to jet turbines than anything else. And parking one in a current just gets it torn apart since the current will be acting on both angles of the wheel simultaneously. Even if you do get one to spin around, all you have is a spinner unless you have already invented other machines to use that power immediately (mechanical energy doesn't store easily, and it's a lot of effort to get it to store in the first place--again, wasted energy is lethal).

    And oceanic currents are created by the planet's orbit, not by temperature differentials. So is wind, for the most part.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Octopi are not deep ocean creatures, but rather natives of coastal shallows. They aren't doing anything below about 250 meters and do not inhabit the pelagic zones (that is, most of the ocean). Any plan that doesn't factor that in is unworkable.
    What the **** are you on about?
    Octopuses inhabit various regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the seabed; some live in the intertidal zone and others at abyssal depths.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    And oceanic currents are created by the planet's orbit, not by temperature differentials. So is wind, for the most part.
    They are infulenced by earth's orbit, but they are generated by the difference in pressure (for winds), salinity or temperature. Tidally locked planets can have ocean currents from hot to cold parts and vice versa. The difference in entropy is the driver of the currents, much more than the inertia of water.

    You obviously aren't a reliable information source, to the point, I'm unsure how correct are your other points...
    Last edited by -D-; 2019-08-08 at 11:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Submerged waterwheels need some rather specific engineering to get around the issues of density and compressibility and are in fact much more akin to jet turbines than anything else. And parking one in a current just gets it torn apart since the current will be acting on both angles of the wheel simultaneously. Even if you do get one to spin around, all you have is a spinner unless you have already invented other machines to use that power immediately (mechanical energy doesn't store easily, and it's a lot of effort to get it to store in the first place--again, wasted energy is lethal).
    Forget water wheels. Think windmills. We've had windmills since at least since the 10th century, possibly as early as the 6th century. They don't depend on being half-submerged in the flowing liquid. The frame could be built from whalebone with seaweed used for cloth/rope.

    And the windmills could be used to do almost anything we've used windmills for (except generating electricity). So they couldn't easily store the energy. They don't need to, since it's always available.

    Edit: 500's AD is 6th century, not 4th century.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Missing the point of my quote. Here. Someone claimed that PH of the water around deep-sea vents was essentially acid. I noted crabs and octopi live around it, so it's likely octopi might be able to descend down there physically (after all, one of its close ancestors did).
    Can those same octopi live far away from the vents? The difference in chemical composition of water around vents and in open sea is large enough that you can be accustomed to either of those but not both. The same goes for different depths etc. There is even life in lakes of boiling asphalt, but it would not last outside of its niche.

    It would actually be cool to see a pack of different species of octopi cooperate, but there would have to be something that triggered it first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Ok, and how do you do this with stone age tech? Whats holding it all together? Also, my understanding of deep ocean currents is that there would only be highly specific zones where this would even be possible, since you need a current strong enough to move your wheel, while also being right on the edge of said current to allow the wheel to rotate.
    Actually, as long as you can attach your construction to solid ground, a mill can work within a uniform current. That is how all windmills work. In water you might design it more like a propeller working in reverse.

    As for how to do it, the problem with available materials seems to be the most pressing for our aspiring octopi. As with everything else, the obvious answer is get out of the sea, but it kind of misses the point. Still space-faring amphibious species is still a win. Anyway, the strudiest and most easily obtainable material comes for exoskeletons of crustaceans. Depending on the size of local fauna they could provide octopi with solid plates of hard material. Some crabs we see today are pretty decent in size (carapace of the Japanese Spider Crab is almost half a meter in diameter) and there were even larger species back in the day.

    While fish skin seems to be rather thin and weak, mammals living in seas have skin that can be very useful and I think that tanning is not a necessity, since its main purpose is to prevent the leather from drying out and stiffening. How long would a raw hide last underwater is a good question, but salty environment itself should not be a problem, since as a preprocessing before tanning hides are soaked in brine for long periods of time. The key challenge is hunting them down.

    As for stoneworking, hitting things together is just one option: shearing or drilling is surely possible and was used successfuly by humans as well.

