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->''"Pathetic Earthlings, hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror!"''
-->-- '''Ming the Merciless''', ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}''

Humanity is just plain less cool than the other sapient peoples of the universe. By any standard one cares to choose, aliens of any type are greater than or equal to humanity, with the occasional [[KryptoniteFactor weak point]], often due to their BizarreAlienBiology.

This makes sense in the case of aliens landing on Earth; you have to be pretty self-assured in your own abilities to risk landing on a rock dominated by near-hairless apes with nuclear weapons and [[HumansAreWarriors a history of murdering each other for any number of reasons]]. One would assume that a weaker alien - at least one without massively compensatory technology - would just keep right on flying, and go land on a planet full of [[Franchise/TheSmurfs Smurfs]].

Even in SpaceOpera, where humans do most of the landing, it's rare to encounter a species that is inferior to humanity in all ways; the CargoCult are usually not advanced technologically or mentally, but they may very well be stronger and tougher than their [[GodGuise so-called god.]]

In comics, nearly every alien is outright [[StockSuperpowers superpowered]]. Of course, almost all major characters in mainstream comics are {{super|Hero}}, so that's not so illustrative.

This is also a staple of TabletopGames and other fantasy games, where humanity is almost always the "Middle Race", with no one attribute that stands out, but instead a [[JackOfAllStats balance of all stats and abilities]] as they are usually the basis of the design of all other main races.

Just to add to the insult, [[WeAreAsMayflies they all live longer than humans]], too.

One thing humans can do to balance the scales, apparently, is mate with any of these superior species to create {{Half Human Hybrid}}s with those traits. Sometimes even humans that were only ''raised'' by aliens are likely to [[LamarckWasRight somehow "inherit" abilities]] from their foster parents. The [[HumanAliens more "human" the alien is]], the greater the apparent tendency to give them superpowers.

This may be due to the fact that aliens in fiction are, more often than not, either [[HumanAliens outwardly indistinguishable]] from humans or just humans with [[RubberForeheadAliens stuff tacked on]]. No actor would put up with the makeup artist taking parts away.

As if all the above wasn't humiliating enough, aliens also are viewed as ([[CulturalPosturing or view themselves as]]) morally stronger than weak-principled humans who do such unthinkable things as murder, rape, pillage and hate. Thus, they have the ethical imperative to put them all on [[HumanityOnTrial trial for their crimes]] if they so desire. Apparently, [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans are the ONLY sentient race in the whole universe who've ever killed one of their own kind in anger]]; [[CantArgueWithElves nobody ever questions this]].

Point any of this out in the presence of the hero, though, and you're likely to get yourself a PatrickStewartSpeech. Sometimes [[HumansAreFlawed the speech is justified]]; often even the physically superior aliens will admit that HumansAreSpecial for having accomplished so much with so ''little''.

On the other hand, sometimes human "inferiority" isn't necessarily a bad thing. While humans might lack the strengths of the aliens in question, they might also lack its ''weaknesses''. More than anything, humans are adaptable, oftentimes moreso than the supposedly "superior" races. [[FridgeLogic Unless you take into account]] that many of these weaknesses are usually very rare, while they can bathe in stuff that can kill humans in seconds.

This trope may be invoked as well by {{Physical God}}s, demons and magic or supernatural entities. Instead of "Puny Earthlings", they will usually call us "Puny mortals", but the rest [[Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible is basically the same]].

This trope is common because, even among Earthly life forms, most people (and intellectuals/writers) believe humans are {{squishy wizard}}s who hold an obvious advantage only in intelligence. Other animals are always faster, stronger, tougher and more agile than a human. In truth, humanity stacks up decently enough against many individual species rather than the vague "animal kingdom" amalgam that it is most often compared to, but quite badly against other predators in everything except for [[VictoryByEndurance endurance]]. It is in fact likely that a human (even prehistoric) deprived of their intelligence and thus ability to manufacture tools, clothing, and shelter would rapidly die from starvation and exposure. Other predators rely purely on their innate physical abilities. The fact that intelligence and the manual dexterity to apply it are simply ''our'' "innate physical abilities" doesn't change the fact that it seems like "cheating" to weigh such abilities against pure muscle, speed, or agility.

Compare and contrast BeingHumanSucks, which is where ''humans'' think they suck compare to the aliens. Contrast HumanityIsSuperior, HumansAreSpecial, HumansAreCthulhu, and HumansAreWarriors. See also HumansAreTheRealMonsters, HumansAreMorons, HumansAreAverage, and InsignificantLittleBluePlanet.

Not to be confused with ''Film/{{Earthlings}}.''



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The humans (and inexplicable {{Funny Animal}}s) of ''Franchise/DragonBall'' and its offspring are completely, pitifully underpowered. Case in point: the term "power level" was used liberally in the first season of ''Anime/DragonBallZ''; the higher someone's "power level," the stronger they were. An average human's power level is 5. The ''first'' villain we encounter in the series has a power level of ''1,200.'' Add the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil into the mix and you've got yourself a race that has apparently survived its entire existence on little more than a wing and a prayer.
** However, for [[SoLastSeason some]] reason [[HalfHumanHybrid human/Saiyan hybrids]] have the potential to be far more powerful than both races...
*** It's because (and this is humanities strong point) human's potential for growth is far stronger than any other race. Yeah by default humans are pretty wimpy, but guys like Krillan or Tien were able to get themselves to thousands of times stronger than they were. Combine that with a Saiyan's inhuman power and well....
** Ironically, it was by all appearances the exact opposite for a long time: the Earth of ''Dragon Ball'' was portrayed as a DeathWorld [[WorldOfBadass of Badass]] where you couldn't take two steps without running into monsters, magic, demons, dinosaurs, or humans that could match any of the above with CharlesAtlasSuperpower, SupernaturalMartialArts, or super-science like mecha and robots.\\
It was only with [[GenreShift the change from fantasy-adventure to sci-fi]] that several of the most powerful beings on Earth turn out to not be native, it's shown a single {{Mook|s}} from the galaxy's major power could enslave the entire planet (if not destroy it entirely), and Earth in general [[ContinuityDrift changes from]] a SchizoTech WorldOfWeirdness to a place much more like real life in the modern-day.
** That being said, the few humans who fight alongside the Saiyans (Tien, Krillin, Yamcha, and even Chiaotzu) are some of the strongest fighters in the universe, magnitudes more powerful than the old Saiyans or Frieza's Elite but unfortunately the series [[OvershadowedByAwesome focuses on the warriors that are many times stronger than even that.]] This is best shown in anime {{Filler}} where they beat the Ginyu force. For reference: Frieza's original power level is ''still'' used as the top of the ruler by most of the universe and Zarbon's power level of 24,000 is still considered impressive. The strongest human Z-Fighters have surpassed the former and even the weakest dwarf the latter by a large margin.
** It should be noted, however, that various things imply that Earth is fairly ''average'' on a cosmic scale, considering a ''baby'' Saiyan was considered enough to destroy the civilization of an average planet on their own. It's just that Saiyans, Namekians, and...whatever Frieza is are abnormally strong.
** The reason Saiyan's are so strong is because for at least thousands of years they were nothing but a warrior race that did nothing but fight, or train to fight all day, killing each other for resources to survive. Likewise Namekian's are either priests or warriors with no need to worry about sustaining themselves because they only need water to live, which the planet has in plenty. Meanwhile humans live mostly like regular world humans, working, farming worrying about making a living instead of anything else. Vegeta implies once that humanity could become a warrior race to rival the Saiyans in time. If they stopped with all that day to day life stuff and spent all their time perfecting combat skills instead that is.
* In ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', there are possibly-omniscient aliens capable of RewritingReality and surviving attacks which would kill a normal human... of course, this is softened somewhat by the fact that [[RealityWarper the most powerful being]] in the series is an otherwise normal human girl, or at least she would be [[LockedOutOfTheLoop if she knew of her powers.]] Her existence also caused a group of humans to gain PsychicPowers, though...
* In ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'', practically every world out there has access to {{Magitek}}... [[InsignificantLittleBluePlanet with one of the few exceptions being earth]]. Earthlings have zero magic culture since the vast majority of them have diddly squat magic capabilities. However, as though following some strange law of averages to balance all the puny earthlings, it's mentioned that when the exceedingly rare earth mages are found, they tend to be sickeningly powerful ones like Nanoha, Hayate, and Gil Graham.
* In ''Manga/OutlawStar'', there was an episode where there was an alien being [[spoiler:resembling a cactus]] that had the power to influence and control everything living around them. Subverted in that when its power didn't work, it was completely helpless. This led to a less-than-dignified death delivered by the hands...er, feet of the waifish [[TheLoad Melfina]].

