->''"60 million years ago''\\
''another race, superior to ours''\\
''foresaw the catastrophe''\\
''fled to space and fled the tragedy''\\
''now they're here again, with a simple claim''\\
''Alien, Alien attack''\\
''They. Want. Their. Planet. Back."''
-->-- '''Music/{{SPOCK}}''', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHzXZWJIsJc ''Alien Attack'']]

The ultraterrestrials are an alien race that, well, isn't all too alien. In fact, they originate from Earth, just like us humans, but their civilization is so much older and more advanced than ours that they have no trouble hiding from us ([[TheWorldIsNotReady for whatever reason]]). The term was coined by the ufologist John Keel in his ''Operation Trojan Horse'' in 1970, wherein he claims that the [=UFO=]s, various supernatural phenomena (like Literature/{{the Mothman| prophecies}}), and [[AllMythsAreTrue religious myths]] imply the activity of an almighty High EnergyBeing co-existing with humans on Earth.

Contrast AdvancedAncientHumans, when it's ''humanity itself'' that developed early, got advanced, then for whatever reason disappeared or fell back into primitiveness. Contrast EarthAllAlong, which includes a reversal of this trope: human spacefarers encounter a strange planet with strange lifeforms. It turns out that a lot of time has passed, and this strange planet is actually Earth.

Different from TheMasquerade in that the masquerade is the act of hiding (e.g. in ''Film/MenInBlack'' extraterrestrials are walking among humans), whereas this is about the origin of the hiding species.

The ultraterrestrials often reside inside the HollowEarth. Still others hang out in {{Atlantis}}, or a place that's said to be the inspiration for it. Compare/contrast TranshumanAliens. Often a form of {{Precursor}}. Inverse of HumanityCameFromSpace.



* The Atlanteans in ''Anime/NadiaTheSecretOfBlueWater.''
* The Olmecs in ''Anime/TheMysteriousCitiesOfGold.''
* The "Subterraneans" in ''Anime/SuperAtragon''.
* The Dinosaur Empire (highly evolved survivors of when PhlebotinumKilledTheDinosaurs) in ''Manga/GetterRobo''.
* In the manga ''Manga/{{Outlanders}}'', the invading aliens were originally from Earth. They were not happy to find squatters on the Sacred Mother Planet.
* In the nasty {{gorn}}-filled {{hentai}} OVA series ''Demon Beast Invasion'', the eponymous villain was originally an advance scout for his race that was this trope (they'd left Earth 100 million years ago due to environmental changes making it unliveable for them); numerous {{retcon}}s gradually transformed it into a transdimensional EldritchAbomination though.
* The Nontolma from ''Manga/SgtFrog'' are pre-human inhabitants of Earth who live in the deepest oceans and prefer to be left alone to [[TheWatcher observe and record the goings-on of the surface world]].
* The Atlanteans from ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' are either this or AdvancedAncientHumans or AllJustADream. It's vague.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'': [[AllThereInTheManual Supplementary material]] shows that [[spoiler:this is true of the Angels (except for Adam and Lilith, which actually are extraterrestrial), they've just been asleep/dormant for the past several million years and Second Impact woke them up.]]
* The Pillar Men of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure''. Their creation of vampires started out the plot, and eventually the Pillar Men themselves emerge from thousands of years in hibernation.

* Creator/MarvelComics has ''ComicBook/TheEternals'', the Deviants, and ''ComicBook/TheInhumans'', each group an offshoot of pre-modern humans who were genetically modified by non terrestrial aliens long ago. Also the ComicBook/SubMariner's {{Atlantis}}.
** Lost lands of this type were also a staple of the company's [[{{Kaiju}} "giant monster"]] and science fiction stories in the 50's, although not all of those stories are still considered canon in the Marvel Universe.
* The Franchise/DCUniverse has Paradise Island/Themyscira, home of [[ComicBook/WonderWoman the Amazons]]; Gorilla City, home of gorillas [[TouchedByVorlons genetically enhanced by aliens]]; and Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}'s {{Atlantis}}. ComicBook/TheWarlord's land of Skartaris ''used'' to count, being a HollowWorld, but then got retconned as being a ''Series/LandOfTheLost''-style AlternateUniverse.
** According to one story from ''ComicBook/ArionLordOfAtlantis'' at least one alien race is descended from Atlantean space explorers. This ''might'' be an explanation for why there are so many [[HumanAliens human-looking alien races]] in the Franchise/DCUniverse.
* ''ComicBook/GoldDigger'' LIVES on this trope. Digging up artifacts from such civilizations is the whole point of Gina's character. Of course, that 'verse being a FantasyKitchenSink means that actual aliens, magical creatures from AnotherDimension, and plenty else besides show up all the time.

