Can advanced civilization develop under water? May 7, 2006Posted by federalist in Open Questions.
Is it possible for a technically advanced civilization to develop under water? I.e., are there any absolute barriers to an intelligent aquatic species developing portable energy, refining natural resources, or building complex mechanical, electronic, and photonic machinery?
Imagine something like dolphins with opposable thumbs on a world with no dry land. There is no reason they couldn’t evolve a language capability like ours. And they could certainly create and use primitive tools. But are there raw energy sources they could concentrate and tap? Some analog to our land-based energy cycle, where we can start with combustible biomass to bootstrap our way to refined fossil fuels and more advanced energy sources? And is this possible without access to the atmosphere?
And if they could mass and control energy, is it possible to refine metal underwater?
Could they develop writing or some other reliable way to record and transport information, to enable them to progress to more advanced technology?