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* While Franchise/TheDCU is probably the king of this trope thanks to Franchise/{{Superman}} et al., it's rather surprisingly averted in ''Franchise/GreenLantern [[TheChosenMany Corps]]'': there are a multitude of alien races, some of which are just plain better than humans, but most of which have their own advantages and disadvantages (one race has no concept of sound, another has no sight, one member is a [[GeniusLoci sentient planet]], another is a sentient strain of smallpox, and so on.) Humans do still get picked on, though (you can thank Hal for that one).
** It's also worth noting highly powerful superheroes like Superman, Franchise/WonderWoman, etc, really don't take kindly to other superpowered beings scoffing at the supposed lameness of humans (said scoffers usually have to eat their words due to [[BadassNormal good ol' human scrappiness]] winning out against high odds, and the protective heroes delivering smug "I told you so"'s.)
** Superman also claims without hesitation that ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' is the most dangerous man on the planet. Not Luthor, not Supes himself, but Batman. And Batman's too good of a friend to turn Supes into a liar.
** Plus the fact that Wonder Woman herself is an Earthwoman.
* ComicBook/{{Starfire}} from ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' is an alien who is actually superpowered by their own standards; she has the ability to fly, learn foreign languages through skin contact, superhuman strength and endurance, and the ability to shoot energy beams. All but the last of these is standard issue for her species.
* The ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} had multitudes of HumanAliens, each race with a specific power, but later {{Retcon}} and ContinuityReboot gave them a MetaOrigin as PhlebotinumRebel TransplantedHumans. Subverted by the one BadassNormal Earthling on the team, Karate Kid.
* While the Franchise/MarvelUniverse has less of this trope than DC, most aliens are still super-powered in some way. The most commonly seen aliens are the [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifting]] Skrulls and Dire Wraiths, the Kree and the Shi'Ar who both have greater strength and stamina than humans, and the Watchers and Celestials-- [[PhysicalGod fuggeddaboudit]]. Although the Comicbook/IncredibleHulk is an Earthling himself, [[HulkSpeak "HULK SMASH]] [[CatchPhrase PUNY HUMANS!"]]
* In ''Comicbook/ElfQuest'' not only do the elven main characters look down on humans because the elves all have [[TheBeautifulElite incredible looks]], lifespan and [[PsychicPowers abilities]], the readers so it seems, are [[AuthorAppeal expected to agree with them]]. All humans can be tricked by elves in a way a five year old wouldn't fall for in real life, and all the non-evil humans kiss the feet of the elves in that CantArgueWithElves way.
* In most comic book continuities though, the advantage humans have over the other races is that earth will have a ridiculously high concentration of humans with superpowers. There may be a whole planet of hawkmen, or a whole planet of shapeshifters, but humans are the ones that spontaneously mutate superpowers through random accidents or X-genes. Aliens with superhero level abilities will almost never have any variety in powers and conversely will have common weaknesses. And then there are the many humans, both good and evil, who will use their scientific abilities to create weapons and armor to even the odds when they fight their alien foes. The likes of ComicBook/IronMan and Doctor Doom might not have the same fancy innate abilities as the Skrulls or the Shi'ar, but they're easily a match when it comes to intelligence and science smarts.
** In fact, the Creator/DCComics CrisisCrossover "ComicBook/{{Invasion}}!" was precisely about this fact: The alien Dominators wanted to exploit human superbeings to conquer the universe, but had to trick other alien races into helping capture them first, on the excuse that humans are troublesome, genetic freaks.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'' this is both played straight and subverted - several aliens are more powerful than humans, especially the Viltrumites (who are like humans.... but with mustaches, superpowers and '''really''' long life spans). But at one point there is an alien race with much shorter lifespans, and Allen the Alien is considered superpowered by his own race's standards.
* ''ComicBook/{{Shakara}}'': After the Earth is harvested by a HordeOfAlienLocusts, the last human is captured and brought to a slave market. The sellers only included the puny earthling as a novelty because he's the LastOfHisKind. After getting too snarky with a much bigger alien his head is immediately crushed.

* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' has most species out in the universe, and most of the supernatural creatures on Earth, believe this and be consistently baffled at Asgard's habit of sticking up for humanity and warning everyone else to steer clear - which, since Earth is a magic infested DeathWorld inhabited by a dominant species that seems happiest when killing something (or each other), most are happy to do. However, the various supernatural creatures are aware of MugglePower and keep up the {{masquerade}} out of fear, even if they won't admit it, and Asgard takes a HumanityIsYoung approach and, believing that HumansAreSpecial, seek to nurture humanity's potential. It is notable that those aliens exposed to humanity long term, such as a few Kryptonians (most famously, Jor-El), and Captain Mar-Vell, tend to develop similar attitudes. It is also implied that humanity has an unrivalled capacity to produce people with powerful superhuman abilities, from [[PersonOfMassDestruction nigh]] [[PhysicalGod godlike]] beings to those who are more restricted, but [[OneManArmy plenty deadly up close,]] with Loki considering [[spoiler: the Winter Soldier]] someone who is [[SuperSoldier mostly]] human, to be the deadliest assassin in the Nine Realms. And that's all leaving aside the interest of [[spoiler: the Phoenix...]]
* A botched attempt happens in ''Fanfic/NagaEyes''. Riku the naga goes on and on about how humans are weak compared to nagas. This would be all fine and well, if it weren't for the fact that a naga's life seems to consist of little more than lying around and eating a random passers-by or two.
* Chatoyance's interpretation of the ponies from her ''[[Fanfic/TheConversionBureau Conversion Bureau]]'' has them with StockSuperpowers (Earth ponies get SuperStrength, pegasi get flight and unicorns get magic), a [[WeAreAsMayflies lifespan of centuries]], [[MadeOfIron extremely durable bodies]], {{reincarnation}} and a "CantArgueWithElves" attitude.
* Discussed in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fic ''Fanfic/{{Xenophilia}}''. Lero keeps finding himself at the receiving end of such thinking (made worse by the inverted social norms resulting from sex disproportion in pony society - the mares keep trying to protect him). He finally snaps when threatened by an unicorn mare of another herd, whose stallion was giving Lero's a hard time: he lectures her in how while he may be weak in pony standards, he's not helpless, which he showcases by [[NeckLift holding her up on her hind legs by her neck]] while speaking [[TranquilFury in a scarily sweet tone of voice]]. Rainbow Dash takes note on how he's taking care not to hurt her while he does so, and how easily he could do it.
* [[http://fanlore.org/wiki/Sondra_Marshak Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath]] loved this and used it extensively in their series of ''Franchise/StarTrek'' fan novels, both amateur and professionally published. To them, Vulcans including Spock were much stronger physically and capable of greater telepathic abilities than in canon, and Spock had been holding back and playing down his superness to co-exist alongside his human crewmates. When legendary Vulcan explorer Savaj came on board in ''[[http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/638679747?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1 The Prometheus Design]]'', he talked Spock into [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech revealing his true nature]] and Spock ended up going into something called "Vulcan command mode", literally at one point leaping a tall building (well, a wall anyway) in a single bound. He then took command and [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything ordered "instant, unqualified, unargued obedience" from all the crew]]. We are told (and shown, in ''Fate of the Phoenix'') that on Vulcanoid worlds, humans cannot even push buttons, open doors or turn on faucets.
* In the controversial humour fic ''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/123628/xcom-enemy-unthreatening XCOM: Enemy Unthreatening,]]'' [[VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown the Ethereals and their slave races]] attempt to invade [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Equestria]], only to fall prey to a comedy of errors. Oh, and the moon-controlling princess of theirs.
* ''Fanfic/MassEffectHumanRevolution'' is a peculiar subversion in that prominent human figures think BeingHumanSucks, but the aliens don't think Earthlings are Puny and are in fact secretly scared.
* In ''Fanfic/OpeningDangerousGates'', a Tengu goes on a tirade on how inferior humans are to his kind. For one thing, his kind have many, many senses and can still function if their sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch were cut off, unlike a human.