* In ''Sinister Barrier'' by Creator/EricFrankRussell, Earth is populated by Vitons, EnergyBeings who exist outside visible spectrum and feed upon human emotions: from pain and anguish to joy. Oh, and when they die, they [[ParanoiaFuel turn into ball lightnings]]. Though it's never made clear if Vitons originated on Earth in parallel with humans, if they created humans or if they came from another planet and enslaved humans -- people who think of Vitons in their presence are killed to maintain TheMasquerade, thus the researchers tend to die quickly ([[TheUnmaskedWorld until the cataclysmic reveal]] halfway through the novel).
* In Creator/BruceCoville's novel ''Literature/TheSearchForSnout'', a boy believed his DisappearedDad was an alien, but upon meeting him in space, finds out that he's a scientist from {{Atlantis}} who traveled into space before it fell, became immortal, and had adventures on alien worlds before returning to live on Earth (and then he disappeared because an alien he'd ticked off on his adventures found him and wanted to harm his family).
* The fairies from the ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' series have got magic ''and'' have technology 50 years ahead of ours. And they live within the HollowEarth, to boot.
* Humorous version from one of the spin-off ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' books, where Scott Adams postulates that all the smart people in the world have hyper-evolved to resemble grey aliens and are the real cause behind UFO sightings, but in fact have all just gone off to live in Switzerland.
* In the writings of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sharpe_Shaver Richard Sharpe Shaver]]--which he and many others believed to be fact--the Earth was once home to a super-advanced race of people living in ancient cave cities who abandoned this world to travel to another, leaving behind their descendants, the noble Teros and the degenerate Deros. The Deros would later inspire the evil dwarf-like Derros in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''.
* The dolphins in ''Literature/TheIlluminatusTrilogy''.
* In Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's ''Literature/AcornaSeries'', the character is a member of a humanoid race of unicorns, [[InterspeciesRomance descended from]] more traditional equine unicorns and the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens who rescued them from being hunted to extinction on Earth in the middle ages.
* Creator/{{Ken MacLeod}}'s Engines of Light trilogy is set in the Second Sphere, an area of space colonized by successive waves of intelligent Earth-evolved life forms, starting with hyperintelligent giant squid, and uplifted dinosaurs. Who fly around in saucers and happen to look a lot like [[TheGrays grays]].
* A staple of Creator/HPLovecraft's Franchise/CthulhuMythos. [[FishPeople Deep Ones]], [[OurGhoulsAreDifferent Ghouls]], [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent Serpentfolk]], [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Sand Dwellers]] are all roughly humanoid and presumably originated on Earth; the Cthonians could also possibly be of terrestrial origins, but their being full-fledged {{Eldritch Abomination}}s makes this hard to determine. The [[StarfishAlien Great Race]] is actually a subversion, as while their ''[[StarfishAliens host bodies]]'' originated on Earth, the ''[[BodySurf possessing intelligences]]'' that are the actual Great Race projected themselves through time and space from elsewhere and -when.
* An inversion terms of [[TheTropeHistoryOfTheUniverse the Trope History]] occurs in Creator/DougalDixon's ''Literature/ManAfterManAnAnthropologyOfTheFuture'' [[spoiler: where the descendants of those Humans sent off to colonise distant starts while Earth's ecology recovers return after 5 million years, exploit and alter the planet more than Humanity did the first time, and then leave for some [[AllThereInTheManual alien-rationalised reason]].]]
* In ''[[Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries 2001: A Space Odyssey]]'', Floyd speculated one of these to be the ones who buried the Monolith in the moon. But then debunk this when he realized humanity would have found evidence of their existence already.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's short story "Kid Stuff" features a civilization of insects who, apparently, are more ancient than the dinosaurs. For thousands of years, they lived alongside humans as "fairies", but a few centuries ago, when they saw that, despite their telepathic powers, MugglesDoItBetter, they had a bad case of inferiority complex and withdrew to a number of {{Hidden Elf Village}}s.
* Another story by Asimov, "Hostess", is based on the idea that [[spoiler:the aging process]] is due to [[spoiler:humanity being possessed by some kind of pure mind parasitic species. They can also infect alien races, which don't normally age... and die within a year once infected. Apparently, there is something about an alien mind that makes it worth the experience, even considering the risks of crossing interstellar distances without a starship.]]
* ''Literature/{{Mindwarp}}'': [[spoiler: The aliens that hound the heroic kids for the first six books are revealed to not be aliens, but a genetically-engineered super soldier/successor race from the future.]]
* In ''Literature/TheStressOfHerRegard'', the novel's "vampires" are actually a form of silicon-based life that had dominated the Earth in the ''very'' distant past, but had gone dormant when organic life became prevalent. They'd still be little more than inert rock, had a bizarre human experiment not managed to revive them.