    To be frank, there is another potential barrier for growth: food. More precisely food production cannot be as efficient as on land, since at the end of the day all energy comes from the sun and the seabed gets just a small fraction of what is available on land. So by necessity ocopi communities would have to be far less concentrated then ours at a comparable tech level. If they would be able to catch and digest plankton, then they could build larger communities around sea currents, where the food comes to them constantly. Essentially, well placed sea currents would do for octopi what Eufrat, Nile and Tigris did for us.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    To be frank, there is another potential barrier for growth: food. More precisely food production cannot be as efficient as on land, since at the end of the day all energy comes from the sun and the seabed gets just a small fraction of what is available on land. So by necessity ocopi communities would have to be far less concentrated then ours at a comparable tech level. If they would be able to catch and digest plankton, then they could build larger communities around sea currents, where the food comes to them constantly. Essentially, well placed sea currents would do for octopi what Eufrat, Nile and Tigris did for us.
    Wouldn't something like Kelp be able to counteract this to some degree? Sure, the amount of energy from sunlight per square meter foliage would be less, but plants could grow to be far larger than on land without needing a mostly inedible wooden structure.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    To be frank, there is another potential barrier for growth: food. More precisely food production cannot be as efficient as on land, since at the end of the day all energy comes from the sun and the seabed gets just a small fraction of what is available on land. So by necessity ocopi communities would have to be far less concentrated then ours at a comparable tech level. If they would be able to catch and digest plankton, then they could build larger communities around sea currents, where the food comes to them constantly. Essentially, well placed sea currents would do for octopi what Eufrat, Nile and Tigris did for us.
    The issue isn't food production, it's food storage. There's no easily available method to preserve food underwater. You're eating pretty much everything raw, and most of it immediately after you've killed it - you'd better, because good luck keeping scavengers off your catch in an aquatic environment - so any food you have in storage has to still be alive. This really limits your options, especially if you're dealing with seasonal variation. It has a particularly large impact on population density, since if the local population is greater than local productivity there's very few means to effectively transfer food to them from elsewhere.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    One problem is we've seen that space faring can happen with Monkey's so we know that whatever objection we raise there has to be a loophole somewhere.
    And we are going to try and put things into a humano-centric story and falling victim to assuming our own tropes are general.

    Really we need to balance it by imagining the boards of the hypothetical ocean-thing.

    Practically for a long time we used variants of placer mining (panning) in river silt
    We picked lead from Sedimentary rocks, so presumably the lead must be in the proto-sediment.
    Of course the yields will be so tiny it's not worth us going in a diving suit to get crumbs. But then it's not worth our aquatic people building a landing suit to pan for gold/pick lead.
    Of course actually doing anything with them is trickier, but then surface fire wasn't easy either (though it sure seems a lot easier than in the water, and it sure seems that iron work is on the critical path, but that may just be prejudice).

    ___
    If we do have to cheat, we could possibly posit something different, a sea that did randomly have accessible radioactive material (a near water Oklo site) or some particularly convenient evolution of nearby species.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeTess View Post
    Wouldn't something like Kelp be able to counteract this to some degree? Sure, the amount of energy from sunlight per square meter foliage would be less, but plants could grow to be far larger than on land without needing a mostly inedible wooden structure.
    If the percentage of edile parts is significantly higher I would peg it as a resounding maybe. I would have to do the math but it is a bit late, so not today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The issue isn't food production, it's food storage. There's no easily available method to preserve food underwater. You're eating pretty much everything raw, and most of it immediately after you've killed it - you'd better, because good luck keeping scavengers off your catch in an aquatic environment - so any food you have in storage has to still be alive. This really limits your options, especially if you're dealing with seasonal variation. It has a particularly large impact on population density, since if the local population is greater than local productivity there's very few means to effectively transfer food to them from elsewhere.
    I agree on the storage and transport problems, which also can inhibit exploration, since scouts could not take food rations with them. On the other hand, seasonal variation is hardly a thing in the oceans, so you actually can grow food all year long and only take whatever you need at the moment. As for scavengers, there are some natural repellents available, but I am wondering if they are broad enough, or just species-specific. Or, if the octopi are already decently equiped and hunt well in groups, they could actually bait scavengers on purpose as a food supply at least during travels.

