Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Stuff: Kelly Tarlton's octopus learns to take photos

Question: Could an intelligent species develop advanced technologies if they could never leave the ocean?

1 comment:

Chris_Winter said...

The answer depends somewhat on how "advanced technology" is defined. Trained as an electrical engineer, I tend to think of electronics first. That might be the most difficult form of advanced technology to develop under water. But of course a lot of the technology we use daily is purely mechanical.

So my answer is: Quite possible. Consider the piston. An octopus already has one. (Really it's more like a bellows, but like a piston it develops pressure by shrinking an enclosed volume.) The principle would be apparent to intelligent minds, and fashioning artificial equivalents would not be too difficult for manipulative species like squid or octopus. From that would flow, in time, both weapons and vehicles.

I haven't got time to expound on electronics or chemistry -- except to note the existence of electric eels and the shark's electric-field sensors. The evidence is there; it only remains to speculate on how far an intelligent, manipulative marine species would take it.