Created By: ErikModi on March 27, 2017 Last Edited By: ErikModi on May 2, 2017
Troped

Clash Of Evolutionary Levels

More evolved species inevitably, swiftly, and sometimes gleefully eradicate less-evolved species.

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I wonder, as well, doctor, if this same question wasn't asked by the last neanderthal about the first cro-magnon?
An apt question, Senator Kelly, and one with its own answer — for we all know what the first cro-magnon did to the last neanderthal.
Seantor Robert Kelly and Mystique, The Uncanny X-Men, issue 141

It is Common Knowledge that Cro-Magnon man exterminated the Neanderthal. And as we all know, History Repeats. Thus, it is inevitable that a more-evolved species of human (frequently "Homo superior") will exterminate a lesser-evolved species of human (frequently, our modern Homo sapiens sapiens.) Of course, because Humans Are Warriors, the less-evolved humanity does not go gentle, and fights back against the more-evolved version. Depending on where the work falls on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, co-existence may be easy, difficult, or impossible. Frequently, expect modern humans (whether they are more or less evolved than the version of human they're fighting against) to "draw first blood," because Humans Are Bastards (neanderthals shot first, basically the driving force behind X-Men.) Sometimes, however, homo superior is Genre Savvy enough to band together and institute The Masquerade to protect themselves until the day they inevitably take down those uppity neanderthals (basically the premise of the series Prey, see Live-Action TV below). And then, some homo superior Take a Third Option and say Screw This, I'm Outta Here! One of these species is likely to attempt (or actually employ) a Final Solution on the other.

Expect the humans on either side to cite the tale of the Neanderthal versus the Cro-Magnon man (the more-evolved human to justify their extermination of the lesser-evolved, the lesser-evolved to justify striking first against the more-evolved to preserve their own race). The Cro-Magnon, through his superior intellect, drove the Neanderthal to extinction everywhere he went in a very short span of time. The poor, brutish, stupid Neanderthal just couldn't compete with the vastly superior Cro-Magnon, and was put in its proper place (that is, nonexistence) by its more evolved cousin.

Except it (probably) didn't happen that way. While it was the leading theory for quite some time, more recent evidence has many anthropologists believing that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon's co-existed for quite some time, even interbreeding (many modern humans have some percentage of Neanderthal DNA). The evidence is very new, however, and the "extermination" model is still widely believed by many. As such, it's likely to show up in any work not made (or set) within the last few years.

However, the view that a more-evolved species will inevitably (and probably quickly) destroy a less-evolved species is slow to leave the public consciousness, and thus is still found in fiction. Thus, we have this trope: where the relentless antagonism between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, and Cro-Magnon's clear evolutionary superiority, spelled a rapid doom to the poor, hapless Neanderthal, and history is about to repeat/is repeating itself.

Sub-Trope of Evolutionary Levels, specifically involving Human Subspecies. A symptom (or justification) of Hollywood Evolution. Often invoked by the Evilutionary Biologist or Super Supremacist. A Social Darwinist is likely to cite this trope, painting whatever group he's against as the Neanderthals and his own group as the Cro-Magnons. See All Cavemen Were Neanderthals for more information. Has (probably) nothing to do with Cavemen Versus Astronauts Debate.

(Note that, while the trope isn't exclusively limited to hominid species, because Most Writers Are Human the trope is usually played out with Human Subspecies, or more rarely Human Aliens. The two species in question need to be closely enough related that they're subspecies, or one a subspecies of the other, otherwise the trope is The Right of a Superior Species.)


Examples

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    Comic Books 
  • The X-Men comics are all about this. Humans hate and fear mutants in part because of the belief that mutants will inevitably lead to the extinction of humanity. Of course, some mutants agree, and are all about hastening the inevitable. This viewpoint is sometimes exemplified by Magneto.
    • The Morlocks are mutants who decided not to get involved with either the X-Men (fighting to protect a humanity that hates and fears them) or the Brotherhood (fighting to destroy a humanity that hates and fears them), and instead chose to live deep in the tunnels under New York City. Take a Third Option didn't exactly work that well for them, though. . .
    • Included with a dose of Fridge Horror in Ultimate X-Men. It's stated in the comics that mutant birthrates are increasing rapidly, perhaps even geometrically. While it's never outright stated, it's implied that the fact mutants exist means humanity's days are numbered, and that number isn't large.
    • In Old Man Logan, Logan notes with some melancholic amusement that, in the end (at least within that particular Alternate Universe) the whole situation was All for Nothing: as his own children can showcase, the X-Gene isn't passed on to descendants of mutants. Mutant-hood was just a genetic 'burp' in evolution and would have probably died out quietly in time if not for the Great Offscreen War.