    Fire, aside of food preservation, allowed us to expand our food base and I was wondering how to get that effect underwater. The only idea I had was to exploit digestive capabilities of other creatures one way or the other. The sane version is that octopi would mostly herd some form of cattle - possibly a variety of species to exploit more resources. We did that with great success. The insane version would be to make a stew in a skin sac with the food you want to process and the stomachs (or other parts of digestive tract that secrate enzymes and stuff) of a species capable of digesting it. I am doubtfull of the viability of that idea, but I'd rather throw it here then keep the crazy in my head.
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    On the other hand, seasonal variation is hardly a thing in the oceans, so you actually can grow food all year long and only take whatever you need at the moment.
    Seasonal variation is absolutely a thing in the oceans. Many kelp forests are almost completely denuded due to seasonal variation and grow back again every year. At higher latitudes, changes in daylight availability have massive impacts on season to season productivity. Even in the tropics, seasonal change elsewhere leads to dramatic differences in the occurrences of major fish shoals over time.

    As for scavengers, there are some natural repellents available, but I am wondering if they are broad enough, or just species-specific. Or, if the octopi are already decently equiped and hunt well in groups, they could actually bait scavengers on purpose as a food supply at least during travels.
    The issue with food storage in the ocean is small creatures more than large ones. On land you can block out the overwhelming majority of things that try to get into your stores simply by elevating them off the floor. You can't do that in water, where literally everything is filled with plankton. In order to effectively store food underwater you need to put it in a watertight container, which is extremely cumbersome.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    And that's without factoring in migration.

    Windmills are turbines, btw. I don't recall the exact etymology, but it comes from turbulent (as in the air chopped up by the blades). It'd have to be more like a farm windmill than the big Dutch ones, since those sized vanes couldn't handle the stresses (they often get wrecked by a stiff breeze, which has way less mass than salt water).

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    So first, a octopi civilization is obviously in the territory of science fiction. In fact, humans making it into space beyond the most minimal efforts, is the territory of science fiction. Earth octopi obviously, can't make it into space. Non-earth octopi are again, obviously the territory of science fiction. Thus we want to see if Sci-Fi Octopi can form a civilization?

    Now, when we are talking about civilization, we should not forget that humans are a massive outlier in terms of intelligence and civilization is a massive anomaly in human existence. Furthermore due to small sample size it is possible that there are other extremely rare flukes that contributed evolution even getting to primates. For example, how common are moons that generate significant tides? How likely animals likely to evolve to live on land without tides?

    We know that human civilization is possible, but human civilization also appears incredibly unlikely. I don't think that any sort of underwater creature has good odds of developing civilization. Neither does an above land creature.

    Now let's see if octopi can get the ingredients of civilization! First, as mentioned earlier these are not earth octopi. These are Scifi-Octopi! We're giving them the ability to consciously create their own custom proteins and RNA-equivilent. They can communicate this information with each other. They have much finer conscious control over their biological processes than we do. They also won the evolutionary lottery in basically every other way. They also have countless convenient species of plants and other sea creatures to help them as well.
    1. Communication and information retention through generations.
    This also indicates that we should expect civilization to happen only for social species. Lone predators obviously have no use for sophisticated communication.
    Information retention is easy. A good memory and a lack of senescence and we're done!
    Communication can be done via something like whalesong. That goes quite far. They can relay messages over longer distances. Since they are all very pro-social this will work out nicely.
    Now they are ahead of humans for basically all of civilization! Large quantities of written records are a relatively new feature of civilization. Apprenticeships used to be how skilled jobs were taught.
    2. Efficient food production.


    To get some nice tools one needs something to make them from. For us it were stones, bones, leather and later various metals, clay, glass and so on.
    They can grow bones in whatever manner they feel like! And the bones they use can be as strong as limpet teeth! Furthermore, they've eliminated the former apex predators and megafauna and now have ample flora to feed from. One plant in particular flourishes, and it just happens to be ideal for them to feed from. They learn the basics of wildlife management and learn to control their own population. Food is not a real issue at that point.

    3. Workable materials.
    (for making tools, structures and whatever else)
    Coral-like materials or their own growable bone can form the basis for workable materials. We have civilization!

    But how do they develop now? They start off in biotech! They experiment with RNA-equivalent and proteins until they have a civilization filled with wondrous biotechnology.