* In the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS3E22DistantOrigin Distant Origin]]", the starship encounters an ancient civilization of earth dinosaurs. However, the theory that dinosaurs originate on Earth quickly gets branded as heresy, [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything since it conflicts with the dogma that they have always been in their current region of space]].
** Interestingly, their leader doesn't necessarily say that the Distant Origin theory is wrong. It just happens to contradict the Doctrine, on which their entire culture is based. She's perfectly willing to let the ''Voyager'' (i.e. the evidence that humans and Voth are related) go, as long as the scientist making the claim is willing to give up the theory and be relegated into obscurity. She's simply protecting her race's cultural identity.
** Except that Doctrine is also what gives her the right to rule (without any apparent checks on power or transparency), so she's also protecting her authority. Regardless of whether StrawmanHasAPoint, this is coming at the cost of stifling scientific progress and denying the Voth any right to debate a new discovery regarding their origin or potential genetic relationship with another spacefaring species.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The most prominent examples are the Silurians and Sea Devils (both of these names are technically {{Fantastic Slur}}s, the expanded universe uses "Earth Reptiles" and the 21st-century series the taxonomically dubious ''Homo reptilia'' as alternatives), who are terrestrial and aquatic races of an intelligent dinosaur species, from around 300 million BC, who put themselves into suspended animation in fear of a planetary disaster that failed to occur. They appear in the old-school serials "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS7E2DoctorWhoAndTheSilurians Doctor Who and the Silurians]]", "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E3TheSeaDevils The Sea Devils]]" and "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS21E1WarriorsOfTheDeep Warriors of the Deep]]", and several 21st-century episodes. Various encounters with humans on a large scale have led to tragic results, but in the 21st-century show Madame Vastra, a Silurian LadyOfWar living covertly in Victorian England with her [[InterspeciesRomance human wife]], has become a sympathetic recurring character.
** Also, the Cybermen were originally humans. As of developments in the new series, there are now two distinct groups of Cybermen: those developed into Cybermen on Earth's [[CounterEarth twin planet Mondas]] and those created in an AlternateUniverse (wherein Britain is a republic, Rose Tyler's dad is still alive, Rose Tyler never existed, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and Mickey is Ricky]]).
** There was also the [[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E3ImageOfTheFendahl Fendahl]], whose skull crashed on Earth long before humans existed and [[GambitRoulette psychically guided human evolution for thousands of years]] so that it could have a suitable host.
** The revived series does a purer form of this trope with the Silence, [[spoiler:who have secretly ruled Earth "since the wheel and the fire"]], but always went unnoticed because you forget their existence as soon as they leave your field of vision. You don't just forget, but anything they say is treated as a post-hypnotic suggestion, including [[spoiler:"You should kill us on sight" spliced with the footage of the Lunar landing, meaning humans kill the Silence without ever knowing it]]. It was finally revealed that [[spoiler:the Silence actually fail to qualify for this, as they are time-travelling humans from the '''far future''', who were biologically altered by a religious cult]].
* Gary Seven, from the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E26AssignmentEarth Assignment: Earth]]", was from a race of humans raised on another planet, returned to Earth to guide human evolution.
* The aliens in ''Series/TheXFiles'' were actually ancient native Earth lifeforms that left for a few millennia and decided to come back. Much to their horror, they found that those pesky apes had built a civilization and replaced them -- so they set out to re-colonize Earth, using the GovernmentConspiracy to aid them.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}''
** The First People [[spoiler:are a subversion. They're actually contemporary humans using a time machine.]]
** [[TheMenInBlack The Observers]] play this trope straight, except for the fact that they come from the ''very'' far future. As such, they are [[HumansArePsychicInTheFuture telepathic]], can travel through space and time at will and "[[SuperSpeed function at highly attenuated time]]".
* The antagonists in the ''Series/UltraSeven'' episode "Envoy from Nonmalto".
* In the final episode of ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond'', the Chig ambassador claims that his species evolved on Earth before humans did, but left before the atmosphere became suited to oxygen-breathing life (the Chigs are methane-breathers). Well, specifically, the Chigs evolved from humble anaerobic ''bacteria'' that evolved on ancient Earth, who then got spread to space by an asteroid impact, then meteorites created from the impact eventually spread to another solar system, where they continued to evolve. Consider that there was a gap of billions of years between when anaerobic bacteria evolved and when complex multicellular life evolved. Technically their DNA line is billions of years older than ours, but much of this was spent as just frozen bacteria spores on meteorites for billions of years after that, so in the present day they're roughly at the same evolutionary level as we are.
* The Kromag in ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' are thougth to be aliens at first but it turns out they are a parallel evolution of hominids from another Earth.

