Mateusz asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 1 decade ago

Would it be possible for intelligent life to evolve under water?

Let say for example that you had a planet that was 100% covered in water. Would it be possible for intelligent life to evolve? When I say intelligent, I don't mean as intelligent like dolphins. I mean intelligent enough to create technology advanced enough to leave their planet and explore space.

One of the requirements would probably be hands so they have the ability to learn to use tools, but unfortunately the second one is fire so they could have an industrial revolution.

Can anyone think of any possible way that an intelligent race could have an industrial revolution under water, without the need for fire?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    That is a difficult one.

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer:

    Because your definition requires technology advanced enough to leave the planet (we are barely there, ourselves), I would say it would be very unlikely (impossible is a very strong word).

    I say this mainly because it is my understanding that the ability to record (i.e., read/write) information is key to the advancement of technologies necessary to accomplish what you are using as a defining argument. It is through sharing of information over the ages that we have been able to develop almost everything we have. Without reading and writing, important details are lost.

    Note that it would be very difficult to develop a reading/writing technique below water, but not impossible.

    Of course, hands would be nice, and a developed language would be essential (dolphins do have a decent vocabulary, but not nearly as detailed and vast as those developed by humans - as far as we can tell).

    Fire is essential to our existing technologies being able to leave the Earth. Rockets depend on it. Fire under water would pose a challenge, but again, there are volcanic areas that could help on a planet like this one.

    Of course, another difficulty would be leaving the planet, and taking all of that water with you so that you could breathe. Water is heavy, and would add to the weight being lifted.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    There are octopi that are already pretty smart. Who knows what could happen in another billion years. Many sea animals, like sharks and eels sense or use electricity under water. So do we. If it's easier to build technology above the water, well then it's easier. But that would just mean it would take longer to develop under water. And make no mistake, it's the use of technology that interests you. So what might drive a species to technology? Well, with my octopi example, they might be encouraged to build shelters from predators. They then might be interested in tools to open shell fish or something to get at food sources. They then might want movable shelters. And so on. That's more or less how we did it. They won't have fire. Our technology and science has in many ways been 'fired up'. So they might investigate electricity first. Astronomy may take a long time. Lots of our solutions, like rockets, might seem unlikely for an underwater species. But rockets are pretty unlikely for us as well. And we have xray telescopes in space, despite the fact that we can't see xrays, and they don't make it to the ground naturally. I'd be hopeful that an underwater species could eventually make the transition.

  • Joan H
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    We are so focused on our own technologies, it is difficult to imagine something so totally different that it could be done under water.

    I think it is a mistake to say it couldn't be done. Just because we can't figure out how by no means implies impossibility.

  • 1 decade ago

    Intelligence as you are defining it pretty much means (1) advanced tool use and (2) advanced language and learning.

    Neither of those is particularly linked to fire. Mankind likely began developing language and significant tool use well before substantially adopting fire. I see no reason mankind could not have developed a modern level of language and learning without fire, and I see no reason we would not have continued developing successive levels of advancing tools and technology without fire. Yes, fire has been critically important to many branches of our technologies, but it is not critical to the act of progressing tools and technologies themselves. An underwater civilization would clearly follow a different collection of paths in developing technology, but I have no doubt that they would eventually manage to incorporate fire, however for them it would be much like vacuum technologies are for us. We can build vacuum chambers to preform some of our advanced technologies, and they could build "air chambers" to preform fire based technologies. For them "air technologies" would be much like space for us. They could build labs in or near the air, just as we build labs in space. They could build "air suits" just like we build "space suits". They doubtless would face many challenges with things we find easy, but they would doubtless have advantages and find some things easy that we had difficulty with.

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