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On an alien world there are 4 species:

  • The networkers are slow-moving herbivores capable of speech. They have very loud, deep voices, allowing them to speak over long distances

  • The sparklers are saltatorial ambush predators, and are extremely inventive and wise, even moreso than humans

  • The grabbers are also ambush predators, but are sessile and live in the soil. They grab their prey using long dexterous tentacles

  • The walkers are large cursorial animals with broad, strong backs

They could work together by the other ones riding the walkers, with the sparklers dreaming up inventions that the grabbers would craft, and once the invention is perfected, the networker can broadcast the invention so that it can be passed on to other sparklers/grabbers

Could these creatures, working together, invent technology with the same/greater complexity as real modern technology?

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    $\begingroup$ you have to answer a lot of questions before this can be answered. How are they cooperating, specifically if they are all not as intelligent as humans. Evolutionarily speaking there is no reason for these animals to compete since some are prey for others. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 18, 2021 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ Curatorial means something related to the work or habits of a curator, that is, a manager of a (museum) collection. (The word comes from the same Latin root which gave English cure "to heal".) You probably want cursorial. (And, of course they can create complex tech together. Networkers = humans, sparklers = dogs, walkers = horses, grabbers = pigs. The question does not say that they must work as equals.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 18, 2021 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ If the predators get chummy with their prey, what do they now eat? $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 18, 2021 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @ShadoCat There are other prey to eat $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2021 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing Then those would be some very picky predators. You have to figure out how the predators didn't eat these herbivores and then you can figure out how they first started to cooperate. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 19, 2021 at 21:43

2 Answers 2

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It is more likely that these creatures, as they evolve, would be antagonistic to each other. The herbivores compete for food and resources, while the predators compete to eat the herbivores. Not great conditions for team work.

So, these creatures cohabitating and working together over thousands of years to slowly advance technology through their own stone age, bronze age, iron age, industrial age, etc. is very unlikely. One species would likely get a slight upper hand that would snowball until they eliminated their immediate competition and become the single superior species, much like humans did.

One way you might be able to get this to work is by having each species initially develop in a separate, isolated part of the world, where they could go through their own technological advancement up to a certain point, only to find each other once they have evolved enough to recognize a mutually advantageous opportunity.

Bear in mind that, when they do meet, they will likely be so different that they may not recognize each other as sapient. This could lead to a long period of contention until they learn that the others are not "savages".

They also will not develop at the same rate and are unlikely to attain the level of technology needed to find each other at the same time. In fact, this technology will probably be developed thousands of years apart, so the first species to get there could find the others still in the stone age. This discrepancy needs to be accounted for.

Here is how I would set it up:

The Grabbers have developed slowly, but are the oldest of the species and are actually the most technologically advanced. Their physiology, however, doesn't allow them to travel very far outside their natural habitat, preventing them from discovering the other species. They have the smallest territory and are very reclusive.

The Networkers are the second most advanced. They occupy the largest territory, which, combined with their limited speed, resulted in the evolution of their loud voices. Because traveling long distances takes so much time and energy, they have developed extensive communication systems. Their large territory is surrounded by vast mountains that isolate them from the rest of the world.

The Sparklers may be the most intelligent, but they were not always this way. They were quite primitive for a very long time, until a devastating event occurred that made food and resources scarce. Only the ones intelligent and clever enough to find alternative sources survived, passing on their superior genes to their offspring, resulting in a period of rapid advancement. They are more advanced than the other species in some ways, but have not had sufficient time to build the infrastructure needed to implement larger scale systems.

The Walkers are the least advanced, but their high mobility allows them to develop long distance travel before anyone else. They have the second largest territory and are capable of surviving in various climates, allowing to expand their territory quickly.

The Walkers first discover the Networkers, and, both being herbivores, quickly establish a mutually beneficial relationship, sharing their travel and communication technologies.

Together they continue their expansion and discover the Sparklers. The Sparklers are aggressive at first, but quickly discover there is nothing they can do against the sheer scale of the combined Walkers and Networkers. They are clever and intelligent enough to recognize the benefits of joining the coalition and combining their intellect with the established infrastructure.

Quite some time passes before they discover the reclusive, but technologically superior Grabbers. Only then do they realize that the Grabbers have been monitoring and observing the other species' the whole time, subtly guiding events to ultimately lead to the peaceful unification of all four species.

From there, they continue their technological advancement together, using each of their unique strengths to accelerate growth. This leads to a period of rapid advancement, reaching and even surpassing that of modern humans.

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  • $\begingroup$ Only the sparklers are mentally able to invent complex technology, but they are not dexterous or communicative enough to do it alone $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2021 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @IcthysKing: Define complex? The stages described in this answer could all take place pre-industrial revolution, with the older species stuck in technological stagnation until they find the sparklers, and the sparklers unable to build their more complex imaginings until they can find suitably dexterous compatriots. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Aug 18, 2021 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs The non-sparklers can only make extremely simple tools, no more than what a monkey could make $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2021 at 21:13
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Yes its called domestication. The sparklers seems to be the smartest so they domesticate the others. The are the sparklers equivalent of horses, sheep, dogs and cats. There technology should develop with these other creatures in mind. This is simulator to our world were things like plows were designed by humans to be used by horses. Eventually technology would eliminate the need for theses other species but by that time they were be so integrated into the socity of the sparklers that they would be kept as house pets.

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