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I'm tinkering around with an idea based on a mermaid civilization unbeknownst to humanity. The problem is, I'd rather write this with a better knowledge of what's scientifically possible, as opposed to pure fantasy.

My main question is how advanced could an underwater society be? Technology as we know it couldn't be practically implemented, so what sort of concepts could I play with?

I'm thinking I may just have to resort to them being more of native tribes. It's the only way I can think of them living without possible detection from humans.

Advice?

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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close as duplicate - this is a good question, but see the first answer: many questions cover this topic. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Nov 29 '16 at 1:20
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Assuming water basically acts in your world as it does in ours, then they're going to have real trouble confining heat (because of water's great heat capacity and conductivity); ditto creating/confining any soluble chemicals. They might make use of ocean currents for power, assuming usable building materials. What materials could they/would they use? Perhaps they can't -- until they start recycling materials from sunken ships.

On the other hand, any mermaid/man who could control local heating (and live to tell the tale) would have a fearsome power: cook or steam-explode one's enemies.

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