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This question already has an answer here:

The story describes the society of the species in question and how advanced they are in subjects such as mathematics, but toward the end of the story, it is revealed that

they are a cattle-like species who have no oppose-able thumbs, no arms and no manual dexterity whatsoever. They advance their ideas purely by visualizing and then verbally describing everything to others. Later they enlist the help of a lesser advanced, ape like species to perform manual labor.

marked as duplicate by user14111 story-identification Nov 30 '16 at 6:13

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"Second Dawn" by Arthur C. Clarke, collected in Expedition to Earth -- one of my favorite stories.

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