    Films - Live Action 
  • The Planet of the Apes franchise plays with this: advanced, evolved apes take over the Earth from Homo sapiens (portrayed as equally sapient or as de-evolved and animalistic, depending on the installment). The Apes typically look at humans as animals, to be kept as pets and beasts of burden. The immortal line "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" is memorable not just for the delivery, but because it's the first time Apes heard a human speak.
    • Apparently played to the hilt in War for the Planet of the Apes.
      The Colonel: You talk about mercy? No matter what you say, eventually you'd replace us. That's the law of nature.
  • Quest for Fire: An evolutionary four-way battle royale is playing out. The Wagabu, which resemble H. habilisnote , raid a village of Ulam which resemble H. neanderthalensisnote  and force them to flee. Later on, the Kzamm, which resemble H. erectusnote , are depicted as nomadic hunters of other hominids. Finally, the Ivaka, who are simply modern humans, end up getting along with the Ulam. It can be a subversion if you interpret the Ulam as neanderthals, as the movie was released in 1981.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey has a story arc at the dawn of civilization in which Moonwatcher and his tribe struggle for survival. There is another tribe known simply as the Others that often bully and intimidate Moonwatcher's clan. One morning, a towering, ominous monolith appears in Moonwatcher's home ground, which unnerves him and his companions. However, it's suggested (in the book, it's outright stated) that the monolith tweaks their brains so that they glean the idea of using bones and rocks as tools and weapons. The next time Moonwatcher's clan encounter the Others, they make short work of their foes; Beware the Quiet Ones, indeed.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Charles Xavier's doctoral thesis outright states the "Cro-Magnon exterminated Neanderthal'' theory, to set the tone for the film itself, as well as all chronologically subsequent films. Justified, since the film was set in the sixties when that theory was still in the majority.
    • In X2: X-Men United (chronologically some forty years after X-Men: First Class) a museum tour guide during the opening sequence talks about how it was once believed that the Cro-Magnons eradicated the Neanderthals, but more recent DNA analysis indicates that they interbred instead.

    Literature 
  • In the science fiction novel "Frostworld and Dreamfire", the planet Hraggellon has/had multiple offshoot humanoid species: the civilized local equivalent of Homo Sapiens; a species of near-sapients equivalent to australopithecines; and in between the two the Onhla, intelligent but utterly uncivilized, who don't even build shelters or wear more than a fur cloak for clothing. (Mention is also made in passing to an "extinct race of dwarves"). By the end of the novel the Onhla have all died of a civilization-bred plague and the semi-sapient species hunted to extinction.
  • Jean Auel's book series Earth's Children, especially "Clan of the Cave Bear," recount how young Cro-Magnon Ayla became an orphan, and was adopted into the Cave Bear clan of Neanderthals. Her superior intellect creates growing friction with the superstitious clan, ultimately leaving Ayla ostracized from the group as a teenager.
  • The Howard Families, in Robert A. Heinlein's Methuselah's Children. They aren't truly mutant, they're just the members of families who have voluntarily engaged in selective breeding for long lifespan. After several generations of this, members of the Howard Families (Mr Howard was the dude who ponied up the cash to make it work way back in the beginning) routinely live 25 to 30% longer than normal people, and the normal people refuse to believe that the Howard's don't have some secret formula or treatment that they aren't sharing. (It doesn't help that the Families tend to be very well off, too). Long story short: the government is pressured into starting a program to strip the Howards of their holdings and imprison them until they fork over the secret. The Howards manage to hijack a colony spaceship (don't ask) and take off for the stars to find a world where they will be safe. From there it basically becomes an homage to the The Odyssey. . .
  • In The Neanderthal Parallax, by Robert J. Sawyer, a gateway opens to a parellel Earth where Neanderthals became the dominant form in humanity and evolved a society which in many ways is at least as advanced as our Cro-Magnon Earth and in some ways outstrips it. From the Neanderthal point of view, their problem is that they chose to apply birth control and hence population control quite early on. They are outnumbered by a factor of thousands to one. Meanwhile, there are people on the overpopulated and spoilt Cro-Magnon Earth (ours) who see Neanderthal Earth as a godsend and plan to conquer it. To them the Neanderthals are a nuisance who should, at best, have the status of Native Americans on reservations following the conquest of the USA - and that's the liberal view. Others want to distribute diseases the Neanderthals have no defence against, and deal with the problem that way. . .

    Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Telepaths versus "mundanes" are this. While most of humanity's poor treatment of their telepaths is due to not-unjustifed fear of telepathic invasion of privacy, some of it is due to the fact that some humans fear telepaths are "homo superior," and their very existence means homo sapiens days are flat-out numbered. One wealthy industrialist goes so far as to create a telepath-specific virus, which would make all telepaths completely reliant on injections supplied by him or die. As his right hand man states, "on a level playing field, homo superior wins every time." And then there are some human telepaths who consider themselves homo superior, and are quite prepared to inherit the Earth Alliance once they've rid it of those pesky mundanes. For what its worth, the series itself strongly implies telepathy is the next step in human evolution (though it was kick-started by the Vorlons), and will ultimately lead to humans evolving into Energy Beings.
    • Subverted in the episode "Secrets of the Soul", where it was discovered that the Hyach had wiped out a subspecies of their people known as the Hyach-do over a thousand years previous, and the loss of genetic diversity was causing them to slowly die out from inbreeding.
  • The Syfy (then SciFi) series Prey was also about this trope. During a routine DNA test for a murder trial, the main character discovers the murderer's DNA is different enough from baseline humanity to qualify him as a different species, which leads to the discovery of a whole new species of humanity. This new species is Genre Savvy enough to remain hidden from humanity until they increase their numbers and technology sufficiently to decisively win the inevitable war against "baseline" humans. Thus, the main characters, with almost no one believing them, have to fight a covert war against this new species before old humanity is wiped out. Yeah, it's basically X-Men meets The X-Files.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In an instance where nature does most of the work, the Enterprise finds a planet peacefully cohabited by two slightly different species at different evolutionary levels. The dominant species had a genetic condition which slated them to die out in a couple hundred years, while the lesser species was evolving to replace them. The Enterprise ultimately did not assist the dominant species as it would alter the planet's natural development. Comparisons to Humans and Neanderthals were made to justify this decision.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40K: Invoked as the justification for Civil Warcraft for Tyranids (the other factions not really needing a reason to turn on each other): Tyranid fleets, being driven by an urge to consume everything they see and get the most adaptations out of it, will attack each other so that the fleet best suited for combat survives, the loser's adaptations and biomass serving the winner.
Community Feedback Replies: 106
  • March 27, 2017
    foxley
    In The Extraodinaires, the Neanderthals claim that the reason why the Cro-Magnons became the dominant species is because the Cro 0 Magnons bred faster than they did. In 1908, a small group of surviving Neanderthals plan to use Time Travel to travel back in time and Make Wrong What Once Went Right by wiping out the Cro-Magnons before they can gain a foothold and become a threat to the Neanderthals.
  • March 28, 2017
    Madrugada
    Is this about Cro-magnons and Neandethals or a more general "a "more-evolved" species driving a "less-evolved" species to extinction"? Because the name and the description are all about Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals but two of the three examples you give have nothing to do with either Cro-Magnon or Neanderthals and the other one is just a passing mention of that theory.
  • March 28, 2017
    ErikModi
    It's intended to be about people using the old understanding of the Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon feud as a justification for a more-evolved species destroying a less-evolved species in general. I'm open to alternate names if that would help, as well as making the description more clear.
  • March 28, 2017
    Snicka
  • March 28, 2017
    Madrugada
    If that's what it's about then say that in the description instead of spending paragraphs explaining the concept and only defining the trope in the last clause of the last sentence of the last paragraph.
  • March 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Since this trope involves Evolutionary Levels, Hollywood Evolution should be mentioned somewhere.
  • March 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Exterminating the "inferior" species in favor of the "superior" one is often the goal of an Evilutionary Biologist.
  • March 28, 2017
    ErikModi
    Added references to Evolutionary Levels, Hollywood Evolution, Evilutionary Biologist, and Social Darwinist. Edited the description so it's hopefully more clear.

    Clash of Evolutionary Levels is certainly a good possibility.
  • March 28, 2017
    Snicka
    How does this relate to All Cavemen Were Neanderthals? (As far as I understand, that trope is about portraying any prehistoric human as a large and bulky, hairy and heavy-browed, club-wielding savage.)
  • March 28, 2017
    ErikModi
    I'm not sure it does.
  • March 28, 2017
    Madrugada
    The definition of the trope is still buried at the very end of a largely irrelevant essay on anthropology.
  • March 29, 2017
    Snicka
    Yes, I suppose the anthropology story could be turned into an example under a Real Life header - what do you think?
  • March 29, 2017
    Madrugada
    In a very much shortened form, possibly.
  • March 29, 2017
    ErikModi
    Real Life could expand on the topic, but the whole point of the trope, to my mind, is "Cro-Magnon exterminated Neanderthal because they were so much better, so homo superior must eradicate homo sapiens because we/they are so much better." So the "essay" about the Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal conflict, how it's perceived versus how it (probably) played out, is very relevant to the trope's description.
  • March 29, 2017
    Madrugada
    No, "Cro Magnon eradicated Neanderthal because they were just so much better" is preamble. It's the seed, the source of the trope, but it's not the trope. The actual trope; the writer's convention; the storytelling tool is "Homo superior must eradicate homo sapiens because we/they are so much better."" We're about cataloging tropes. We want the definition of the trope front and center.
  • March 30, 2017
    ErikModi
    I thought my rewrite on the first paragraph accomplished that. If not, I'm open to suggestions for making the trope itself more clear.
  • March 30, 2017
    ErikModi
    Just had a thought, actualky. How about opening with "We all know Cro-magnons exterminated neanderthals. And we all know history repeats itself. Thus, whenever a new species if human evolves, it must therefore exterminate the lesser-evolved version, which is typically our modern humanity."
  • March 30, 2017
    Madrugada
    Yes. That works to open. Yes.
  • March 30, 2017
    Lumpenprole
    In the science fiction novel "Frostworld and Dreamfire", the planet Hraggellon has/had multiple offshoot humanoid species: the civilized local equivalent of Homo Sapiens; a species of near-sapients equivalent to australopithecines; and in between the two the Onhla, intelligent but utterly uncivilized, who don't even build shelters or wear more than a fur cloak for clothing. (Mention is also made in passing to an "extinct race of dwarves"). By the end of the novel the Onhla have all died of a civilization-bred plague and the semi-sapient species hunted to extinction.
  • March 30, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    I dig the Shout Out to X Men on that opening. Whatever you do, Man, dont lose it.
  • March 30, 2017
    ErikModi
    @marcoasalazarm Sorry, I had to ditch it for the new opening to make sense. But hopefully I've made it up to you with adding a page quote.

    Rewrote the first paragraph to hopefully explain the trope more succinctly, in accordance with Madrugada's suggestions. I now feel the second to last paragraph is superfluous, but I want to hold off on deleting it until others decide if it's worthwhile. This hopefully puts the Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon essay in greater context as it relates to the trope in question. As I explained to Madru in a PM, the idea for the trope hit me while using the Marvel Unlimited app to read old X-Men comics (starting with the first appearance of Phoenix) and seeing the "As Cro-Magnon exterminate Neanderthal, so must Mutant exterminate Human" argument crop up seemingly every five issues, stated by one side or the other. So I still feel that having some relationship to the Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal divide, both how it's perceived and how modern anthropological theory models it, is relevant to the trope itself, though if there's sufficient disagreement I'll shuttle it off to a Real Life example (which will probably count as a subversion).

