Even if they have modern knowledge, how much of that is applicable with no equipment as they would have to build everything from scratch?

Like, would they be able to figure out basic metallurgy (even if nobody has no prior experience) and set up farms? Or after 100 years, would they still be hunting deers with spears and living in mud huts?

Doesn't that all need generational development? Like even if they find wild horses you need to breed them for generations before they become useful.

  • $\begingroup$ It's incredibly hard to bootstrap a civilization up to the modern age given nothing to start with, as previous Q&As have shown. Without incentive to do so, the 100K humans will likely form tribes and eventually towns, perhaps seeing some crude metalworking in their lifetime. But without the luxury of an industrialized society, they'll likely see many generations of hardship. $\endgroup$ – BMF Apr 25 at 20:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related, not duplicate. $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Apr 25 at 20:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Chlodio Do clothes count as eqipment? $\endgroup$ – Madman Apr 25 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Madman Yes, they can't have anything with them, including glasses, rings, earrings. $\endgroup$ – Chlodio Apr 25 at 20:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 99.9% dead within the first year because of starvation; the rest become hunter-gatherers and effectively all tech knowledge is lost as people spend from dawn to dusk trying to get enough food to survive. To avoid this and maybe survive their first year, they would need to be dropped in with basic farming tools and farming knowledge, enough seeds, exactly at the start of planting season, and with a signed certificate from the local deities guaranteeing good weather and no pests / diseases causing crop failure. Even then, I wouldn't care to place any money on their survival. $\endgroup$ – GrumpyYoungMan Apr 25 at 20:50

They will be hard-pressed to survive, let alone recreate any level of technology.

First, food. The planet is "Earth-like" and not a "duplicate of earth". So there is no obvious reason to think that the new arrivals will even know which plants are poisonous and which are not. So, mass starvation. Assuming a duplicate Earth (except for people ever having occurred) allows somewhat better odds. Survival buffs will know which plants are edible, but in general it's not an easy task to live on them.

Rediscovering iron isn't real likely. Not many people nowadays know the techniques for smelting iron with homemade furnaces, nor how to recognize iron ore, or how to make charcoal (without metal tools, mining coal will be a non-starter.) And getting the ones who do together, considering that they are spread out among 100,000 starving people is going to be a real challenge. For that matter, making smithing tools from slag iron is going to a challenge.

I suppose that you might, if you want to invoke extreme luck, have the survivors land on deposits of native copper, which could be worked into copper tools. And don't think that metals such as tin or zinc, which can be used to make bronze or brass are going to be readily available.

Unless some of the transplantees are historical buffs of a rather specialized variety, no one will know how to make stone tools, so things like stone-tipped spears and arrows are out of the picture. Forget hunting. Likewise fishing. Do you know how to make a fishing spear from scratch, and without tools? What plants can be used to make cordage for netting, and how do you do it? Remember, you've generally got less than a month before people start getting weak from starvation.

If the newcomers are really, really lucky, some of them will end up on good seashore, and can start living off shellfish and the occasional tidal-pool harvest. But this is unlikely.

I suppose you can assert that there are enough people who know how to make a fire drill and use their shoelaces to do the job. Or maybe use eyeglasses as sunlight concentrators in order to start a fire, but only for those whose glasses correct for far-sightedness. Correction for nearsightedness uses concave lenses, which will not work.

If the arrivals arrive in northern latitudes (above about 45 degrees latitude, give or take) during local winter, I wouldn't make any guarantees about any surviving at all. Freezing to death is just too quick to start applying survival skills without any equipment. Arriving during winter north of the tropics will be iffy, as well. Consider the Texas cold snap of this past winter.

Frankly, I'd expect any population after 100 years to be a very small number of stone-age tribes with interesting legends.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Rediscovering iron isn't real likely."... At least 1 in 100 people have this knowledge, because it is ancient enough to be fashionable. Odds are that you know what I speak of when I refer to the youtube series on "primitive technology". What is more lacking are the non-glamorous, but essential skills. Like how to milk a goat and not get bitten. Or how to treat a simple scratch that has gotten infected, using zero medicines. Or how to extract a rotten tooth, if there are No Dentists around! Or (vital, this!) ... just what can you safely use to wipe your ass, and not cripple yourself. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Apr 25 at 20:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PcMan - I was speaking broadly. As for other skills, it's even worse than you suggest. For instance, "Like how to milk a goat and not get bitten." What goats? Sometimes it's not as bad as you suggest. "how to extract a rotten tooth, if there are No Dentists around!" People generally survive bad teeth. Not fun, but normally not fatal. As for butt-wiping (I assume you're thinking of poison ivy), getting it wrong is almost never fatal, so learning what is safe should be only briefly embarrassing. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Apr 25 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ "goats" being whatever you think you can tame of the local wildlife. As for the poison ivy.. not just that. 99.many-nines of modern people rely on soft TP. without it, they don't clean right, get lesser infections, and are hobbling around like geriatrics. Which is the very last thing you want to do if already struggling for survival. And yes, bad teeth, unattended, do kill. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Apr 25 at 20:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "making smithing tools from slag iron" is not so difficult. For the first action, a heavy round rock bashing your iron bloom against a heavier flat rock is good enough to make a hammer. With a hammer and a flat rock, an anvil is made. With a hammer and anvil, chisels are made. with these, tongs, saws, even files are made. The making is not the hard part. The eating while making is the hard part. Someone will have to feed the ore gatherer, the charcoal maker, the brickbuilder, the furnace tender, and the smith. And protect them from brigands. And heal their owchies. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Apr 26 at 13:08

If they have access to knowledge sources (books, or suitable training in advance), they would be at about 1700's tech.

i.e. They would have a settled agricultural community, some basic ironworking ability, and would be considering playing around with railroads and discussing whether introducing electricity is worth the bother or not.

The greatest impediment would actually be the lack of suitably tailored crops and livestock. The natural plants and animals of Earth before thousands of years of human fiddling bear almost no resemblance to modern crops and livestock. For example, corn is originally a grassy plant that a layman could confuse with wheat, and the originlal tomatoes are tiny, poisonous berries.

If the people can take along a breeding and seeding stock of crops and animals, that will be a tremendous advantage, much more so than giving them a dozens tractors.

. . Of course, if you just randomly snatch 100000 humans off the street, deny them all tools (no iphones, no matches, clothing is a tool too, right?), with no preparation or warning...

You will within the first week have 95000 corpses, 4000 insane cannibals, and about 1000 very frightened sane people scurrying away in the distance, relying on their dimly remembered boy-scout lessons to built branch shelters and fish with spears.

For example, I hope that I would be one of those survivors.
I have all the knowledge of how to build a decent mud or adobe or thatch or log or even brick house. I know how to locate and smelt iron, and have some idea of how to process the raw smelted bloom into more useful tools.
But do I expect to be able to do this? Good grief no! I expect that I will be spending 117% of my effort getting not-quite-enough food to fill my belly, and protecting myself from that big guy over there with the very pointy spear.
And that is assuming that my kidnapper does not consider my corrective glasses to be "tools". Without them, I would definitely be one of the corpses.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.