* Parodied in ''Film/SpacedInvaders'', in a scene where the small band of Martians leave their ship and threaten to blow up the Earth with their supposed super-weapon, until it's pointed out to them that their ship would be destroyed as well. The Martians flee in disorder:
-->"'Prepare to die, Earth scum, prepare to die, Earth scum!' I'll make sure they carve that on your tombstone!"
* ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'': "Do your worst, inferior one!" Downplayed in that the aliens only advantage is their more advanced technology than the human protagonists. That, and, said aliens mainly use the technology for bizarre stage performances rather than to take over the world.
* One of the kids in ''Film/RaceToWitchMountain'' can [[{{Intangibility}} phase through solid matter]] as well as harden the molecules in his body so a truck that's about to hit him, does so -- and then FLIPS INTO THE AIR, crumpling the front in the process. The earlier films which this one [[InNameOnly happens to share a name with]] had HumanAliens with an array of PsychicPowers, more like Zenna Henderson's ''Literature/ThePeople''[[note]]the original ''Escape to Witch Mountain'' by Alexander Key has been repeatedly, and favorably, compared to Henderson's novellas[[/note]].
* [[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial E.T.]] has the ability to form empathic bonds, make things fly, make flowers grow, and heal with a touch.
* Lampshaded and averted in ''Film/HowardTheDuck'', where the title character must explain a geeky human scientist ally that, no, he can't [[EyeBeams burn a hole in a piece of wood with his gaze]], no, he can't [[{{Flight}} fly]], and no, he doesn't have SuperStrength.
* The unnamed aliens in ''Film/TheAbyss'' have the ability to control water, with remarkable precision. They also seem to have [[PsychicPowers psychic abilities]].
* In ''Film/AlienNation'', Sam "George" Francisco strongly implied that [[RubberForeheadAliens Tenctonese]] ''penises'' were bigger than the human variety. Not to mention their [[SuperStrength great strength]], stamina, [[MadeOfIron durability]], ability to survive in environments humans can't, [[BizarreAlienBiology extra hearts]], and if they overdose on an [[FantasticDrug extraterrestrial]] [[PsychoSerum narcotic]], they [[BodyHorror transform]] into [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity murderous]], [[SuperpoweredEvilSide supercharged]] [[AxCrazy berserker]] versions of themselves. But they do have a [[WeaksauceWeakness strange weakness]] or two: [[KillItWithWater Water with high salinity burns them like sulphuric acid burns naked mole rats]] and they get [[AlienLunch stinking drunk from sour milk]].
* "I am Film/PrinceOfSpace! Don't you realize [[ImmuneToBullets your weapons have no effect on me]]?" In the original, he wasn't bulletproof at all, which is why he dodges their weapons. For some inexplicable reason, ImmuneToBullets was added in the translation.
* Emperor Ming from ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'' is often associated with his threat exclamation of "[[BeamMeUpScotty Pathetic]][=/=]Puny Earthlings! Who will save you now!?". To answer that, we have this line from the theme song: "'''FLASH! AH-HA!!'''"
* Inverted in ''Film/AliensInTheAttic''. The aliens are a foot tall and are repeatedly outsmarted by children. They still call them Puny Humans though.
* Played straight and inverted with the Prawns in ''Film/{{District 9}}'', as they have superior physical strength, speed, and size, and have a vast majority of highly advanced technologies that humans can never use. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop the humans from dumping them in a slum and outright treating them ''worse'' than dirt. This ([[WordOfGod apparently]]) is due to their need to be commanded by a member of their leader caste, which have all died out before the other Prawns could escape the downed vessel. This doesn't mean they're unintelligent, however, as the Prawns could be just as, if not more, intelligent than humans, it's just that the survivors are the drone caste members, and they don't have the drive to use their resources to liberate themselves from the humans.
* Averted in ''Franchise/TheMatrix''. The machine programs are much stronger than the average human, but a special exception could be made with the main characters. Also subverted by Neo beating up the very Agents who mistake him for a Puny Earthling.
-->'''Trio of Agents:''' It's Him. The Anomaly. Do we proceed? Yes. He is still. Only human.
* The Na'Vi in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' are nearly twice the size of humans, and even more strong, fast and agile on their home turf - not the mention the ability to [[BondCreatures neurally link with other lifeforms]] via a 'plug' in their hair. Although the humans definitely have the technological advantage, and even then the Na'Vi seem to take to guns pretty quickly...
** The "strength" thing is questionable, considering the low gravity environment. The avatars however, being genetically-engineered, are stronger than natural-born Na'vi (due to having human-like muscle tissue), which goes some of the way in explaining the MightyWhitey plot.
* Creator/NeilGaiman used to tell about receiving a script for a potential [[TheMovie movie adaptation]] of [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]. He read until he came to a scene where Morpheus is attacked by soldiers while proclaiming "Puny humans! Your weapons cannot harm Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams!" at which point he put the script down and refused to read even one page further.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', wherein the Hulk [[spoiler:beats the ever-loving crap out of Loki]] and then says, "Puny God."
* ''Film/ManOfSteel'' does a good job of showcasing just how hopelessly outmatched humans are against Kryptonians. At this point, nothing on Earth is prepared to deal with threats of this scale and magnitude. It's also suggested that much of Superman's strength and speed is a natural result of Kryptonian physiology being on a lower gravity planet. His SuperSenses, flight and [[EyeBeams Heat Vision]] is his biology soaking in the yellow sun radiation. This is one of the first times that not all of his powers are either one or the other.
* The ''Film/MenInBlack'' films make a serious case of this when they point out they avoid using [[TranslatorMicrobes universal translators]] because human thought is considered an infectious disease by some aliens. Further shown in the novelization when two race are about to attack each other with Earth in the middle, because the humans aren't considered sentient life and thus consider the planet uninhabited.