    But can they get into space? That will depend on escape velocity, atmosphere and how speculative technology progresses. Worst case scenario they build a land base and then build their rocket on the land base. If conditions are favorable it is entirely possible they get their easier than humans when they have reached that point.

    Of course, this discussion was spawned from the Grrlpower thread. So our Scifi-Octopi can just use magic, psionics or strange orbs for space travel.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamech View Post
    But how do they develop now? They start off in biotech! They experiment with RNA-equivalent and proteins until they have a civilization filled with wondrous biotechnology.
    This actually works sort of. Minus the hyperbole about gene splicing this is how human civilization started; with wheat, sheep, and cattle. Also dogs; it's easy to forget this in today's world, but in ancient times most dog breeds were non-ornamental and had functional uses in hunting, ranching, security, pest control, or other areas


    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The issue isn't food production, it's food storage. There's no easily available method to preserve food underwater.
    What about pickling?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brine_pool

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Brine pools aren't exactly common, especially outside of the deep sea. The latter is important, because for the most part depth ranges are fairly restricted in aquatic organisms. Any sort of advanced civilization that develops underwater is doing it in the shallows, the energy budget makes that essential, and unless the species emerged through some kind of artificial bio-engineering (which is a plausible option for certain types of stories) any resource below ~1000 meters might as well not exist. The precludes pretty much any use of hydrothermal vents as well. Until you've developed the technology to handle the pressure conditions, you don't get to even know those exist (and without some sort of pretty darned good underwater lighting technology you can't find them anyway).

    This actually works sort of. Minus the hyperbole about gene splicing this is how human civilization started; with wheat, sheep, and cattle. Also dogs; it's easy to forget this in today's world, but in ancient times most dog breeds were non-ornamental and had functional uses in hunting, ranching, security, pest control, or other areas
    The underwater environment presents certain challenges to animal domestication though. For one, it is much more difficult to safely confine animals underwater, something human experience with aquaculture has made fairly clear. This is a particularly fraught challenge for the animals that it would be most useful for an undersea civilization to domesticate: large marine mammals, because they breathe air. The list of domesticated animals is also decidedly uneven in its distribution across animal clades, being heavily weighted to a small number of mammal (primarily even-toed ungulates) and bird (primarily waterfowl) groups.

    Even outside of mammals, all the good saltwater candidates for domestication as anything other than a food animal breathe air, whether that's turtles, crocodilians, or any number of extinct reptile groups such as pleisiosaurs. Ray-finned fish have fairly severe size limitations and generally only achieve body sizes suitable for labor use in highly active species (billfish, tuna) that preclude domestication. As for large Elasmobranchs, well, good luck with that, and they tend to die in captivity anyway.

    Now, domesticated fish or invertebrates as food animals you could do, but you're stuck leaving all your meat 'on the fin' as it were because of a lack of good storage options. That only gets you as far as a pretty limited pastoralism - advanced human pastoralists tend to rely heavily on preserved dairy resources not available in the aquatic scenario - though that's at least something.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Bit of late but

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    As long as everyone is busy surviving, new discoveries are random and as such very rare. What really jumpstarted our progress was farming: it was the first moment in history, when not everyone had to focus on finding food. With this there was room for some people to focus on other stuff like making better tools or looking up at the night sky on a warm summer evening and noticing that some of the stars seem to move.
    Eeerr, no. People were already developing technology millenia before farming. Stuff like bows and figuring out how to control and make fire, which in turn already made getting food much easier and allowed for some free time, like cave painting just for the heck of it (a tradition that survives to this day as people still keep scribbling on any suitable surface whitin reach for any and no reason).

    Farming was a big jump yes, but itself would be hardly possible if people hadn't developed tools. Need something to plow the earth, harvest the product, proccess it, store it and cook it.

    Now after farming what you really need is writing, or some other way of storing and copying information that doesn't rely only in memory. Oral tradition works for small groups up to a few hundreds, but once you start gathering thousands of people it's simply impossible to properly organize everybody and figure out who owns anything or or does what unless you have some solid register to check.
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Brine pools aren't exactly common, especially outside of the deep sea. The latter is important, because for the most part depth ranges are fairly restricted in aquatic organisms.
    What's true for fishes isn't necessarily true for octopus. The fish don't go below certain depth because the pressure crushes their organs. This is more pronounced because their bodies are less compressible. Octopi with their compressible bodies will have different ranges. In fact, some octopi start in shallow and go into the deep when they mature. Going deep is probably less of a problem than going into different environment.