    I still welcome anyone and everyone's feedback regarding the trope itself and its description, as well as more examples.
  • March 30, 2017
    Madrugada
    Excellent! And really, the second to last paragraph can stay: restating the definition in a conclusion isn't a bad thing as long as both definitions agree.

    Now, (you're gonna hate me for this :) ) You'll want to cover the variations where homo sapiens preemptively moves against homo mutens (Neanderthals shot first) and where the homo mutens immediately starts a Masquerade (or executes a mass exodus) out of concern that homo sapiens is going to shoot first.
  • March 30, 2017
    ErikModi
    Actually, that plays really well. The first is basically what X-Men is all about, the latter is exactly the premise of the series Prey, already an example.

    And I thank you for your continued assistance in making this truly launchable.
  • March 30, 2017
    Madrugada
    Like I told you in the PM.

    And I'll give you a "mass exodus" example: The Howard Families, in Robert Heinlein's Methuselahs Children. They aren't truly mutant, they're just the members of families who have voluntarily engaged in, not to put too fine a point on it, selective breeding for long lifespan. It's completely voluntary but when someone waves a healthy chunk of money at you and says "you can have this if you marry someone from <this list of people> and have lots of babies..." well, it's selective breeding. After several generations of this, members of the Howard Families (Mr Howard was the dude who ponied up the cash to make it work way back in the beginning) routinely live 25 to 30% longer than normal people. And the normal people refuse to believe that the Howard's don't have some secret formula or treatment or something that they aren't sharing. (It doesn't help that the Families tend to be very well off, too). Long story short: the government is pressured into starting a program to strip the Howards of their holdings and imprison them until they fork over the secret. The Howards manage to hijack a colony spaceship ( Don't ask) and take off for the stars to find a world where they will be safe. From there it basically becomes an homage to the The Odyssey..
  • March 30, 2017
    ErikModi
    Great example, added. You also reminded me that X-Men's Morlocks are also an example of the "Screw This Im Outta Here" reaction.
  • March 31, 2017
    Snicka
    • The Planet Of The Apes franchise plays with this: advanced, evolved apes take over the Earth from Homo sapiens (portrayed as equally sapient or as de-evolved and animalistic, depending on the installment).
  • March 31, 2017
    Gatomon41
    Related to Human Subspecies? Or at least when used by writers to explain why Human Subspecies tend to struggle with each other or justify why Human or alien Subspecies don't show up in a setting.
  • April 1, 2017
    Snicka
    The cro-magnons may resort to a Final Solution against the neanderthals.
  • April 1, 2017
    ErikModi
    Good catch, Gatomon 41. Thank you.
  • April 1, 2017
    Snicka
    I haven't read The Time Machine, but isn't the conflict between the beast-like Morlocks and the childish Eloi something similar to this?
  • April 2, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    I don't think so. This trope seems to revolve around a more developed, advanced or otherwise fit species eradicating or displacing its predecessor. In The Time Machine, there isn't any of this happening — the Eloi are to childlike and passive to do anything of note, and the Morlocks are caring for the Eloi's needs and farming them for food out of instinct as much as anything else (basically, they're the descendants of worker classes who spent their entire lives toiling in factory complexes underground to benefit the rich who evolved into the Eloi, and habits stuck). Both species have regressed heavily — the Eloi are basically children and the Morlocks are basically animals.
  • April 2, 2017
    ErikModi
    And from what I recall (seeing the original movie many, many years ago, and only once), neither the Eloi or the Morlocks are really intelligent enough to make the connection that "we're more advanced than the other, so we should get rid of them."
  • April 2, 2017
    Madrugada
    All of that is true, in addition, neither the Eloi not the Morlocks is trying to exterminate the other. It's a weird symbiotic relationship, not a displacement one.
  • April 2, 2017
    sarysa
    I don't know if you're looking for name suggestions (the name does seem a bit specific and doesn't lend to being viewed as a metaphor), but how about:

    Evolution Marches On

    The name invokes other BlankMarchesOn tropes where Y eventually overruns X, and "marches on" has a warfare subtext which lends well to the trope. The major downside to my suggestion is it's not implicitly limited to hominids.
  • April 2, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    To my understanding, the "X Marches On" tropes refer specifically to a work portraying or revolving around something that was accurate or current when the work was made but was discovered to be wrong or abandoned later. (e.g. Science Marches On is about a work including a theory or scientific view later proven wrong, Technology Marches On is when a work includes then-current technology in a near-future setting that became outdated before the work's time came about in real life, Society Marches On is when social standards a work assumes will last into the future don't last, and so on).

    Also, does this trope have to be limited to hominids?
  • April 2, 2017
    Madrugada
    1) That's exactly what the "Marches on" family of tropes is, ~Theriocephalus. So Evolution Marches On would be a very bad name on three counts: it would be an unnecessary snowclone,;2) it would be actively misleading, and 3) it's not whatthis trope is about. This trope is about the confrontation/extermination, not the evolution. Evolutionary Confrontation, Evolutionary Extermination... something like that.