* More generally, in {{fantasy}} that use the [[FiveRaces Tolkienian archetypes]] for non-human races, elves are typically [[OurElvesAreBetter longer-lived, more graceful and refined, wiser and better with magic]] than humans. [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame Dwarves]] are also longer-lived, are physically tougher and often have superior technology, frequently {{Steampunk}}ish compared to what others have.
** {{Hobbits}}, on the other hand, rarely are luckier than average midgets.
** Arguably an UnbuiltTrope by [[Creator/JRRTolkien Tolkien]] himself. His elves may be all kinds of badass (although their superiority is usually more alluded to than spelled out in loving detail), but they're at least as capable of making a mess of things as humans are -- and they are bound to the world that humans get to leave behind after death.
*** More than ''just'' as good; Literature/TheSilmarillion is essentially the story of Morgoth [[OrcusOnHisThrone sitting on his throne]] while the Elves find new ways to screw each other over.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' had an interesting variation - though the aliens were far more advanced, it seemed to have only been because of a head start. The Andalites took three times as long as humans to go from heavier-than-air flight to landing on the moon. (One wonders what things would've been like a few decades after the end of the series, considering that by then, humanity's first faster-than-light spacecraft was under construction.) Another thing that scared the wits out of some aliens was sheer numbers. ("You mean five ''million'', Sub-Visser?")
** Speaking of the Andalites, they have insanly weak arms so much that one is ''shocked'' that a human child can ''throw a rock''
** Indeed, of all the major alien species in ''Animorphs'', only the Ellimist has any claim to being ''entirely'' superior to humanity: Yeerks are useless without a host; Gedds are barely sentient, weak and clumsy; Hork-Bajir aren't terribly bright on average (seers being the exception) and appear to age faster (though they're no joke in physical matters); and Taxxons can't control their own hunger.
* The ''inversion'' is OlderThanRadio, and almost older than the core trope itself. In the ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'' books by Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs, the Earthman transported to the lower gravity of "Barsoom" has remarkable strength, leaping abilities, and endurance.
* Robert Zubrin's ''Literature/TheHolyLand''. Of course, they're all humans, but the Earthling humans have terrible hygiene, are shorter and less physically fit, and have absolutely no PsychicPowers.
* Inverted in Creator/EEDocSmith's ''Spacehounds of IPC'': the inhabitants of Saturn's moon, Titan, can't stand the "dreadful temperatures" and "crushing pressure" on [[ScienceMarchesOn Saturn's surface]]. To the human protagonists, meanwhile, it's basically a midsummer's day.
* Referenced in ''[[Literature/OldMansWar The Ghost Brigades]]'' by Creator/JohnScalzi. Humans are slower and weaker than most other alien races, which is why they no longer use unaltered humans as soldiers. (They prefer instead to use genetically engineered {{Super Soldier}}s with transplanted minds.)
* In the ''Literature/KnownSpace'' universe by Creator/LarryNiven, Humans have been regularly at war with a race, the Kzin, described in various books as being walking, talking, 700 pound tigers. Even more impressive, humans begin the conflict as a nearly pacifist race, having been turned into near sheep by the ruling UN. They owe much of their survival to wild innovation and what the Kzin disparagingly refer to as "monkey curiosity". Good old humanity is somewhat helped by a hyper paranoid race called the Puppeteers, who like them enough to slowly sell them (or rather, [[ManipulativeBastard arrange to have sold to them]]) faster than light technology.
* Used for satiric purposes in Creator/{{Voltaire}} (the philosopher, not [[Music/{{Voltaire}} the musician]])'s short story ''Micromegas'', which involves two colossal aliens, one from Saturn and the other from Sirius, visiting Earth. The Saturnian mourns that he has only 72 senses in comparison to the Sirian's nearly 1,000 senses. And Micromegas states that he met creatures [[AlwaysABiggerFish far superior to himself]].
* Inverted in the Creator/AlanDeanFoster ''The Damned'' trilogy, where humans are among the toughest sons of bitches in the galaxy, and are [[HumansAreWarriors better at war than any other species]]. Humans also have natural immunity to MindControl, and when they're rewired to remove that ability, and then unwired, can demonstrate said mind control [[LamarckWasRight (and then pass it on to their children)]].
** Averted with the thranx in Foster's ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' novels, as these insectoids have as many physical disadvantages (easily drowned, bad climbers, limbless juveniles) as advantages (extra legs, good senses, tough exoskeleton) over humans.
* The eponymous Stranger in ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand'' qualifies as "humans raised by aliens are likely to somehow 'inherit' abilities from their foster parents".
** Humans can gain these abilities too, so it's more of a training thing.
* The Oankali from Octavia Butler's ''[[Literature/LilithsBrood Xenogenesis]]'' series all have interesting powers.
* A minor (Grannan) character in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Black Fleet trilogy comments that X-wings are designed for ''human'' tolerances, prompting Admiral Ackbar to comment that it's "frustrating to be held back by their limitations."
** Literature/DarthPlagueis says this to Palpatine during his training: "Hard to tell (how long the training will take). Humans are their own worst enemies. Your body isn't meant to withstand real punishment. It is easily injured and slow to heal. Your olfactory and tactile senses are relatively acute, but your auditory and visual senses are extremely limited".
* ''Literature/GulliversTravels'' features a race of Giants and a race of morally and intellectually superior horses.
* The "humans are the only race ever to be put on trial" thing is at least averted in Creator/RobertAHeinlein's juvenile novel, ''Literature/HaveSpaceSuitWillTravel''. Humanity does end up being judged by the Council of Superpowered Aliens; however, this trial comes right on the tail of another race being put on trial, so it seems to be a fairly routine procedure. And the other aliens which are indisputably worse get thrown in the wastebin, whereas the human race is still considered redeemable.
* In a short story by Creator/SergeyLukyanenko, three alien ships arrive to Earth and demand that humans move as many as they can into the polar regions, so that the aliens can settle most of Earth. The main character is a diplomat sent to negotiate with the alien representative, who turns out to be a pretty decent guy, regretful of having to do this. However, their homeworld is threatened by a black hole, and habitable planets are rare. In the end, though, the alien gladly informs the diplomat that they managed to terraform Venus and stop the black hole, all within a few weeks of arriving to Earth. He also remembers his grandfather who discovered the wheel. Furthermore, he offers to give their ships to humans, as they are now obsolete, and explains that the reason humans were never conquered by another race is because their "so pathetic."
* Used to a minor extent in Creator/CJCherryh's ''Literature/{{Foreigner}}'' series. The alien ''atevi'' are bigger (and thus stronger) than humans, have superior hearing and night-vision, are much better at math, have the innate ability to instantly and accurately count things, and once they count something they have a PhotographicMemory of the resulting number.
* In Creator/GordonRDickson's novel ''[[{{Pun}} Spatial Delivery]]'', the two alien races who come into play are both giants compared to humans. A member of the species who act as the antagonists of the story (enormous beings from a high-gravity planet) once showed up to the Olympic Games on Earth and casually proceeded to break several human track and field records in quick succession without even trying, just to show his contempt.
* If anything this is played straighter in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books than in most non-parody fantasy. Most sapient races are flat out ''better'' than humans: dwarfs are tougher, stronger and live longer (though the stronger bit is more due to them working out by constant mining. Carrot is a human raised by dwarves and his strength is described as a dwarf scaled to 200%), trolls and golems are near indestructible and incredibly strong (and trolls are incredibly intelligent when in cooler temperatures), vampires have all their standard strengths and can even learn to replace their lust for blood, pictsies are unbelievably strong and ferocious (gnomes are described as being as strong as a human despite being half the size of a Barbie doll) and orcs can only be called superbeings.
* Subverted in ''Literature/TheTommyknockers'' by Creator/StephenKing. While the title aliens have a natural skill for adapting human technology into all kinds of weird sci-fi devices, they also prove to be much more short-sighted and psychotic than humans. They also can't really seem to think of any constructive purpose for their technology, whereas humanity's scientific advances have often improved quality of life.
* In ''Literature/EightWorlds'' a race of aliens kick humanity off Earth to protect dolphins and whales. They plan on forcing humanity to live between star systems has they have to many other alien races.
