It has been noted by many that dolphins don’t have fire and any marine animal would have trouble developing technology. But we need fire on Earth. What if fire was not a thing, but something else allowed manipulation over the materials in the environment beyond what mere animals can do?
In this post I speculated on life in a superdense gas that would seem similar to a liquid in terms of being able to move through it, perhaps even is a supercritical fluid which has low viscosity and is compressible like a gas and has properties variously like gas or liquid. (Thanks to ArborianSerpent for the inspiring question. The inclusion of the ↭ is a complete coincedence as I did not notice his username until just now!)
Considering what oxgenated supercritical water is used for, I think that in general this atmosphere, being at a super-high pressure, will not be very reactive. So flame and fire using air as one of the reactents will not be a thing on this world.
Now I described these beings as tool users and hunter-gatherers. I already know how mermaids would “cook” and I was careful to say that meat was “prepared” for eating and animal materials could be “cured” or “preserved” for tools and materials use, without saying how.
So why does everyone say that technological development needs fire? What limits will they run into if they don’t have an effective and safe way to work with high temperatures? I suppose chemical reactions can geneate high temperatures which they learn to work with once they already have some level of technology.
Why do they need fire? Is there something present in their environment that can take its place? Is fire just a specific example of this enabling thing, the details of which can vary from planet to planet with radically different environments?