    Limited to hominids? I don't see why.
  • April 2, 2017
    sarysa
    Maybe I'm too liberally applying the notion of one thing ultimately displacing something else. After all, legitimate neuroscience displaced phrenology (which was referenced in Star Trek) and technology frequently makes its predecessor obsolete to the point of Lost Technology if there are no enthusiasts to recreate it.

    re: where I got the idea of it being limited to hominids, the description and name narrows its scope and I looked at 5 examples, which were all hominids. (I count Rubber Forehead Aliens even though some (i.e. Klingons) evolve from a completely different class of species.

    In any case, +1 support for Evolutionary Confrontation...it couldn't better fit the trope description.
  • April 2, 2017
    ErikModi
    It's not strictly limited to hominids, though because Most Writers Are Human the trope tends to focus on human or human-like beings when it comes up.

    I am open to renaming the trope if need be. I rather like the Clash Of Evolutionary Levels suggested above, personally.
  • April 4, 2017
    ErikModi
    So. . . thoughts on changing the name?
  • April 4, 2017
    sarysa
    Make a crowner? I guess the frontrunners are Clash Of Evolutionary Levels and Evolutionary Confrontation. Maybe include Evolutionary Extermination as well.
  • April 5, 2017
    ErikModi
    Not sure what a "crowner" is.
  • April 5, 2017
    sarysa
    It's described here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Administrivia/HowCrownersWork

    Scroll down to Alternative Titles
  • April 5, 2017
    ErikModi
  • April 6, 2017
    ErikModi
    Looks like Clash Of Evolutionary Levels and Evolutionary Confrontation are tied. About how long should I let voting go on?
  • April 6, 2017
    Getta
  • April 7, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Literature
    • Jean Auel's book series Earths Children, especially "Clan of the Cave Bear," recount how young Cro-Magnon Ayla became an orphan, and was adopted into the Cave Bear clan of Neanderthals. Her superior intellect creates growing friction with the superstitious clan, ultimately leaving Ayla ostracized from the group as a teenager. Adapted into a feature film in 1986 by Warner Bros.
  • April 7, 2017
    sarysa
    This Film - Live Action example may be too YMMV, but you decide:

    • Quest For Fire: An evolutionary four-way battle royale is playing out. The Wagabu, which resemble H. habilisnote , raid a village of Ulam which resemble H. neanderthalensisnote  and force them to flee. Later on, the Kzamm, which resemble H. erectusnote , are depicted as nomadic hunters of other hominids. Finally, the Ivaka, who are simply modern humans, end up getting along with the Ulam. It can be a subversion if you interpret the Ulam as neanderthals, as the movie was released in 1981.
  • April 7, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ I don't think it's YMMV, it still shows human species that are on different "evolutionary levels" at war with each other.
  • April 7, 2017
    sarysa
    ^ The YMMV part is my take as to which hominids they represent. Someone in the movie's WMG has a different interpretation. Wikipedia claims Word Of God (the book) says it's two neanderthal tribes vs. two human tribes, though visually only the modern humans fit this claim.

    v—— No, no, no...I compared pictures and made an educated guess as to what the hominid subspecies were. The book's canon says something different, but on screen they look nothing like the book's canon. That's what I mean.
  • April 7, 2017
    ErikModi
    The trope isn't meant to be horribly strict as to which two (or more) specific Human Subspecies are in conflict, so I think it's perfectly valid.
  • April 7, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Then lose the "neantherthals and cro-magnons"? I don't think it needs to be covered that much beyond a note around the middle/bottom of the description for how this occurred IRL.
  • April 7, 2017
    ErikModi
    Yeah, that's why there's a crowner for changing the name. The idea comes from the "fact" that Cro-Magnon exterminated Neanderthals, thus it's "inevitable" for any more evolved (usually human) species to destroy a less evolved (usually human) species. Madrugada took me to task over the lack of properly-informative description already.
  • April 7, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Just out of curiosity, how would you count Moonwatcher's tribe and the Others from Creator.Arthur C Clarke's saga Literature.Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey? Technically, both tribes are on the same evolutionary hominid plane; the arrival of the Monolith skews events in favor of Moonwatcher's tribe, as they become the first to carry and use crude tools and weapons.
  • April 7, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ I think it counts. Thanks to the Monolith, the Moonwatchers start using crude tools and weapons (thus becoming more "evolved", not physically, but in mental abilities), and they use it to exterminate the non-tool-using tribe. (Is that what actually happens? I only saw the movie, never read the book.)
  • April 8, 2017
    Getta
    I wonder if this can happen to nonhumans.
  • April 8, 2017
    ErikModi
    @Getta Indeed it can. We had a brief discussion about that a bit earlier, and I edited the description to include a tag at the end about that.