    In fact if you look at: Enteroctopus dofleini it lives between 0-1500m.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The underwater environment presents certain challenges to animal domestication though
    Depends. I can see them domesticating some kind of sessile organism like mussels. Larger animals could either be domesticated through symbiosis (e.g. cats, dogs).
    Last edited by -D-; 2019-08-23 at 11:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The underwater environment presents certain challenges to animal domestication though. For one, it is much more difficult to safely confine animals underwater, something human experience with aquaculture has made fairly clear. This is a particularly fraught challenge for the animals that it would be most useful for an undersea civilization to domesticate: large marine mammals, because they breathe air. The list of domesticated animals is also decidedly uneven in its distribution across animal clades, being heavily weighted to a small number of mammal (primarily even-toed ungulates) and bird (primarily waterfowl) groups.
    Since the aquatic civilization has to be built a shallow water species, this might not be that much of a problem. Way more difficult then domestication of animals on land, but still within r In fact, it might be a spark that makes them interested in the world above water.

    Since we talk hypotheticals, we can also consider species that lived quite some time ago. Then we have some interesting options in unusually large invertebrates. Just for the imagery, I like the idea of giant ammonites as pack animals. One of the key tricks is, that the domesticated animal has to be social and to a degree inteligent. Not sure, if it can develop enough in mollusks and such, but I would not rule it out as completly impossible at least within our thought experiment. Plus, there are also option with bottom-dwelling species - those could be easily herded just like on land. In our world it would be a problem to find anything worth the effort, but maybe I am missing some suitable candidates.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Crabs and lobsters spring to mind. Fairly strong, fast moving compared to a mollusk, the shells give them some durability and they aren't finicky filter feeders.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Question. Couldn't a hypothetical Octopi Civilization create air pockets for flames much like we create buckets of water for quenching? There's relatively little stopping them from building a big upside down stone bowl and then using some sort of bucket to slowly fill it with air for fire.

    Inconvenient and slow perhaps. But doable.

    Also, under similar conditions, could not similar air buckets be used for mechanical power by attaching them to ropes and letting the waves pull them up and down.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Theoretically, yes you could make an air pocket in such a manner. However, water pressure will compress the air into a smaller area, the air will eventually dissolve into the water, and any fire you build will probably consume the oxygen faster than you can replace it.

    As for the buoy generator, we've been trying them since (I think) 1730. They break down quickly and generally lose most of the energy generated (mechanical or electrical) due to friction. They also get wrecked by storms of light gale or higher status, but that's a materials issue.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    What's true for fishes isn't necessarily true for octopus. The fish don't go below certain depth because the pressure crushes their organs. This is more pronounced because their bodies are less compressible. Octopi with their compressible bodies will have different ranges. In fact, some octopi start in shallow and go into the deep when they mature. Going deep is probably less of a problem than going into different environment.

    In fact if you look at: Enteroctopus dofleini it lives between 0-1500m.
    Yes there are deep sea octopuses, you know what happens if you bring them to the surface? They die soon after.

    Extreme pressure influences more than simply compression of tissues, it has impacts down to the cellular level. Living at extreme depths requires any entirely different suite of enzymes than in the shallows, and vice versa, in order to maintain essential chemical reactions. Yes there are some animals with fairly wide depth ranges, especially considering they may wander outside their typical zone for fairly short periods of time. The Bluntnose Sixgill Shark has been recorded at depths ranging from 12-2500 meters, but is only commonly found between 100-1000 meters.

    It's one thing to be able to potentially dive down to the sea floor and look around for a little while, but to actually set up and perform industrial work there is another story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar
    Since we talk hypotheticals, we can also consider species that lived quite some time ago. Then we have some interesting options in unusually large invertebrates. Just for the imagery, I like the idea of giant ammonites as pack animals. One of the key tricks is, that the domesticated animal has to be social and to a degree inteligent. Not sure, if it can develop enough in mollusks and such, but I would not rule it out as completly impossible at least within our thought experiment. Plus, there are also option with bottom-dwelling species - those could be easily herded just like on land. In our world it would be a problem to find anything worth the effort, but maybe I am missing some suitable candidates.
    None of the giant nautiloids or ammonites are likely to meet that intelligence threshold, unfortunately, at least based on what we know of their living relatives. Also, they aren't especially mobile animals. There are certain larger and more powerful cephalopods like Humboldt Squid, which are at least intelligent enough to hunt cooperatively, so that might be an option, unfortunately they have quite short lifespans (2 years max) which presents its own challenges.