* In the song "Alien Attack" (see Page Quote), the synth band S.P.O.C.K. tells a story of hypertech dinosaurs coming back to reclaim their home planet from the humans.

* The [[BeneathTheEarth Subterrans]] and [[{{Atlantis}} Tritons]] in ''{{TabletopGame/Monsterpocalypse}}''.
* The [[TheReptilians Saurians]] in ''TabletopGame/ConspiracyX''.
* The andean Pucara red giants in ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'', unlike pretty much every other non-human, non-{{mutant}} sentient species in the setting (which usually originate from AnotherDimension), turn out to be this (of course, they're from South America, which is weird even by Rifts Earth standards).
** There's also the True {{Atlant|is}}eans, who are AdvancedAncientHumans / {{Precursors}} who'd left Earth millenia ago (called "True" because Atlantis is currently home to myriad AliensAndMonsters and ruled by a ProudMerchantRace EldritchAbomination), and Psi-X Aliens, who look like TheGreys (and considered just another extra-dimensional race) but are actually {{mutants}} genetically engineered as a failed experiment to unlock the secret of PsychicPowers by [[MadScientist Dr. Desmond Bradford]].

* The Lunarians in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' Project.
* The D'ni of ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' fame, though they originated on another world. Their city can be visited in ''VideoGame/MystV'' and ''VideoGame/{{Uru}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'': the [[spoiler:Komato, and, by extension, the Tasen]] originated from Earth, [[spoiler:which they called Origin. They don't realize this until ''after'' they AlphaStrike its surface into a charred wasteland]]. Which we learn a ways into the game, and changes how some of them think.
* The Gillmen of ''VideoGame/XCOMTerrorFromTheDeep'', possibly inspired by the Silurians and Sea-Devils of ''Doctor Who''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}''' Ceph, although they don't quite fit the trope perfectly. Yes, the Ceph are genuine extraterrestrials who originated from another galaxy, but they established colonies on Earth at least 65 million years ago which then went into hibernation. So no, they're not exactly UltraTerrestrials, but they've been on this planet for so long they might as well be.
* The Vahnatai in the ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}''/''VideoGame/{{Exile}}'' series even ''look'' like Roswell aliens, but live extremely deep underground.
* The Beastmen from ''VideoGame/UFOAfterlight'' are actually Ultra-Martians back with a vengeance against the Martians who had imprisoned them in another dimension.
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'': The {{Precursor|s}} race known as The Ones Who Came Before, or "First Civilization". They more or less looked like humans, but had triple-helix DNA and a sixth sense. They didn't just evolve before humans - they took primate races and artificially uplifted them using genetic engineering to serve their needs as a slave race. Basically, imagine if modern humans took chimpanzees and genetically uplifted them into near-humans. Subsequent conspiracies then filled in the fossil record gap this created with fabrications (i.e. we really jumped straight from ''Homo erectus'' to anatomically modern humans, then they filled in the missing links). They then dominated humans with their superior technology and physical capabilities. A slave revolt greatly depopulated them, after which a catastrophic natural disaster finished off those who were left (ironically preventing them from saving the planet, including the nascent human civilization on it). Humanity survived but got dialed back to hunter-gatherers and forgot their origins. The legacy of the First Civilization lives on, however, in the form of their DNA mingled with some human bloodlines.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{TalesOfMajEyal}} Tales of Maj'Eyal]]'' has the Sher'Tul, who were a mysterious {{Precursor|s}} race with advanced technology and magic that are, to this day, very poorly understood by the current races that reside on Eyal. [[spoiler: They initiated a crusade against the Gods and drove the Gods to virtual extiction. They then disappeared for unknown reasons, but there are references InUniverse that "the Sher'Tul are not gone, just hiding".]]