    For 2001, the film at least heavily implies (and I believe the novel outright states) that it's the monolith's presence which triggered a new phase of human evolution, resulting in humanity (and, eventually, beyond). The novel is more a novelization of the film, mind. . . Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick were collaborating on making a sci-fi movie, with Clarke creating most of the story. So in this case, I'd categorize the film a "higher" canon than the book, though the book does add (some) badly needed clarity to the film's more outre moments.
  • April 8, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ In that case, 2001 is also an example.
  • April 8, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Literature or Film Live Action
    • Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey has a story arc at the dawn of civilization in which Moonwatcher and his tribe struggle for survival. There is another tribe known simply as the Others that often bully and intimidate Moonwatcher's clan. One morning, a towering, ominous monolith appears in Moonwatcher's home ground, which unnerves him and his companions. However, it's suggested (in the book, it's outright stated) that the monolith tweaks their brains so that they glean the idea of using bones and rocks as tools and weapons. The next time Moonwatcher's clan encounter the Others, they make short work of their foes; Beware The Quiet Ones, indeed.
  • April 8, 2017
    Getta
    Super Supremacist sounds related.
  • April 9, 2017
    ErikModi
    Good catch, thanks.
  • April 9, 2017
    ErikModi
    Think I'll leave voting up at least a few more days.
  • April 9, 2017
    zarpaulus
    • A particularly poorly-received episode of Star Trek Enterprise featured an alien race that had all suddenly developed a terminal disease while another "primitive" species from their home planet were developing super-intelligence because of "evolution". Pretty much everybody agreed that episode made no sense whatsoever.
    • Subverted in the Babylon Five episode "Secrets of the Soul", where it was discovered that the hyach had wiped out a subspecies of their people known as the hyach-do over a thousand years previous, and the loss of genetic diversity was causing them to slowly die out from inbreeding.
  • April 9, 2017
    sarysa
    ^ err, I think a do-over of that rather biased YMMV entry for Enterprise is in order. Such as:

    • Star Trek Enterprise: In an instance where nature does most of the work, the Enterprise finds a planet peacefully cohabited by two slightly different species at different evolutionary levels. The dominant species had a genetic condition which slated them to die out in a couple hundred years, and the Enterprise ultimately did not assist them as it would alter the planet's natural development. Comparisons to Humans and Neanderthals were made to justify this decision.

    v—— I've grown attached to Enterprise myself, but saying Pretty much everybody agreed that episode made no sense whatsoever. is biased and YMMV AF. (plus I appreciated what they were trying to do, even though I can think of a half dozen ways the dying species could've fixed their own problems)
  • April 9, 2017
    ErikModi
    Not particularly a fan of Enterprise myself, but I rather thought that episode at least tried to raise some interesting point. Good catches, still; I'd forgotten about the Hyach-do.
  • April 10, 2017
    Getta
    So... are we still keeping this name?
  • April 10, 2017
    zarpaulus
    That episode of Enterprise made no sense whatsoever, it's not even close to how evolution works. My first draft of that entry included multiple uses of for no apparent reason.
  • April 12, 2017
    Malady
    Web Original:

    Whateley Universe: From The Braeburn Report, there is discussion of mutants overtaking baseline humanity and past events of hominoid species wiping out the previous ones: note 
  • April 10, 2017
    ErikModi
    @Getta: See Above

    @zarpaulus: Complaining About Shows You Dont Like

    @Malady: I think we need a little bit more to the description than what appears to be a quote.
  • April 10, 2017
    Getta
    1) if this isn't strictly about those two human subspecies then there's no use on using that as a title.

    2) "Expect the humans on either side to cite the tale of the Neanderthal versus the Cro-Magnon man..." That sounds too limiting. This trope can happen without it being an allusion to those two human subspecies.

    3) "Clash Of Evolutionary Levels" is at the top of the crowner.
  • April 10, 2017
    ErikModi
    Yeah, I'm letting voting go a little bit longer before changing the title, though it looks like "Clash of Evolutionary Levels" is going to win.

    As I point out at the end, the trope is almost always about Human Subspecies, and playing it with Human Aliens is very rare, and other aliens almost nonexistent. So yes, the description mostly relies on the human perspective and the Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon conflict, because that's how its likely be described in a work to the audience itself.
  • April 10, 2017
    Malady
    ^ How about now? It should be trimmed down, but I'm not sure what to keep and what to cut...
  • April 11, 2017
    ErikModi
    ^ Your folder is not openable. Also, I think we need quotes less than we need a description for how this trope is used in that work. Which species is the "Neanderthal" and which is the "Cro-Magnon?" How are the species handling the conflict? Is one trying to wipe out the other, or are they both trying to do unto others but do it first?
  • April 11, 2017
    Malady
    ^ Wow. I didn't know notes could hide that much text...

    Okay, the basic idea is that mutants are a small species that is going to dominate by breeding true and, with superpowers, the baseline humans are afraid that the mutants are gonna wipe them out.

    But, I suppose the Mutant Supremacists, which see mutants as more evolved and are trying to eradicate humanity, or something, would fit more?
  • April 11, 2017
    ErikModi
    Well, the trope can be played from either side. . . the "neanderthals" afraid the "cro-magnons" will replace them and so strike first to avoid their inevitable extinction, or the "cro-magnon's" deciding that since it's inevitable they'll replace the "neanderthals," let's just go ahead and get it over with.

    It's sounding, from your description, like a situation pretty similar to X-Men, with some mutants wanting to exterminate and replace humans, some humans wanting to exterminate mutants first, but a lot of humans and mutants just wanting to live together in peace. If that's the case, maybe the example should read something like "A situation similar to that in X-Men exists in Whateley Universe."
  • April 11, 2017
    Malady
    ^ I think it's against the rules for the whole of an example's context to rely on another entry, even though, as something that spawned from X-Men fanfic, it is accurate. n
  • April 12, 2017
    ErikModi
    Well, keep mulling it over.

