One of the races in my sci-fi universe is the Ceratons a race of bipedal (more hunched build) that look similar to triceratops. Their race is well known as skilled geneticists having a hand in disease prevention and creation as well as gene splicing. A segment of Ceraton society is dedicated to the creation of life. The Ceratons are famous for seeding numerous worlds with sentient life. Mainly reptilian, much like themselves. The Earth was one of their experiments. The Ceratons had a hand in the Permian Triassic event. They'd eventually forget about earth and arrive later to find well us. One problem I've seen with this the Ceratons would have to be over hundreds of millions of years old.

Here's my main question: how could a society be able to function continuously for hundreds of millions of years?

Note: They'd of course evolve over this massive span of time.

  • $\begingroup$ Do they possess telekinesis? I'm pretty certain that feet like elephants' don't help. Fingers would be better, unless you are thinking along the lines of a trunk. Without the ability to manipulate the environment finely your society couldn't have developed such tech in the first place. So, what's the question then? $\endgroup$ – Tantalus' touch. Sep 16 '19 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ maybe check china history or culture, even after multiple subjugation the invader all become china or kick out, while they still maintain huge part of their main culture or society intact for 5000 years. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Sep 16 '19 at 7:28

Lack of Change

Ultimately, if your Ceratons have a post-scarcity society, have already altered their environment accordingly, altered themselves via their existing genetic technology so that their environment, their resources and their genetic disposition are all in perfect balance, then there's no need for a society to change.

Evolution, when you get right down to it, is a biological response to the pressure of change. Revolution, in its turn, is a societal response to the pressure of change. If there is no pressure because no-one lives without what they need, the vast majority don't have to live without what they want, and the need to contribute to that society has disappeared along with the scarcity of what is consumed by the populace, then there is no pressure to change. Change after all takes effort and commitment which in your utopian society carries with it no reward. If it ain't broke, don't fix it would have to be the order of the day.

That said; the one risk you carry is the decay of your civilisation and your society. Once you have all you need personally (and everyone does), what need is there to participate in your governmental structures? What need is there of government at all?

Sure; you're going to get the occasional sociopath who thrives on inflicting pain on others and no doubt there will be some thrill seekers who will act in ways that turn out to be dangerous for those around them, so you will need some security, as well as maintenance personnel to keep your post-scarcity machines running, but you may find that you have a large number of volunteers for this if service is still a value that your society holds dear. But ultimately, this will be a caretaker contingent as the stability of your society is based on the fact that there is nothing needed.

Build your society in a way that channels all that spare time into curiosity (continued research and development), service and preservation of the society in general and provide ample leave time (say rostering people into service for a 2 year stint out of adolescence which then serves to whet their appetite for learning and engineering) and you may find that your society can survive most threats from within over an extended period.

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    $\begingroup$ "Revolution, in its turn, is a societal response to the pressure of change." Hmmm, I don't think revolution is entirely reactionary. And even if it is, it could be a reaction to stagnation. $\endgroup$ – frеdsbend Sep 16 '19 at 2:33
  • $\begingroup$ @fredsbend you are of course correct that revolution can be a reaction to stagnation, but if history teaches us anything it is that the stagnation that is reacted against is that which prevents the populace from having what they need. People who are comfortable in their life seldom see any need for change because they're not angry about anything. In many cases of stagnation, that very definition describes the people being revolted against because they have neglected the populace but in post-scarcity, this no longer is the case. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Sep 16 '19 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ That's only kind of true. Yes, a complacent people is slow to move. Some examples that could get them moving: religion can target anything; boredom is a consequence of and motivator against complacency; social mores change and develop constantly and have little to do with resources, but much to do with popular whim. Post-scarcity is not an obstacle and could even be the target of a revolution. Over a generation or two, complacency can make for boring history books. Over 10,000 years, I bet we'd see some interesting "revolutions". $\endgroup$ – frеdsbend Sep 16 '19 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @fredsbend I don't actually disagree with the points you make; they are well founded and for the most part I think it's impossible to restrict change and revolution over the time scales the OP describes. What I will say however is that a post-scarcity society will probably see less change over that time than (say) a restrictive authoritarian regime. I'm not suggesting that my answer provides certainty, merely that such a society as I describes may 'be able to' maintain itself more or less intact, as per the question. I do agree though that the odds are still against it in the long term. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Sep 16 '19 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ok then, I think we're on the same page here. Reminds me of God Emperor of Dune. 3K years of harsh authoritarianism, toppled only because of the emperor's death. It was maintained basically by supernatural abilities. $\endgroup$ – frеdsbend Sep 16 '19 at 2:55

Look at human society and scale up.

You're thinking about millions of years from a human perspective, and from a human perspective it's a really long time. From a Ceraton perspective it's a drop in the ocean. Societies don't change much within a lifetime outside traumatic events, they change generation by generation. So shifts within their society will happen over Ceraton generations, not human generations.

A major shift in their society will take around two Ceraton generations, hundreds of millions of years.


If they are skilled geneticists could they not simply halt any regression and evolution through altering the gene pool? Seems like if I could choose the lazy path I would.


how could a society be able to function continuously for hundreds of millions of years?

Since there are no examples of how this could have happened in human lifetimes, so this would is free to imagination.

Some possible examples:

  • Ceratons are anti-social, coming together rarely/ only for purposes of obligatory mating. So their social interaction is limited for evolution to play much role in their development

  • Ceratons don't have the required population density for complex social structures to evolve. This could be due to factors such as limit on total children (say the females ovulate only thrice), something like mantis where female eat the heads of male away etc

  • Ceratons are already very highly autonomous and evolved Given there are 100s of billions of stars, it is fair to say that the number of planets will be large enough for Ceratons to be Spatially and galctically distributed. So, they rely on the same old technology and social structures in current age, as they did a million years ago.


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