* In ''Literature/TheLostRegiment'' series, life sucks for most humans on the planet Valennia. Transplanted there from Earth against their will, stuck in a MedievalStasis, and engaging in brack-breaking labors, all they have to look forward to is to have 20% of them be selected to be slaughtered and eaten by the true masters of Valennia, the 10-foot-tall HumanAliens who see themselves are the chosen race and engaged in a never-ending circle around the planet, taking tribute from the human cities they pass. Anyone who tries to resist is wiped out by the numerous hordes. It's not until the arrival of [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar American Civil War]] soldiers with muskets and cannons does some hope appear for the average human on Valennia. After all, even a Tugar can fall from a rifle whose range rivals that of the famed Tugar warbows.
* Minor example in David Weber's ''Literature/InFuryBorn''. Of the three know races in the setting humans are probably the weakest on a purely physical level. The Quarn are native to a very high gravity environment and the Rish (or the female's at least) are simply much bigger than humans. Humanity makes up the difference by most of them being able to interface directly with their computer systems in a way the Rish just can't giving them an edge in space combat and WeakButSkilled in ground combat. It's not an issue with the Quarn since they're a ProudMerchantRace and rather friendly to humanity.
* The narrator of ''Literature/{{Micromegas}}'' often mentions in passing how large and long-lived the aliens are.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/AlienNation'' depicted the Newcomers as generally better in every way; physically stronger (they were labor slaves) and able to learn in years what took humans decades, with the vulnerability to salt water as the only major downside. This created a lot of resentment among [[FantasticRacism human supremacists]].
** Seeing how they mostly live ''right next to the ocean'', that's a pretty big downside.
** They were also poisoned by the proteins in cooked meat.
** Also, most of these characteristics derived from genetic manipulation, as their former oppressors engineered the Tenctonese to be a perfectly adapted slave race.
** The book entries in the series add one significant problem with Earth. The Tenctonese are specifically adapted for desert planets and both produce and shed heat rapidly; what would be uncomfortable cold for a human is nearly life-threatening for a Tenctonese. As they crashed in a desert and resettled in L.A., this doesn't come up much in the TV series, but it's an additional reason they haven't spread across the country.
* This usually applies in ''Franchise/StarTrek''. To illustrate, the most commonly seen alien races would probably be the Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and Ferengi. Of that list, the only aliens not physically stronger than humans are the Ferengi, and even that wasn't true in their first appearance.[[note]]Although they may only ''appear'' weak thanks to their general cowardice, as [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Quark]] ''did'' break (depleted latinum suspending) gold bars ''with his bare hands.''[[/note]] Some of those races also have longer lifespans than humans, but none have shorter. There are exceptions; for example, ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'''s Kes belongs to a species that only has a nine-year lifespan.
** The species is, however, telepathic, has photographic memory and mature very fast, [[spoiler: and can AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence]]. Whether this makes up for the short lifespan is in the eye of the beholder. (They'd kind of have to mature fast, wouldn't they?)
*** Also they apparently can only have a single child, once. [[ArtisticLicenseBiology Um...]], without a high rate of multiple births or cloning, that would mean the population halves every generation.
** The Elaysians (which appeared on ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'') come from a low-gravity environment. They would almost collapse under their own weight in normal gravity even with a gravity harness.
** Averted with the majority of the Bajorans. Only the Kai have any special abilities, and that's only by virtue of being [[ReligionIsMagic proxies for the Prophets]].
** Subverted in the episode "Suddenly Human", which features a human kid [[RaisedByNatives raised by a]] {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}} called the Talarians. He's not only on par with his alien friends, where he comes from, he's [[BadassNormal the toughest kid in town]].
** And Klingons are only stronger than humans as a general species average--well-built and skilled humans can and do take them down in hand-to-hand combat on screen.
*** It probably has to do with their martial culture. Starfleet personnel probably have to keep fit, and so are on par with Klingons.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Both as an excuse by the invading alien menace to do whatever they please, and as a reason by the Doctor as to why he defends Earthlings. The Doctor himself believes in this trope. The Ninth Doctor occasionally called humans "stupid apes" and Twelve declared Earth to be the "Planet of the pudding brains".
* Similarly to the ComicBook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}, on ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', every single [[HumanAliens familiar-looking]] alien race shown had ''some'' kind of superpowers, and most are also much stronger and tougher than humans.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' plays this utterly straight. humans have tiny lifespans measured in (at extremes) centuries rather than millions of years, have no innate superpowers or weaponry, can't grow several hundred feet tall on demand like most species seem to be able to, anything more complex than a morpher that they make is either really buggy or made with large amounts of outside help (if not borrowed entirely), and their only native tribe of mages that hasn't wiped itself out lives in a pocket dimension, rarely coming out (and are led by an alien witch, no less). Somehow, despite this utter lack of talent, ability, or luck, humanity (specifically, California) has managed to turn back armed invasion by more or less the entire known universe, with minimal amounts of aid.
* Mork from ''Series/MorkAndMindy'' [[HumanAliens looks human]], but also has powers.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', humans are lacking compared to a great many species, especially in terms of life spans. However, this is not played completely straight, as humans have a much greater heat tolerance compared to Sebaceans. Furthermore, at least some of these superiorities may not be natural, as Sebaceans have greater eyesight and lifespan (though not heat resistance), and yet they are implied to be the descendants of humans.
** In the Peacekeeper War miniseries, Sebaceans are revealed to be genetically altered humans, created to be the muscle for the great peacemaker aliens. Things went slightly wrong when these aliens got [[SealedGoodInACan sealed away]] and left the Peacekeepers on their own.
** "Crackers Don't Matter" is made of this trope. Thanks to a light-based HatePlague inflicted by the VillainOfTheWeek, Moya's crew start losing their minds and get rather snippy with each other. Amusingly, the terrible eyesight that Humans have compared to the other species that they had previously mocked Crichton for, ends up saving their lives, since Crichton proves must more resistant than everyone else to the HatePlague's effects. As a result, he [[TropeNamers mockingly declares]] that this is proof that "[[HumanityIsSuperior Humans. Are. Superior!]]"
** Crichton is hardly an example of an average human, though. With a Ph.D. in astrophysics, he is smarter than anyone else aboard. He just like to play up the "dumb human" image. What he lacks is knowledge about that part of the galaxy.
* The HumanAliens of ''Series/{{Roswell}}'' have various superpowers.
* Averted in the Franchise/StargateVerse. Humans have been able to grievously upset a power balance that has stood for thousands of years and kick the collective butts of many an advanced species.
** Specifically, the Goa'uld are stupid egomaniacs with a [[AGodAmI god complex]] and powerful but highly inefficient technology that only a handful of them even partially understand. The Asgard are physically about as strong as an infant. The Tok'ra are a dying race due to limited supplies of host bodies and the death of their only "queen" rendering them incapable of reproduction. The Replicators (Milky Way) aren't really sentient (at first). Pretty much everyone else is either human or a RealityWarper.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the humans are behind the other major races technologically (except possibly the Narn), are considerably bigoted (a failing of all the races), are Curb Stomped by the Minbari, and do little against the Shadows (when one thinks about it, it is largely a Minbari-Shadow war, with a few hangers on). In general humans, except for the main characters, come off rather poorly.
** The human ability to forge disparate groups into communities was remarked on as nearly a superpower by a few aliens, who mostly don't mix. Any other race would have made B5 as a human station with a few embassies, not a melting pot of a city. It was outright stated that attempts to unite the races in previous Shadow wars flat out failed, it took a human.
** It is implied that humans are something of a FutureBadass species who will basically all end up TouchedByVorlons. Certainly, no other species ended up with telepaths quite as strong as Lyta Alexander and Ironheart, for example.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Demon variant, where both vampires and demons look down on humans, even though vampires themselves are the lowest of the low to many demon races (though some individual vampires are strong enough few demons would dare say it to their faces), and demon races are all likely tainted with humanity anyway. Both types are stronger, faster and have various supernatural abilities.
** Illyria's habit of likening people to vermin, apes, plankton, amoebas, slime...
* In beginning of episode 12 of the documentary ''Cosmos: A Personal Voyage'' ("Encyclopedia Galactica"), Carl Sagan narrates, "In the vastness of the Cosmos there must be other civilizations far older and more advanced than ours."