    I'll close voting either tomorrow when I get home from work or Friday.
  • April 12, 2017
    Malady
    ^ Okay, separated into three different extinction events in the note.
  • April 13, 2017
    AgProv
    Literature
    • In The Neanderthal Parallax, by Robert J Sawyer, a gateway opens to a parellel Earth where Neanderthals became the dominant form in humanity and evolved a society which in many ways is at least as advanced as our Cro-Magnon Earth and in some ways outstrips it. From the Neanderthal point of view, their problem is that they chose to apply birth control and hence population control quite early on. They are outnumbered by a factor of thousands to one. Meanwhile, there are people on the overpopulated and spoilt Cro-Magnon Earth (ours) who see Neanderthal Earth as a godsend and plan to conquer it. To them the Neanderthals are a nuisance who should, at best, have the status of Native Americans on reservations following the conquest of the USA - and that's the liberal view. Others want to distribute diseases the Neanderthals have no defence against, and deal with the problem that way...
  • April 13, 2017
    ErikModi
    ^ Good one.

    And it looks like we're going with Clash Of Evolutiinary Levels.
  • April 13, 2017
    zarpaulus
    • In X 2 X Men United (chronologically some forty years after X-Men: First Class) a museum tour guide during the opening sequence talks about how it was once believed that the Cro-Magnons eradicated the Neanderthals, but more recent DNA analysis indicated that they interbred instead.
  • April 14, 2017
    CactusFace
    • Stellaris has intelligent, but not yet sentient animals that can sometimes be found on planets. There is a policy that decides if you allow this animals to coexist with your people, or if you just kill them all to make space for your people.
  • April 15, 2017
    ErikModi
    The Stellaris example is more Right Of A Superior Species, I think, since the animals are on alien planets so aren't related to your species.
  • April 15, 2017
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Are you referring to the pre-sentient species that can be uplifted? Otherwise I'm not sure what you're talking about.
  • April 15, 2017
    rodneyAnonymous
    This draft begins "As we all know, the Cro-Magnon man exterminated the Neanderthal." This is false: violence is one of several plausible hypotheses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_extinction

    Also, biologists do not speak in terms of "less-" or "more-evolved". (For example, two extant species have been evolving for the same period of time; those terms are not meaningful.) That sort of language is itself an example of Hollywood Evolution and should not be presented as factual.
  • April 15, 2017
    zarpaulus
    ^ This is a Hollywood Evolution trope. Though I admit it could be stated more clearly.
  • April 16, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    I agree. "As popular culture would have it, the Cro-Magnon man exterminated the Neanderthal." might be better phrasing.

    On that note, I'm fairly certain that Neanderthals and modern humans are still considered separate species. Even if they aren't, I'm dubious about the reason given for classifying them together. Neanderthals and our ancestors doing some of the same things does not make them a single species — even as separate species one could perfectly well learn from the other.

    On that note, there's to my knowledge a gap of at least 20,000 years between the last known Neanderthals dying out and the invention of writing (writing's 4,000 or so years old, and the neanderthals are assumed to have lasted until 24,000 years ago at the most, some researchers push the date back to 30,000 years ago or more), with the Cro-Magnons living in the same timeframe as the Neanderthals. Neither group wrote.

  • April 17, 2017
    ErikModi
    @zarpaulus: Yeah, from what it looks like in the Stellaris example, it's about the potential to wipe out less-evolved alien life, not less-evolved versions of your own species, which is what this trope is about.

    @rodneyAnonymous: Yes, that's why the first sentence links to Common Knowledge, since it's pretty much exactly what I understand Common Knowledge to be about: things everyone knows but aren't actually true. And yes, the trope wouldn't exist without Hollywood Evolution, so I call it out in the end section.

    @Theriocephalus: Neanderthals are more commonly classed as a subspecies of human, though there are holdouts who still insist they're a separate species. The models are constantly evolving (pun only slightly intended). And while it's true that writing as we understand and practice it is much more recent, cave paintings are increasingly being linked to neanderthals, and can be considered a root of what would become writing (using symbols to communicate relatively complex ideas). I admit that assertion isn't exhaustively sourced, so I can jettison it if it's problematic.
  • April 21, 2017
    rodneyAnonymous
    1. The Common Knowledge link is a Sink Hole. As that page says, "In a wiki, it's better to pot hole words which represent the article they are linked to." Do not use pothole links to modify the meaning of the text, especially not to mean the opposite. Write what you mean.
    2. Using the phrases more-evolved and less-evolved is wrong. Even the proposed laconic is written in those terms. Saying "wrong" "wrong" "wrong" "wrong" "wrong" "that was wrong on purpose" is unclear at best and misleading at worst. Lead with the explanation that it's a fictional perspective. (Also, don't rely on a reader understanding a second article in order to understand this one. That is also relevant to the first point.)
  • April 19, 2017
    ErikModi
    1. I did write what I mean. It is Common Knowledge that Cro-Magnon's exterminated Neanderthals, even though that isn't exactly what happened (which is described in the trope description itself). Since a lot of works using this trope pointed to that event when the Common Knowledge was the accepted scientific model, it makes sense (as in the X-Men: First Class example, and most of the X-Men franchise in general). More modern works will probably still use the old model, either because it makes the analogy more germane to the story they're trying to tell, or the writers Did Not Do The Research and didn't realize Science Marches On.

    2. "More-evolved" and "less-evolved" is wrong in real life, but this trope isn't about real life. It's firmly parked in the realm of Hollywood Evolution, so the common idea that species A is just plain superior to species B is basically the foundation of the trope. Explaining why those terms are false risks expanding the "essay" portion of the trope description to ridiculous and irrelevant levels, that's what Hollywood Evolution and Evolutionary Levels are for. You get those tropes, this one makes sense. You know why those tropes don't work in reality, you know why this one doesn't work, either.