    The ideal candidate for domestication for labor purposes (as opposed to purely as a food source like chickens or for companionship like dogs) is a large, herbivorous creature with a physically powerful frame but a docile disposition. This is relatively rare in aquatic environments and most of the good candidates breathe air, like sea cows or sea turtles. A possible extinct animal option would by Ptychodont sharks, which were largely bodied molluscivores that had crushing teeth and primarily consumed benthic organisms in fairly shallow seas. They could probably be herded across 'pastures' of vast clam beds fairly effectively.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Yes there are deep-sea octopuses, you know what happens if you bring them to the surface? They die soon after.
    That doesn't counter my example. The octopus in question was found at various ranges, implying it can survive those ranges for at least some time. AFAIK their lifecycle implies they start in shallow and go deeper with age. Nothing prevents a society like that from just sending their elderly to use the vents for metallurgy. Also, not all thermal vents are below 1000+ meters.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    None of the giant nautiloids or ammonites are likely to meet that intelligence threshold.
    Why are we talking about intelligence threshold? We don't breed chicken and cows for their intelligence and the pets we do own, vary from social (dogs) to solitary (cats). The only reason cats are "social" is that because of our influence they are constantly in their kitten mindset when they are relatively sociable. We kept dogs because they are useful for hunting. We "adopted" cats cause they ate the rodents that we disliked.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Why are we talking about intelligence threshold? We don't breed chicken and cows for their intelligence and the pets we do own, vary from social (dogs) to solitary (cats). The only reason cats are "social" is that because of our influence they are constantly in their kitten mindset when they are relatively sociable. We kept dogs because they are useful for hunting. We "adopted" cats cause they ate the rodents that we disliked.
    Intelligence threshold is for having some useful working animals like dogs, horses etc. They need to be able to understand and obey orders for that. Chicken we breed just for food and with cats we just let them do their own thing - at best we convince them to do that thing around the place we live. For pack or labour animals you need a reliable form of control.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Intelligence threshold is for having some useful working animals like dogs, horses etc. They need to be able to understand and obey orders for that. Chicken we breed just for food and with cats we just let them do their own thing - at best we convince them to do that thing around the place we live. For pack or labour animals you need a reliable form of control.
    Although in opposite world, are they looking at the (wild-ass), (wild-boar), wolf, auroch, goat like things (which for most of history they've only seen when their nets have dragged them underwater) and shaking their heads.

    Actually picturing anti-fishing is bizarre, the land just seems a bit rubbish for it.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Aquatic species taking something from the land tends to look more like ambush predation. See if you can find videos of crocs grabbing an antelope or gators a deer.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    The traditional answer to this, all the way back to the early 20th century sci-fi greats, is a resounding “no!”

    The closest we come is stories about amphibious civilizations, and that’s because meaningful chemistry is essentially impossible in an environment that is highly reactive, highly conductive of heat and electrical charge, and poor in resources.

    So, you need a different environment. Any meaningful chemistry in these constraints is going to be biochemistry: it must take place within the organisms or environments created by and controlled by them. Some sort of bladder creature that could take in materials, excrete and manipulate tools would be viable. Or this could be a symbiotic or colony creature. Let’s go that direction.

    The problem with the amphibious model which has been variously ignored or acknowledged implicitly is that if land/air is such a better place to create and maintain the implements or civilization and progress, then it eventually becomes the main or sole habitation of the species. Going amphibious essentially defeats the goal along with the challenges of the exercise.

    Yeah I could only slog through 2 pages of this before commenting. Maybe someone else said some of this?

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    P.S.: the biggest problem no one seems to be mentioning is that virtually all keystone discoveries in materials science and tools were in easy reach, like plucking an apple from a tree. This is pronounced enough to make people discuss divine providence in our advancement as a species. Radio waves, metallurgy, and farming are all examples of things that were utilized at a point that they were easily within reach, tripped over, given to us (like the aforementioned comet metal).

