I just realized that on earth many natural resources used for building throughout history could be considered unique to earth, materials such as bone and wood are products of terrestrial evolution and are unlikely to be found in alien ecosystems, and while things like ore and stone would probably be present for humans it required the use of wood for us to be able to forge metals so even with metal ore an alien race might not be able to use it. This problem gets even worse if the alien race doesn't live on the ground for example a race of creatures that live in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant, who would not have access to the ground and earthen materials. So what materials might a primitive alien race use to make tools and buildings out of?


closed as too broad by kingledion, JBH, StephenG, Shadowzee, Cort Ammon Aug 27 '18 at 4:54

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This is far too broad as written. You need to specify a. the living conditions of a specific alien species, b. the geological conditions of their planet and c. the biological resources available on that planet from other creatures. Consider it this way, if wood or bone were not available, then the life on that planet must provide some other structural materials, whether keratin, chitin, or calcium carbonate shells. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Aug 27 '18 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. Please note that this question isn't a good fit on our site. The StackExchange model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. This question is very, very broad because you tell us nothing about the aliens, their world, their habitat and ecology, etc. Basically, you're asking us to write your story for you, which is off-topic here. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget oil an coal. As far as we know, earth is the only place in the Universe that has oil an coal. Certainly it is not obtainable anywhere else in our solar system. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Aug 27 '18 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Basically this question isn't asking WB SE to write the story for the OP. For pity's sake re-read the criteria for Too Story-based. Time and time again Too Story-based is invoked promiscuously & incompetently. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 27 '18 at 1:55
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    $\begingroup$ @TurkeyCannon The general availability of elements doesn't help much. It's how they are put together on your particular planet that matters. Consider that the difference between a human body and a pile of wet dirt is merely organization of the atoms. Clearly we care more about one than the other. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Aug 27 '18 at 4:55

This is awfully hypothetical, but the short answer is "Whatever is left over when life forms on that planet die".

If you think about it, MOST of the primitive raw materials humans (and other terrestrial tool-using species) have ever used are bits left over from other living things after they've died. Vines, fronds, bones, sinew, hide, wood, it's all parts of other living things.

So, whatever the living things on that world leave behind when they die that's solid, that's your raw materials.

Add to that "any naturally occuring objects that your species can pick up", and that covers rocks, and that's pretty much it in terms of raw materials for primitive life.

  • $\begingroup$ Please, please, PLEASE don't take this the wrong way.... but yours is the best non-answer answer I've ever seen. (A non-answer because it doesn't actually help the OP other than to point out he hasn't written his backstory.) I'm giving you +1 just for the chutzpah. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I mean, I'm flattered, I guess? I was really attempting to help the OP though, not so much by pointing out he hadn't written his backstory, but by helping him see how he can figure out the answer to his own question once he does? If that makes sense? $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Aug 27 '18 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, yeah. I understand what you were doing. He asked an unanswerable question and you took a level shot at answering it. Hence the +1. "Officially" you should avoid answering unanswerable questions. It's better to teach the OP to ask better questions than to provide unavoidably weak answers to weak questions. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH You mean the answer out-chutzpahs the worst/best of my non-answers? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Aug 27 '18 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ That's solid? What about oil and coal? Methane? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Aug 27 '18 at 1:52

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