    With all due respect, Madrugada and I already went around about this. Check the other comments to see how Madru helped me arrive at the current structure. Note that this is not me saying "Everything's perfect the way it is, deal with it." I haven't launched this yet because I want to make absolutely certain that it's as good as it can be when it goes live. I am certainly willing to change things, but I want to make sure the changes are necessary and improvements. Explaining my reasoning why the trope is written the way it is, I think, is important to facilitate constructive communication. Which is not to say that I find your comments non-constructive, I do see your point and do think it has merit. I just want to make sure that my reasoning is well-understood as well.
  • April 20, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    All right, I've been doing some research on the neanderthal classification thing, and every source I could find — nearly every article published after the 90's and all the recent ones I could find on Nature, plus the Smithsonian Museum's website — is clear about classifying the Neanderthal as Homo neanderthalensis. Where did you find that it's been reclassified?
  • April 20, 2017
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^^ The text says "As you know, Cro-magnon Man exterminated the Neanderthals." That is the part that should say what it means: the text itself. The "thought to be true, but isn't" meaning is given by the pothole. Potholes shouldn't be used that way.
  • April 21, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Because this is a trope about misconception, it's okay to open this with a misconception. Right?
  • April 21, 2017
    Malady
    ^ I'm thinking that's sarcasm, but no Sarcasm Mode, but in any case, I think it's a bad idea...
  • April 21, 2017
    ErikModi
    @Theriocephalus: Hmm. Guess I was working from a slightly older source without realizing it. See the last two sentences of the first paragraph here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

    @rodneyAnonymous: I still contend it is saying what I mean: That is a commonly-held belief, even as the scientific model has changed, and is the belief that this trope is founded on. The newer belief that things didn't really go down like that is not explained by Common Knowledge, but rather in the trope itself, to provide perspective. Thus, the opening sentence does not derive it's meaning from Common Knowledge, but is an example of Common Knowledge. The way I'm looking at it, at least.
  • April 21, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ Maybe get Common Knowledge out of the pothole, and rephrase the opening sentence like this: "According to Common Knowledge, the Cro-Magnon man exterminated the Neanderthal man."
  • April 22, 2017
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^ The existence of the pothole isn't a problem, the problem how the pothole is used. It is correct style for the text to make sense without links, and mean the same thing with or without them. Changed the first sentence a little.

    ^^ The misconception does not have to do with a changing scientific model. The X-Men films make other false claims, like that there are people who can teleport and shoot fireballs. As far as I know, it has never been the consensus that the Neanderthal extinction was due to violence. It's easy to avoid making erroneous statements about reality: don't make any statements about reality. (Edited third paragraph to make less specific claims.)

  • April 22, 2017
    ErikModi
    Well, nice to know you listened to my reasoning and attempted to understand my position. Thanks so much for your respect and consideration.
  • April 24, 2017
    Madrugada
    Rodney is right, though. Using a hidden pothole to change the meaning of a sentence is heavily frowned on. In this case, you're stating "It is this way." and relying on them to mouseover the pothole,a and see that it's to "Common Knowledge, and realize that that means "Really, it isn't that way." Making the opening sentence read: "It's Common Knowledge that..." gets rid of the sinkhole.
  • April 24, 2017
    ErikModi
    Fair enough.
  • April 24, 2017
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: sed as the justification for Civil Warcraft for Tyranids (the other factions not really needing a reason to turn on each other): Tyranid fleets, being driven by an urge to consume everything they see and get the most adaptations out of it, will attack each other so that the fleet best suited for combat survives, the loser's adaptations and biomass serving the winner.

  • April 24, 2017
    rodneyAnonymous
    Why revert the edits about this ever being a "leading theory" (?). Edit warring on a TLP draft is a very bad sign. Wiki editing may not be for you.
  • April 24, 2017
    ErikModi
    A) Because it was, up until very recently, actually (more recently than I thought, even). B) Because you never mentioned any objection to that portion of the trope description until you just went ahead and changed it. C) Because abbreviated description of the Science Marches On aspect is, I think, germane to the description of the trope itself (explaining why the "As Cro-Magnon exterminated Neanderthal, so must X exterminate homo sapiens" analogy crops up in a large number of works which use this trope), and laying a foundation for future Discussed uses of the trope, wherein characters may actually bring up the newer model of Cro-Magnon-Neanderthal relations in rebuttal of attempts to invoke the trope. D) Because your change rendered that paragraph, in my opinion, so short as to be pointless. It had to be expanded so it actually said something that contributed to the description, or cut completely. I feel it's still worth including. E) The theory does not, as you seem to claim, originate from X-Men. It was a well-founded and popular theory since it was first advanced in 1912, and has nothing to do with people throwing fireballs.
  • April 28, 2017
    ErikModi
    Anything else that needs to be done here?
  • May 1, 2017
    ErikModi
    I'll Launch it then, if there are no objections.
  • May 1, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ One suggestion before launch: in the last sentence of the first paragraph (the one about Final Solution), referring to the two human species as Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal is confusing, because up until that point, they were not referred to as such. I suggest to rephrase it as: "Often, one of the human species will employ a Final Solution on the other to prevent further conflicts."
  • May 2, 2017
    ErikModi
    Good call. The use of "Neanderthal" and "Cro-Magnon" as metaphors is kind of Metaphorgotten at this point.
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