* Princes of the Universe by Music/{{Queen}}
--> '''I am immortal/I have inside me blood of kings/I have no rival/No man can be my equal'''
* Music/{{Gwar}} believes they're above humanity. In fact, they believe ANY species is above humanity.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* A [[OlderThanRadio nineteenth-century]] newspaper cartoon lampoons the then-recent theory of evolution by postulating a [[AfterTheEnd world in which humans have died out,]] [[ArtisticLicenseBiology replaced by "ichthyosauri" which inexplicably came back from extinction]]. An ichthyosaur professor shows his students a human skull, stating that due to the human's weak jaws and claws, it was unknown how it ever obtained food.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', humans on average were always weaker in at least one stat than any other race: elves had agility (and sometimes intelligence), dwarves had strength and endurance, and so on. But until the third edition of the game, the other races were limited in their choice of classes and their advancement therein, while humans could take up any profession and progress to any experience level with no restrictions. In Third Edition, classes are opened up to all races, but humans get more skill points and a bonus feat, representing their "versatility" as the JackOfAllStats of the setting. In 5E, human characters can opt for either +1 to every ability score, or +1 to two ability scores, an extra proficiency and a feat (the player chooses).
* Inverted in the [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic]] {{Tabletop Game|s}} ''TabletopGame/GammaWorld''. Humans that survived the nuclear apocalypse unaltered are assumed to be of incredibly hardy genetic material. They are much more resilient than other races (though they lack the super-powers and [[RuleOfCool cool mutations]] of others).
** A later ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' article insisted that the "pure strain humans" were actually products of a few centuries of genetic engineering, a la ''Franchise/StarTrek'' Augments. Humans who hadn't received such gene therapy were total wimps by contrast, and were the ancestors of the game's human mutants, lacking the mislabeled "pure strain's" resistance to radioactive mutagens.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Mortasheen}}'', humans are not very high on the food chain, usually ending up as either food, experimental subjects or sometimes pets, which is why the human civilization of Wreathe is so genocidal towards all the setting's monsters and mutants. Though, actual native Mortasheen humans are rather blase about this whole state of affairs, sometimes even volunteering for experiments to try and become something less vulnerable.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' is a particularly strong example, where an unaugmented human is among the weakest, most pathetic things on the battlefield. Orks are stronger, more resourceful and ridiculously hard to both kill individually and wipe out as a whole. Eldar are faster, longer-lived, more intelligent ([[CantArgueWithElves or act it]]), universally psychic and with ludicrously advanced technology. Humans have three things going for them: the [[SuperSoldier comprehensively superhuman]] Space Marines, above and beyond most other races' footsoldiers, the best [[TankGoodness Tanks]] (and Biggest {{Humongous Mecha}}s) in the setting, and sheer numbers; the one resource the Imperium is never, ''ever'' short of is manpower. (Of course, this tends to lead to... [[WeHaveReserves wastefulness]].)
** Humanity also has the advantage of variety and a good deal of psychic potential - less so than the Eldar, but there's more eligible human psykers than there are Eldar, period ([[BlessedWithSuck although only a handful of those even survive...]]).
** It has to be noted that humans, while weak, aren't the weakest sapients in the setting - that honour goes to the Tau (okay maybe the gretchin), who are shorter-lived, less skilled in melee and have (DependingOnTheWriter) really bad eyesight, needing advanced targeting equipment to hit as well as humans. They make up for it by having some of the best-equipped armies in the setting, and only getting better (and also the ability to fly naturally, though their [[MiniMecha affinity for jetpacks]] means this doesn't come up very often anymore).
*** The eyesight of the Tau is a point of much contention and debate in various novels and books. The current consensus appears to be that Tau can see into the IR and UV spectra naturally and can pick out much finer visual detail than humans (humans will get eyestrain trying to understand Tau art): However, their eyes take longer to gauge distances and focus on moving objects.
* Played almost depressingly straight in ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''. The player characters are among the eponymous Exalted, humans given the ability to perform superhuman feats of magic and badassery by virtue of having received a sliver of divine power (the source of which determines what type of Exalted they are). Those humans who don't get chosen, though? Pretty much at the bottom of the world's sentient totem pole; their main use, as far as many gods and even Exalted are concerned, is that they're good at offering prayers and sacrifices and make useful pawns. What's worse is that they were specifically designed to be that way.
* Averted in most games by Deep 7. [[AnAssKickingChristmas Santa's Soldiers?]] Humans are stronger, taller, and faster than the game's Christmas Elves, but cannot use magic. In ''Arrowflight,'' Humans are the result of demons seducing elves, and therefore walk the fine line between Order and Chaos. In their ''Series/RedDwarf'' RPG, humans have bonuses to their endurance because they're the ones crazy enough to invent [[BlazingInfernoHellfireSauce vindaloo]] and New Age music.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' is [[EldritchAbomination somewhat unsurprisingly]] in love with this trope -- humans are wimps compared to even most "lesser" races of the Mythos and by all appearances the only species in the universe that can [[GoMadFromTheRevelation suffer significant mental harm]] from as much as ''encountering'' members of another one (or pretty much [[TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow anything else disturbing humanity's fragile peace of mind]]).
* In most FiveRaces settings, humans are the shortest-lived, with [[OurElvesAreBetter elves]] and [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarves]] routinely getting 300+ year lifespans and any others equaling or topping them. Elves and {{Elemental Embodiment}}s in particular are often outright [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld immortal]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', humans are not only inferior to the Covenant in numbers and technology, but a number of the latter's member races are also physically superior; an Elite or Brute is dramatically stronger, tougher, and faster than a human, while a Covenant Hunter is pretty much a walking artillery unit, able to wipe out normal humans by the squad, and can only really be stopped by heavy weapons. Only the PoweredArmor-wearing [[SuperSoldier superhuman]] [=SPARTANs=] are able to physically even match the Elites and Brutes.
** Just how puny the Earthlings are compared with those species depends on which sources you look at, and which characters are involved; elite "normal" humans like the [=ODSTs=] are often shown in the expanded universe to be able to put up a good fight against Elites and Brutes, and even in the games, regular Marines can often hold their own, depending on difficulty level, weapons equipped, and positioning.
** It's also worth noting that the majority of the Covenant's soldiers are Grunts, Jackals, and Drones, who are generally little better than CannonFodder, with the Grunts in particular being completely outclassed by your average human soldier; ''Literature/HaloContactHarvest'' even shows a newly-trained 72-man colonial militia company (not even proper Marines or Army troopers) able to hold its own against a roughly 170-strong Covenant force (the vast majority of it made up of Grunts and Drones, with only a small pack of ten Brutes).
** Earthlings are also puny in a literal sense; with the exception of the Grunts (who can grow as short as 4'6"), every other race in the Haloverse are much bigger than humans, with even the lightly-built Jackals averaging well over 6 feet tall, while Elites, Brutes, and Hunters completely dwarf even the 7-foot [=SPARTANs=]. And even Grunts have enough strength to disembowel humans.
** Humanity is also completely outclassed in space combat; most of their victories occur only when they manage to outnumber the Covenant by at least three to one, and even then they usually end up taking more casualties than they inflict. Indeed, human victories on the ground usually merely serve as delaying actions to cover for mass evacuations, since the almost-inevitably victorious Covenant fleet will generally just proceed to "glass" the planet from space. However, there are a handful of space battles where a well-led or well-fortified human force manages to either defeat or heavily damage a numerically superior Covenant fleet, examples including a skirmish between the ''UNSC Iroquois'' and four Covenant ships, the Battle of Reach, and the Battle of Onyx.
** This is no longer the case, though, as of ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}''. Improvements in technology have allowed any veteran soldier or promising recruit to be "upgraded" to a SPARTAN-IV SuperSoldier without spending decades in training, and even the UNSC's standard equipment has largely closed the gap with the Covenant's. Additionally, the UNSC ''Infinity'' is superior to ''any'' Covenant ship, incorporating human, Covenant, and [[{{Precursors}} Forerunner]] tech. True, there's only one ''Infinity'', but the former Covenant has become fractured and diminished due to its own civil wars, and humans are in a much better position to upgrade even their existing ships with new/rediscovered/stolen tech, with most of the former Covenant races' own scientific know-how having been suppressed when their empire was still intact.
** Averted in the backstory; [[spoiler:prehistoric humanity at one point had an interstellar empire which nearly equaled that of the Forerunners (before the latter defeated and devolved them), making them one of the four most advanced species in the history of the Milky Way]].
* Used to interesting effect in ''{{VideoGame/MULE}}'', where a starting monetary penalty marks humans as the "Expert Race", intended for use only to handicap experienced players.
** This actually comes with its own slightly-balancing advantage -- Starting out in last place means that, until you start rising up the ranks, none of the harmful random "help or hurt a single player" events will ever happen to you. If an event happens, you will always get a beneficial one -- anything from a few units of sellable goods to a free plot of land.
* Pretty much any alien in ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' is physically superior to the Earth equivalent. In the first game, the ''weakest'' members of the Nihilanth's army were capable of [[ShockAndAwe hurling electricity]] (and as evidenced in ''Episode Two'' have the potential for so much more) while the Nihilanth itself possessed enough psychic might to keep open a dimensional rift by itself. The Earthlings made up for this with technological prowess, as the Nihilanth's forces largely revolved around OrganicTechnology and natural racial abilities. This could be considered an inversion actually, as despite the aliens' physical superiority it was pretty clear they couldn't stand up to the United States alone, let alone the whole Earth. However, afterwards, the non-sapient Xen beasts (mostly Antlions) overran the planet, killing off a ton of native Earth fauna and forcing humans to barricade themselves in their cities.
** The Combine play this completely straight. Though there is no indication of physical superiority, they are technologically advanced enough to conquer the planet within hours and their leaders are psychically almost as powerful as the Nihilanth. And the G-Man, whatever he is, is basically [[Creator/HPLovecraft Nyarlathotep]]. This was the same empire responsible for destroying the Nihilanth's species and conquering the sentient Xenians (later known as Vortigaunts). The only thing humans have going for them against the Combine is superior teleportation technology, a few {{Badass Normal}}s and the [[OneManArmy walking superweapon]] that is Gordon Freeman.
* The ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series has (among others) the psychic Chozo and their adopted human, series protagonist Samus Aran. Granted, they did infuse her with their DNA so she could survive on their planet, and a lot of her more badass moves come from the combat suit they modified for her... but even out of the suit, she can jump twice her own height, among other things. In fact, she's had a total of three different species somehow combined with her, and each one has given her special powers, though one of them did give her a weakness to cold [[spoiler: (which she [[VideoGame/MetroidFusion eventually]] overcame thanks to the suit technology and the fact the weakness is one the species eventually outgrows anyway]].