    What I’m getting at is that you need to be inspired to create scientific advances. No one can even know that metals can exist in usable form if they live on the ocean floor and aren’t being fed by the detritus of a higher civilization dropping things on them. It must exist as a natural product before you can invent an industry around making more of it. Electricity as a usable form of energy for mechanical work couldn’t even be imagined from the ocean floor, much less investigated and refined.

    Basically, these things need to exist as natural phenomena before they can be recognized, analyzed, and reproduced. They can’t be invented whole-cloth by intelligence. A sea bottom civilization might use eels to kill prey or defend themselves, but they would never be able to imagine storing and using it when we can’t even figure out how to work it out from the back end in our ocean environment.

    Since these things can only come about biologically when submerged in seawater, you need to invent a whole range of biological phenomena almost out of whole cloth. Organisms that store and transmit electricity across the reef and use it to do things without intelligence. Organisms (hopefully our prime actors) who manufacture tools in their own controlled environment before developing higher intelligence, then begin to use this ability to erect permanent structures and shape their environment. The ability to create concrete within their own bodies and excrete it, similar to coral. Etc. maybe we can go there? If they can create external membranes full of gasses of their choice and then manipulate things within them, then we might really get somewhere. Maybe recreating this on a massive scale with hard domes, able to manipulate it from the pressurized water at the bottom with free oceanic access?

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterMan View Post
    The problem with the amphibious model which has been variously ignored or acknowledged implicitly is that if land/air is such a better place to create and maintain the implements or civilization and progress, then it eventually becomes the main or sole habitation of the species. Going amphibious essentially defeats the goal along with the challenges of the exercise.
    This is not necessarily true. It simply requires that the species, while amphibious, be significantly more comfortable in water due to biological constraints. Thermoregulation is a good barrier actually. If your amphibious species retains thick blubber for insulation in water they may be unable to remain on land for long periods without overheating. It is true that, in such a scenario the bulk of the civilization's industry would be conducted on land, but they could still spent the overwhelming majority of their time in water.
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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Also, if you species lacks either an endo- or exoskeleton, they'll have some severe limitations in what they can do. Even movement will be limited without buoyancy assistance.

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    I suppose you could take the line that they failed to adapt to live comfortably on land before their technology rendered further physical adaptation unnecessary, but that would be for narrative reasons and not scientific ones. It does not take long to realize that industrialization requires further and further concessions to dry living. One narrative device for making this happen was the relative lack of planetary dry land in the case of the amphibious aliens of the Lensman series. One stand-alone that was later retconned into the lensman universe features amphibious aliens of highly developed technology, who inhabit a planet with virtually no landmass and most of the resources still ocean-derived. Why a species would become amphibious in such a case is not clear, and their amphibious nature was simply necessary to a narrative that they were spacefaring, by all appearances. Their driving goal for spacefaring is actually the acquisition of common metal, iron specifically.

    If you want a mechanic for an oceanic species to develop industry, then I think I’ve given a viable and even unique option. That’s extraordinarily rare in sci-fi: to have a truly new premise. But someone has probably already done it right? Anyway, the best sci-fi has a story to tell, and the sci-fi aspect is just a wrapper for the skilled writer. What unique and worthwhile story does this oceanic species bring about? They can’t have chemistry or metallurgy without a relatively non reactive and non conductive environment, we have that arising “naturally” without leaving the ocean. What will they do with it?

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    Default Re: Civilization: How to make it happen under the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterMan View Post
    I suppose you could take the line that they failed to adapt to live comfortably on land before their technology rendered further physical adaptation unnecessary
    There's a whole lot of civilization to go through before your get sufficiently advanced technology to render a primarily aquatic amphibious species sufficiently comfortable on land so as to live there full time. That's a milestone present-day human technology hasn't yet crossed at the very least.

    An amphibious species with limited access to land-based resources can push an aquatic civilization out of the stone age and to various levels of advancement it would not otherwise, even if they might struggle to advance otherwise. For instance, such a species might figure out certain forms of metallurgy while still struggling with food storage difficulties that prevent development of the population densities necessary for full on industrialization, or any number of other in-between states.
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