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In my story there are those creatures that produce this substance. The substance can be used for many things, e.g. as fuel, or source of excellent illumination, etc. This is a pre industrial revolution society.

I'm basically remaking sperm oil. But instead of a whale I want it to be a land creature. Nothing that we consider fish or an animal capable of flying nor can it be a bug.

It should not be too small or too light. Roughly 2.5 meters and 250 kg minimum. Though we should no go crazy with the size as well. I'm just giving somewhat relevant biological limitations to help design the aspect I want.

I imagine it's easily controlled, tends to be in herds. However it has a long pregnancy period. 16-18 month. They are herbivores by the way

Most relevant part is the substance. That is what I need help with.

Basically what are the plausible and realistic explanations of a creature developing such a substance and in large quantities?

I left all other aspects up to you because it's irrelevant. If someone wants to have it be produced to cool it down or another says it helps it navigate it's all the same to me.

All I care about is a biological reason for a creature to produce such a substance. Like having a somewhat reasonable biological bases for that.

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    $\begingroup$ What's wrong with the realistic explanation for why whales have blubber in the real world? Why do you need another plausible realistic reason? And you might be mistaking "large amounts" with the animal simply having lots of it because it is large. Other smaller animals have blubber too in proportion to their body size. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 27 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ DKNguyen, Because all the creatures that have it seem to not fit. They are either fish or birds or something similar. I thought that the creature produces a big quantity, relevant to their body size, though I'm still working out the amount and formula of said amount to useful application. Though of we want to get pedantic. I suppose the word large is very subjective. $\endgroup$
    – Seallussus
    Jul 27 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ For a very long time that creature was the olive tree. The classical Mediterranean civilization was illuminated at night with olive oil. Plus it's good to eat. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 27 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ Beeswax produced by honey bees is used to make candles also, but you eliminated bugs. 🐝 $\endgroup$
    – ermanen
    Jul 27 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ @alexp and like all vegetable oils, can be burned in a suitably designed/modified internal combustion engine, or the boiler of a steam engine. So this is also (except the "very long time" part) true of soybeans, dry corn, sunflowers, rapeseed/canola -- any oil crop. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jul 27 at 12:26

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Cows can be what you are looking for. Tallow was used in the past for making candles.

Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, primarily made up of triglycerides.

Tallow once was widely used to make molded candles before more convenient wax varieties became available—and for some time after since they continued to be a cheaper alternative. For those too poor even to avail themselves of homemade, molded tallow candles, the "tallow dip"—a reed that had been dipped in melted tallow or sometimes a strip of burning cloth in a saucer of tallow grease—was an accessible substitute. Such a candle was often simply called a "dip" or, because of its low cost, a "farthing dip" or "penny dip".

It checks all your points.

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    $\begingroup$ Historically it was mostly sheep rather than cows. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 27 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Basically any livestock you're already keeping for milk/wool/meat and has excess fat that's not particularly pleasant to eat. Sheep's tallow soap is... distinctively scented, if not quite as bad as unprocessed sheep fat. I don't think you'd keep an animal species only for this use though; much more efficient, in that case, to use plant oils (olive, laurel, coconut etc. have all been used). $\endgroup$
    – Ottie
    Jul 27 at 11:39
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Birds have a gland that produces oils that they rub on feathers to keep them waterproof. The behavior of rubbing this oil on feathers is called "preening". Emu oil is rendered from the fats in their body. As egg layers, they don't have a pregnancy, but oddly enough, male emus are the ones that incubate and raise the young. Perhaps on your world, the equivalent to emus are a herd animal that comes from a very marshy & rainy continent. As a result, they produce so much preen oil that they can be milked for the oil. Like our world's flamingos, the oil also contains colorings from what they eat so that the unfiltered oil could be used as a cosmetic.

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As @L.Dutch wrote tallow is a good starting point.

If you make the fat on the tail of this sheep a little bit more oily you have what you need. You can also add a little twist: the tail will grow back when it is cut, in this way you don't have to wait for the calves to grow to have a good supply.

Alternative:

If you can grow a bug similar to the shellac bugs in big quantities you can have an oil with many different possible applications.

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Cows

The question is about a 'substance'. That is why cows and methane is perfect. They create gasses as a by product and expell it. Much of which is methane. This can be used as fuel for movement as well as light. They produce it in large quantities and don't need to be killed for the substance. They are herbivores, live in herds, are 2,5m and 250kg+.

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Butter.

butter lamps

https://tnp.org/tag/tibetan-butter-lamps/

These are cool little lamps. They burn clarified butter.

Tibetan butter lamps are a common feature of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries throughout the Himalayas. Traditionally, Tibetans used clarified butter from dri (female yaks), but in exile they use ghee.

You can have a butter making animal. Or a milk making animal, and some of the milk is used for butter. Might I gently propose the milk be blue and the product of your version of the Star Wars Thala-siren, which looks just like the thala-siren from Star Wars? You could also use the face of the thala-siren for your own WB stack account picture. Just thinking out loud in my role as advocate for truth and beauty.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Thala-siren

thala siren

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