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Scratchera are a Revelian race, a race of rather small and agile anthropomorphic lizards. On Reaville, archosaurs and other saurians have grown to take the place of most modern-day mammals, which is relevant because Scratchera were more-or-less analogous to squirrels or monkeys.

However, soon after they gained intelligence from whatever caused their uplift, Scratchera swiftly overtook the others in terms of technological advancement, and demonstrated unusual engineering capabilities, with particularly talented individuals being able to disassemble or reassemble a firearm in seconds.

The question here is, how is this possible? That is rather sophisticated engineering, and would require this species to already be capable of and gifted in object manipulation, tool use, and general building.

But OP, don't you have some idea how this could have happened already?

Yes, indeed I do, and the point here is to polish this and see how feasible this scenario is. The idea is that Scratchera, due to a lack of hiding places or a lack of natural hiding places that work, survive by creating protective nests that are harder to get into or penetrate than natural hiding spots like cracks in rock or tree hollows.

In other words, a natural nest-building trait evolves through natural selection (ie. predators that claw apart rocks or trees to get at Scratchera) into a gift for resilient architecture. Magpie syndrome, which could develop before or after this gift enters the gene pool, further augments this by leading Scratchera to gather and utilize shiny minerals, gems, ores or metals in their construction.

An arms race then develops, where the Scratchera who are better at collecting and using metals and minerals instead of less solid materials like twigs, mud, and sap, are the only survivors. Yes, I recognize the Scratchera who develop and utilize better weapons as opposed to shelters could survive just as well as the architects, and I do believe they will evolve into a distinct subspecies.

TL;DR: given the right conditions (weather or predators, most likely) could a species of lizards with highly advanced engineering abilities (comparable to primitive or maybe even modern humans) feasibly develop?

Specifications for Best Answer:

  1. The best answer will explain how feasible this scenario is, and what conditions would be required to make it happen. This is critical, as while I have a good idea on what I want to keep in Reaville, I would appreciate the extra help on creating a real ecosystem out of Reaville. =)

  2. The best answer should also account for the possibility of Warmakers (the weapon-making subspecies mentioned above) and how that would influence the survival and/or development of Architects, which will be developing not just structures but also armor and shields to better defend themselves while they're out-of-doors as time goes on.

Please let me know if my question needs improvement, I'm open to and appreciate feedback as well as answers!

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  • $\begingroup$ ". . .would require this species to already be capable of and gifted in object manipulation, tool use, and general building." This depends on how the "uplift" works. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Dec 22, 2021 at 12:16

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/soon after they gained intelligence from whatever caused their uplift/

chaser

Scratchera were bred to be what they are.

Chaser and his 1022 toys

Chaser knew the names of 1022 toys. And not just that. Chaser was really smart. How could a wolf be so smart?

Chaser the border collie was no longer a wolf. Thirty thousand years of breeding made Chaser what he was. So too your Scratchers. They were uplifted. It took a while. On the way, they became something else - the things they are today.

Something wanted the Scratchers to be how they are. It is not an accident. Maybe those things are still around?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer! Considering the lore, this is most definitely the best answer, but I will definitely be using parts of all answers. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Dec 29, 2021 at 18:40
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A lizard is a small reptile with a physiology not handy for engineering

You creature may develop intelligence.

But engineering also involves building things. At first glance, I'd think lizards - reptiles, limited size, close to the ground, quadruped - would have a difficulty with "engineering", that is shape wise. Also reptiles are cold blooded animals, resulting in low energy, slow activity.. Your lizard may have a talent to build a well protected nest, it may have creative dreams, but I see a few issues with it.. in practice. Grounded limbs, rigid fingers, small size.

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  • $\begingroup$ There are lizards that go into a bipedal posture, and if there have been cold blooded mammals, I'm sure warm blooded reptiles can develop. As for the small size, that's not a problem with engineering, and the rigid fingers can be lost through natural selection as well. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Dec 22, 2021 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ I thought lizards had muscles even in the metacarpal portion of their hands/paws. Assuming that the relevant morphological changes occur, fine motor control manipulation isn't out of bounds. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely, things can always be improved.. I was told in school that tools could be developed thanks to an opposing thumb. If lizards would be warm blooded, that would solve the main issue.. I always wondered why reptiles are so easily brought forward in SF, as active and bad actors. They barely have the energy to keep themselves moving ! And yes, evolution could improve the hands too, if (and only if !) there has been any incentive in the natural environment to do so. When technological development starts, evolution slows down. From that point on, the organism can adjust its environment. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:53
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The Architects die out in the hunter-gatherer stage

Similar to how Sapiens eliminated Neanterthal, the Warmongers will eliminate the Architects during the hunter-gatherer phase.

Note: The below example is for ground-based species. For arboreal species the explanation is analogous. Just replace "spear" and "bow" with the appropriate stabby and shooty weapons, and "moat and drawbridge" with appropriate fortification. For example hollowed out tree trunk.

During the tribal nomadic phase, the Warmongers have invented the spear and bow while the Architects have only invented the moat and drawbridge. The bow and spear are superior in the hunter gatherer stage:

(a) You can carry them with you when your tribe has exhausted all the nearby food sources and moves to a new area. On the other hand, the fortifications need to be built again each time you move.

(b) You can build one spear in a day. At the end of the day you have a spear. You can stab things with the spear. On the other hand, in a day you can build a small section of moat. The section is no use until you have build the entire moat. This takes weeks. By then it is already time to move to a new place.

(c) A tribe of Warmongers will kill a tribe of Architects if they share the same area. The Warmongers win most fights outside the Architect fortress, since Warmonger spears and bows are more deadly than Architect sticks and rocks. The Architects' main defence is run back to their fortress. But there is no food source in the fortress. So the Warmongers just starve them out.

The upshot is that the Warmongers spread worldwide faster than the Architects, killing any they encounter along the way. After a few hundred years the Warmongers are the dominant species on the planet; all large predators have been eaten; and the Architects only remain on a few isolated islands and mountain ranges.

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Evolutional Pressures

In humans, our diet allowed for the developed of a larger brain. Our chosen environment initially forced humans to develop tools for hunting and fighting. Shelter was what ever cliff over hang or large tree they found for millions of years.

With your lizards, if their environment does not require constant fight for survival and they feed on a variety of soft bodied grubs, the need to develop weapons is not there. If the environmental pressure for this lizard to focus on shelter (to hide or protect from aggressive predators, such as the warmongers) for survival where some random cave wont do, then evolutional pressures would make the more creative of the species win out.

These lizard would start out simple, a little burrow underground. Over time, as they become more social and communal, a simple hole wont work. Their burrows would become more complex, with labyrinths, functional rooms, water drainage, ventilation doors etc.

All of this has been developed on Earth by non-humans, so its possible, such as ants and termites. As they improve their environment, their physiology will change as well. Eventually, complex tools will develop, increasing more sophisticated burrows and a better understanding of engineering.

To better survive, their diet would need to adapt, become more omnivorous. They would develop fungi farms, grub ranches etc. Once they can harness fire, their diets would expand, spurring further physiological changes and, as a side benefit, increased technological advancements.

Eventually, after millennia hiding underground in their cities, they emerge to find the world dominated by this warmonger species. They two do not occupy the same environment, so very little hostilities erupt between them. Instead, the lizards provide a trade of metals and resources only found under ground as the warmongers, still finding shelter under trees, provide access to timber and other goods found only in the sun lit surface.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great ideas, thank you! I like how it enables Warmongers and Architects to live side by side $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Dec 29, 2021 at 18:40

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