* The [[DinosaursAreDragons dragons]] in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob,'' although they left Earth for another planet in the Middle Ages.
* In ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'', the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth also propelled a number of them into space. "Crazy space radiation" caused them to gain human-level intelligence. Eventually, they mastered interstellar travel and (in some of the timelines) returned to Earth.

* The [[AIIsACrapshoot ahuman]] and solipsist transapient [=AI=]s from ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'' are ultraterrestrials to an extent - they ''were'' originally created by humans, but after losing their cyberwar against the pro-human transapients, they were exiled from Earth. When the ([[{{Transhumanism}} trans]])humans and pro-human [=AI=]s finally reached the systems the ahumans had passed through, they found apparently alien artifacts - which turned out to be just stuff that the ahumans had built.
* Several examples from the Wiki/SCPFoundation:
** Played with in the form of [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti SCP-]][[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-1000 1000]]. They were the dominant species on Earth before humanity. Then humanity destroyed their civilization and wiped its own memory of those events through an unspecified means. Now the SCP-1000 want to be "let back in."
** As it turns out, turnabout is fair play. [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2932 SCP-2932]] claims that the "Children of the Night" had previously overthrown a race known as the [[TheFairFolk Fae]].
** Unrelated to any of the above, [[StarfishAliens SCP]]-[[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2735 2735]] was the dominant lifeform on Earth billions of years ago, until oxygen-breathing life came along.
* In the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', shortly after Earth has fought off an invasion by the Xorn, the earth is visited by ''another'' alien race, the Kankiscree, who have been space-faring for some 70 million years and possess [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien god-like technology]]. Turns out the Kankiscree ''originated'' on earth from one of the dinosaur species. They left due to the dramatic climate change caused by the "dinosaur-killer" asteroid impact and never bothered to come back. They then declared that their mammalian "cousins", the humans, were under their protection.

* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
** The Crab People from "[[Recap/SouthParkS7E8SouthParkIsGay South Park is Gay!]]"
-->'''[[EarWorm "Taste like crab, talk like people..."]]'''
** Jakovasaurs are from Earth, but they're really, really stupid.
* ''Series/{{Stingray 1964}}'': The various aquatic races.
* The monsters from ''WesternAnimation/{{Inhumanoids}}'' as well as the Mutores.
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}}'' creator Creator/GregWeisman [[WordOfGod mentions]] that there was a "Lost Race" that existed before humans, [[OurGargoylesRock gargoyles]] or [[TheFairFolk Oberon's Children]] and died out sometime after they came into being.
* The [[{{Atlantis}} Y'Lyntians]] from the 2003 ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' series.