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' features Gilgamesh, the most powerful heroic spirit in existence and the first and greatest king of history, who happens to be 2/3s God. His ego is so gigantic it might just suffocate you if you are in proximity of Gil, if he even allows you to look at him. Ultimately his pride serves as his downfall in all 3 routes, but if he was actually willing to go all out, he could take on every creature in the world´s powers combined. He is so arrogant that he rarely even wields his endless array of weapons, he SHOOTS them at you, and only wields his actual weapon Ea against worthy opponents (the ones we have seen so far are Saber, Shirou after Gil got put on the defensive, Fate/Zero´s Rider and a town´s worth of evil spirits).
* DoubleSubversion in ''VideoGame/DragonBallOnline'' where humans are a main playable race and fend for themselves with superior KI techniques. Then the Head Director clarified that the Humans were [[CallASmeerpARabbit actually]] Saiyan Hybrids descended from Goku and Vegeta, while actual humans are still irrelevant when it comes to saving the world.
* Partially subverted in ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', as Mercer has been casually slashing and punching his way through the human military for the first parts of the game....but then he meets [[BadassNormal Specialist Cross]].
** The US Army and Blackwatch do a pretty good job fighting normal infected and hunters and could have end it all much faster if Alex didn't kept killing them by the truck loads.
*** Actually, after [[ArmiesAreEvil Blackwatch]] and [[PersonOfMassDestruction Alex]] manage to kill [[BigBad Elizabeth Greene]], the tide finally starts turning against [[TheVirus the]] [[ZombieApocalypse Infected]]. The ''problem'' is the fact that, with Greene dead, {{General R|ipper}}andall decides to go ahead with [[spoiler: [[NukeEm nuking Manhattan]], given that his only reason for delaying at all was to retrieve her for still more experiments.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'', humanity is considered a pest at worst by both of the two alien races. To the point that the Tasen, upon invading, hardly bothered looking at human "neoweapon" research because it was still horrendously inferior to even their outdated weapons.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' has a bad case of this. Humans are either physically or mentally inferior to practically every other species in the galaxy and a one-on-one fight 'au naturelle' of your average human vs. your average pretty much everything will put the human in a disadvantage. Fortunately, ''Sword of the Stars'' is a 4X game, and human ''ships'' are no worse than those of their fellow species -- and when you take into account that human boarding- and planetary assault crews have PoweredArmor and special training, the odds are more equal.
* Notably averted in ''Franchise/MassEffect''. While aliens like the [[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe Asari]] are naturally powerful psychics and can live for centuries and the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Krogans]] are exceptionally strong and durable and potentially live for centuries, all races are shown to have enough strengths and weaknesses to put them on relatively even ground with humanity. In fact, [[HumansAreSpecial humanity's determination and ingenuity]] quietly ''scare the crap'' out of everyone else.
** That said, the trope does get played straight (though also [[PlayedForLaughs for laughs]]) in the sequel:
-->'''Wrex:''' Now, Shepard. What brings you here? How's the Normandy?
-->'''Shepard:''' Destroyed in a Collector surprise attack. I ended up spaced.
-->'''Wrex:''' Well, you look good. Ah, the benefits of a [[BizarreAlienBiology redundant nervous system]]!
-->'''Shepard:''' Yeah... humans don't have that.
-->'''Wrex:''' Oh. It must have been painful, then.
** On a grand scale, humanity is fairly powerful, but not the most powerful. Humanity is a major power in the galaxy, even stronger than several pre-established ones like the batarians, but are still far weaker than the turians, asari, geth, and salarians economically, militarily, technologically, and population-wise.
** Notably, a few alien races live significantly shorter lifespans than humans. Salarians only live to be about forty, and Vorcha only have twenty. They do compensate by the salarians having an advanced metabolism that allows them to get by with only an hour of sleep a day and leads to an overclocked nervous system, and the Vorcha can adapt to almost any environment, and can regenerate. Still, that's a lifespan of only a fraction of the average human.
** Turians can survive more radiation that a human, having evolved a metallic carapace to compensate for their homeworld's weaker magnetic field. However, human food is toxic to them (averting NoBiochemicalBarriers), like their's is for humans. Also, they're too dense to float.
** According to Grunt's tank imprint, it's actually the ''Quarians'' who are one of the more hardier species in the galaxy compared to Krogan. Their physical robustness is however offset by their severely weakened immune systems.
*** In a purely physical sense, humans ''are'' puny. The Turians, Vorcha, and Quarians are all tougher and stronger, the Krogan even moreso. Even the Asari, with their natural biotics, could be considered tougher since they can shield themselves. But in the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' world (much like in RealLife), guns are an excellent equalizer, and {{humans|AreWarriors}} are decidedly ''not'' puny when it comes to strategy, tactics and reflexes.
** This is the assessment of Humanity by [[spoiler: the Leviathan]]... except for Shepard.
--> '''[[spoiler: Leviathan]]''': None have possessed the strength in [[YouCantFightFate previous Cycles]]. Your own species could be destroyed with a single thought. But ''[[TheChosenOne you]]'' are different. I have witnessed your actions in this Cycle: the [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu destruction of Sovereign]]; the [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs fall of the Collectors]]. The Reapers perceive [[WorthyOpponent you]] as [[TheDreaded a threat]]. And I ''must'' understand '''[[WhatTheHellAreYou why?!]]'''
* ''Videogame/{{Albion}}'' also averts this. The feline Iskai seem pretty impressive at first, being tall, extremely fast and agile, possessing prehensile tails that allow them to wield an additional weapon, and being quasi-immortal (albeit [[PoweredByAForsakenChild at great cost]]) on top of it. But it's soon revealed that from their perspective, humans are enormously strong and sturdy, and 'can live to an incredible age' - Iskai's natural lifespan isn't much longer than 40-50 years at most, and the aforementioned quasi-immortality method is available only to a handful of highly respected individuals. Ultimately, Iskai are {{Fragile Speedster}}s, while humans are {{Mighty Glacier}}s - neither better than the other, they complement each other well on your team.
* Humans in Gensoukyou, the setting of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', are quite a bit weaker than and generally at the mercy of the {{youkai}} (fortunately, nowadays youkai are more concerned with [[DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu tea parties]] than [[ToServeMan eating humans]]), only able to thwart the pathetically weak and [[TooDumbToLive deeply stupid]] fairies. Even the handful of humans that can effectively fight youkai are not quite normal:
** Reimu has special powers from the Hakurei bloodline, and has been noted to be closer to a sennin[[note]]someone who's transcended humanity by being a HermitGuru, basically. Not exactly a youkai, but not human, either[[/note]] than a regular human. Marisa ''acts'' like a youkai[[note]]given Touhou's metaphysics, this could well cause her to become one, even if she doesn't decide to become a magician youkai, which a few characters have commented on[[/note]], and most of her power comes from magical mushrooms and magical devices. Sakuya [[MysteriousPast may well not be human]]. Youmu is half yuurei[[note]]ghost, phantom, something like that. The fandom doesn't agree on the translation[[/note]]. Keine is a were-hakutaku, though it's not clear how much of her power comes from this. Kaguya and Mokou are immortals with a thousand or so years of experience. Eirin is ''[[TimeAbyss insanely]]'' old, and may be a god[[note]]She's based on one, and given that someone connected to her in the backstory became one...[[/note]]. Sanae is a god in addition to being human[[note]]not the same as being half god. Yes, it's weird[[/note]] and is helped by a couple of gods.
** This trope is most of all exemplified with the {{Lunarians}} who are stronger, smarter, wiser, more technologically advanced and more magically adept than 99% of all youkai and 100% of all humans on top of being both immortal and pure. However, [[PureIsNotGood them being "pure" does not mean that they are "nice"]], it merely means that they are untouched by impurity and, by extention, death and it's been outright stated that they've considered [[ApocalypseHow "purifying" the Earth]] numerous times just to prevent us from spreading the existence of mortality beyond the boundaries of our own planet.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'': All humans have to use equipment or cybernetics to fight, the Scrin spit corrosive chemicals, control minds and fire energy out of their bodies. On the other hand, Scrin are critically dependent on [[GreenRocks Tiberium]] and Tiberium radiation for survival; without it they will [[DecapitatedArmy literally shrivel up and stop moving]], and they seeded Earth with the stuff specifically to harvest ever more of the precious material. Kane goes so far as to call them "a cult of addiction in the guise of a species", implicitly comparing their entire invasion to a druggie sticking up their neighbors for money.
* At the epilogue of ''Videogame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', [[spoiler:Demise makes several comments about how the humans from his glory days spent their time cowering in their caves at the mere sight of him and fled to their goddess Hylia for protection. He even mocks Hylia for abandoning her divine form for that of Zelda (this is after ''[[YourSoulIsMine eating her soul]]''), and yet he finds it curious that their kind begot the likes of [[TheHero Link]] and [[BadassNormal Groose]]. He even commends Link when he finally goes down]].
-->[[spoiler:''"You stand as a paragon of your kind, human. You fight unlike any human or demon I have ever faced."'']]
* This is both inverted and played straight in ''Videogame/XCOMEnemyUnknown''; human XCOM troops are physically stronger and tougher than most of the aliens in one respect or another. They're bigger and tougher than Sectoids, Thin Men, and Floaters, and it isn't until XCOM encounters Chryssalids, Heavy Floaters, and Mutons that enemies as tough and well-armed as they are show up. Of course, then the elite Mutons, Muton Berserkers, Cyberdiscs, and Sectopods show up, and then the Ethereals make their presence known, all of which are dramatically more powerful than XCOM soldiers, even the ones in Titan Armor. [[spoiler: It turns out that human physical strength is an ideal trait, when coupled with mental capability, which the Ethereals wanted to incorporate into their empire. The Ethereals even note during the final assault on the Temple Ship that most of their more impressive specimens have been massively altered at the cybernetic and genetic levels to get something that exceeds the human form.]]
* In of the early Protoss missions in ''[[VideoGame/StarcraftI Starcraft: Brood War]]'', they encounter a blockade set up by the United Earth Directorate. Artanis voices this trope when flabbergasted that Zeratul has concerns over attacking these Terrans. Zeratul is very quick to [[HumansAreWarriors put him in his place.]]
--> '''Artanis:''' "Have faith, Zeratul! You speak as if you fear these humans! Was it not we who slew the dreaded Overmind?"
--> '''Zeratul:''' "That we did, young one, but we did so with the help of the humans. Do not be so quick to underestimate them."
** This comes full circle in ''VideoGame/StarcraftIILegacyOfTheVoid'' where it is Artanis who defies this trope, when his decision to help the humans is put into question.
* Pretty much humans in ''VideoGame/StarControl''. Until the arrival of the Chenjesu to their outpost in the minor planet Ceres they lived with no FTL travel and totally oblivious to the conflict that was shaping in this corner of the Milky Way with the Ur-Quan's arrival, and were seen by the Ilwrath as ideal prey animals being weak and helpless. Their strength was to produce hundreds of (slow and vulnerable) warships armed with ''lots'' of nuclear missiles [[spoiler: and defeating using Precursor technology both Ur-Quan species, as well as restoring the Alliance]].
* ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'': It appears that humanity is very far south of the average tech level of the universe. All life on Earth is wiped out as a ''side effect'' of a battle in orbit between two warring alien powers (though we later learn that at least a portion of one side of the conflict was deliberately targetting Earth). Humanity only survived by a rushed evacuation of the homeworld into unknown space, [[spoiler:and even the technology to do that was gifted by a friendly alien... on their own, humans would have been screwed]]. The leaders of humanity are later dismayed to find out that the multi-species alien army that's very nearly caused humanity's extinction is considered nothing more than a minor crime syndicate by the ruling governments of local space (which, incidentally, encompasses ''multiple'' galaxies).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The Nemesite Empire in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' has legally owned Earth for eons. They consider humans part of the local wildlife (because humans don't have interstellar space travel yet) and have designated Earth as a nature preserve. While Voluptua clearly [[IntriguedByHumanity rather likes humans,]] she's never above [[YourLittleDismissiveDiminutive patronizing humans a little.]]
* Lampshaded in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', when Schlock's unit is trying to come up with a way to use Schlock's various powers NighInvulnerability, [[BlobMonster reforming if destroyed]], [[VoluntaryShapeShifting shape-shifting]], and a couple of other things) to get past a military checkpoint. Schlock complains "Why does it have to be MY powers? To me, YOU guys are the aliens. Can't you use your 'Special human powers' to get us past it?"
** And the only reason he has unusual abilities is that Carbosilicate Amorphs are descended from swarms of {{Nanomachines}}. The other naturally-evolved species have little or no physical advantage over humans, or if they do, it's minor, roughly [[CompetitiveBalance balanced]], and treated realistically (i.e. a four-armed alien who can only see in one direction ain't gonna [[MultiArmedAndDangerous aim weapons everywhich way at once]]).
** This trope is indeed justified and explored quite a bit; most of the stronger and more powerful species are artificial, such as Shlock himself and the uplifted [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys apes]] and elephants.
** Either averted or downplayed with most non-artificial aliens. The Fobott'r are MultiArmedAndDangerous but [[RequiredSecondaryPowers lack the coordination]] to [[DualWielding quad-wield properly:]] the Frellenti are {{Fragile Speedster}}s with an Multipurpose Tongue but no normal hands. The Oafan are TheAgeless and can back up memory in their skin, but are fragile LivingGasbags, and the Ob'enn are merely fluffy. Even the Unioc have [[SuperSenses superior vision]] as their only real plus over humanity. The only straight example is the Vorwhed, by virtue of being big.
* Averted by the aliens in ''[[http://www.agameoffools.com A Game of Fools]]'' who, despite their fearsome appearance, have little advantage over humans besides their highly advanced technology, can be easily restrained with nothing but rope and a fair few are terrified at the very sight of humans (though they've gotten over the last one somewhat). [[ButtMonkey Neeg]] also got the crap beaten out of him by an Old lady.
* Aylee and her species in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' are not only capable of assuming different forms to suit their environment, but their collected arsenal of genetic tricks from unknown eons of consuming planets (which acts to [[JustifiedTrope justify this]]) allows those forms to have just about any useful attribute, though not all at once. Thus, Aylee apparently never needs to sleep or breathe (nor, possibly, go to the potty), and often has vastly superior physical abilities compared to humans as well as a powerful HealingFactor. Things like flight, breathing fire and emitting [=EMPs=] are also possible adaptations. She's also very talented at web design. On the other hand, she's socially awkward on Earth and dreadful in handling money, and sometimes leaves slime all over the place or [[ImAHumanitarian eats unacceptable things]].
* This trope appears in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', manifesting itself in a few different ways. Karkat Vantas compares himself to a god for assisting in the creation of the kids' universe. Many other trolls, like Sollux Captor and Tavros Nitram, have powers that would make them superhuman on Earth.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', the Delethai are bigger, stronger, and tougher than human beings, as are the Xorn and the Terhish. The Hsax are smaller and physically weaker than humans, but are much faster and have much sharper senses. Physically, the K'kriki'i are pretty much harmless to humans, having evolved on a planet with about the same gravity as the Moon... but they're a race of {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s and much, much smarter than humans to boot.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Pretty damn bad in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}''. So many other species have outright superpowers, and humanity's only one appears to be the ability to [[NoBiochemicalBarriers breed with these aliens]] so their kids can have the alien superpowers. It gets pretty bad when the idea of a human having magical powers is treated as ridiculous while having similarly-themed energy-based superpowers inherited from the alien grandparent isn't (turns out that it was both, as said grandparent is an alien who's literally made of magic).
** Although, those are mostly just the aliens that the Omnitrix happens to use. A fair few one-off and civilian aliens are generally on par with humanity.
** The Omnitrix aliens are ''every sentient race Azmuth could get a sample of, plus every new alien encountered since then 'cause the Omnitrix can scan new ones.'' The first non-super aliens are encountered in ''Omniverse,'' the ''fourth'' series, the franchise's ''eighth'' year (unless we just assume some of the background aliens in big crowd scenes aren't superpowered.) We also learn that the human-appearing magic users Hex and Charmcaster come from another dimension. Humans ''can't'' use magic after all, or at least we've never seen it. Though interestingly, one of the least superpowered races is that of ''Vilgax,'' the BigBad. Most of his 'powers' come from technology. Separated from his arsenal, he's just (very, very) strong. Still, in "Vilgax Must Croak," that proved to make him a match for ''three'' alien bounty hunters in Comicbook/IronMan-class PoweredArmor.
** It gets better: In ''Ultimate Alien,'' aliens get 'evolved' forms. A Ben from a possible future has an Ultimate form of his own, which is... using Omnitrix alien powers without transforming, as opposed there being something cool about humans to push UpToEleven. [[ThisLoserIsYou Humans really do suck]] in the ''Ben 10'' universe.
** Humans are also known in the galaxy for [[ToServeMan their flavor...]]
** On the "humans don't share their weaknesses" side, one alien superhero was nearly killed by... [[spoiler: chocolate]]. And he was a Franchise/{{Superman}} {{Expy}} to boot!
* In ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' Mira's race has this attitude toward other races due to the natural power of {{Intangibility}} and their secondary PsychicPowers as a result of it. The Chlorm have an ''extreme'' version of this acting as if all sentient races are just {{Talking Animal}}s. This results in putting them in [[PeopleZoo their zoos]], using them for [[AnimalTesting product testing]] and having them do dumb tricks.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' humanity has been effortlessly conquered by the Omacronians so often that they're now GenreSavvy enough to just surrender on the spot. Not only is their space fleet so strong they can conquer a solar system before breakfast, they're large enough to swallow humans whole and posses the key to immortality. For some reason they're huge fans of human pop culture, as well as horns.
** Humans have also had their asses handed to them by the Decapodians and the Brain Spawn. We can always blame [[GeneralFailure Zapp Brannigan]] for the failures of the in-universe humans.
* Parodied by ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZIM''. Humans are pretty dumb, and Irkens have all kinds of superior technology...but for the most part, the Irkens are pretty dumb too. According to WordOfGod, the show's whole concept was founded on the [[RuleOfFunny inherent ridiculousness]] of a [[HigherTechSpecies Higher Tech Alien]] too stupid to use his power correctly. There ARE individual Irkens who are extremely competent at planetary conquest and using all that advanced weaponry. It's just a crapshoot whether they actually get in a position to do so considering that all honor and authority in their society is bestowed based on height before any other standard. Zim is actually rather good at using it himself, he's just completely incompetent at target selection. (He once carried out one of the most devastating planetary assaults EVER performed by any Irken...he just forgot to travel from his homeworld to the target planet BEFORE unleashing planet-wide devastation.)
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''
** Hawkgirl and all other Thanagarians have super-strength and wings.
** And then there's Comicbook/MartianManhunter and his ComboPlatterPowers...
** And freakin' Franchise/{{Superman}}...
** But Franchise/{{Batman}} has the greatest superpower of all: [[{{Determinator}} he never gives up]].
* ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes''. While every other planet seems to spawn a race of superpowered people, Earthlings need to [[JustForFun/HowToGiveACharacterSuperpowers do it the old fashioned way]] with [[FreakLabAccident lab accidents]] and the like.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' has Starfire (and her sister Blackfire) who are super strong, can fly, can throw fireballs, learn languages by kissing and have inordinately high pain thresholds (including a tolerance for extreme temperatures). All of these powers are just... characteristics of Tamaranians, apparently.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}''. Even the Autobots do it sometimes.
** Soundwave makes many good points on human inferiority to Transformers in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6klaUw997Qo this]] debate in case your still have any doubts.
** The ultimate result of this is that in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' [[spoiler:Sari, who is easily the most likeable (read:least [[TheScrappy hated]]) human, turns out to be at least partially mechanical]].
*** However, most Autobots are so freaked out by organic contamination that captain Fanzone actually managed to intimidate an informant into getting them what they needed just by threatening to drool on him.
** [[Franchise/TransformersFilmSeries The live-action movie verse]] on the other hand, the humans are effective fighting Transformers ''because'' they're puny; their small size allows them to hide in cover and pop up to fire a few Sabot rounds at a Decepticon.
** It's possible that the Autobots, Optimus Prime in particular, like and protect humanity because they're so small and weak.
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] for laughs in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E7TreehouseOfHorrorII "Treehouse of Horror II"]]. The aliens Kang and Kodos only invade Earth after humanity has voluntarily dissolved its militaries and destroyed all its weapons, leaving them helpless against the aliens' arsenal of wooden clubs and slingshots. The aliens even boast, "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" They flee the planet when one human thinks to attack them with a wooden board that has a nail sticking out of it.
* The only known alien race in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' is the gems, who are superhumanly strong, tough, and agile, capable of VoluntaryShapeshifting, [[TheAgeless don't age]], [[TheNeedless don't need to eat, drink, or sleep]], [[FromASingleCell can replace their entire body if injured]], [[EveryoneHasASpecialMove have individualized powers or built-in weapons]], and possess several other inherent advantages even separate from their [[HigherTechSpecies incredibly advanced technology]], they're not entirely wrong. Basically the only advantage humans have is that they can reproduce without [[GaiasLament draining planet's dry of life energy]].