Despite his great big muscles and his Really Big RaygunA more Sci-Fi oriented version of the Talking Animal, where the creature's ability to think and communicate with people on an equal level isn't typical of their species, but instead the result of some Applied Phlebotinum at work. Perhaps the animal's intelligence has been artificially increased (or inversely, people can communicate with them in their Animal Talk) and/or their physical voice structure altered so they can pronounce human words, or they have been fitted with a Translator Collar; but these animals have come to be more or less equals to human in terms of ability, but their acceptance and status in human society can be questionable. This rarely becomes an actual plot point; it's usually just an unspoken, world-building background detail so that the author can place a Talking Animal in the regular cast. See also Transhuman and Polly Wants a Microphone.
Jim is still an earthworm but then he's the only one
With a super suit to make him really super strong
Jim can be a winner if we only sing along!
Jim is still an earthworm but then he's the only one
With a super suit to make him really super strong
Jim can be a winner if we only sing along!
— Earthworm Jim theme song.
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Anime and Manga
- In the Lyrical Nanoha series, this happens individually to animals with whom mages form a Magically Binding Contract with to become their familiar. They gain the ability to take somewhat human forms and easily communicate with humans. This lasts for the duration of the Contract, but when it runs out, the familiar ceases to exist. For a familiar with an open-ended contract like Alf, this makes her a lifelong companion for Fate (and a longer lifespan for her), but giving a familiar a short contract like performing a single task is a good way to Kick the Dog.
- The final episode of GunBuster shows a dolphin as one of the crew of a human ship. All There in the Manual: Noriko explains in one of the "Science Lesson" shorts that hyper-advanced human ships utilize cyborg dolphins as part of their navigation systems, alongside psychic humans.
- Mars Daybreak shows that among the human colonists of Mars are a small number of porpoises/whales wearing Powered Armor that allows them to move on land and translates their speech. A talking cat also happens to be a member of the crew, which is not considered too unusual.
- Boota from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Because he's constantly around Simon, he has absorbed a great deal of Spiral Energy and became much more aware than the average pigmole. Near the end, he actually taps into it and temporarily gains a humanoid form. Due to Evolutionary Levels, this means he also becomes spontaneously Kemonomimi. Guame would count as well. He was pretty much Lordgenome's version of Boota.
- IGPX has a dog for Team Edgeraid, and Luca the cat for team Satomi. Realistic in that the only time we hear either of them talk is within the mech cockpits. As their lips don't move, there's probably a mixture of genetic modification and neural implants.
- Ein from Cowboy Bebop is a "data dog", a product of highly illegal animal experimentation that wound up on-board the Bebop after a botched bounty hunt. Exactly what a "Data Dog" is was never explained, but he's certainly more intelligent than your average mutt (and in fact may be the smartest member of the crew). Aside from a keen understanding of the world around him, he's shown an apparent ability to read, play chess, and even hack computers. He can't talk, however. It is briefly touched on that a data dog's DNA has been used to store highly sensitive information. It is dubious as to whether or not this would qualify as uplifted.
- In Outlaw Star two super-intelligent cats help a human pilot a Combining Mecha.
- Iggy from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a hyperintelligent dog who can't speak, but can understand humans perfectly. Whenever he "talks", it's his internal monologue. He is also the user of a Stand — whose name is The Fool, ironically enough. It's generally displayed that giving Stand power to an animal automatically upgrades their intelligence to or near human levels. Examples include the aforementioned Iggy, a bird of prey, an Orangutan, a rat, and even a colony of plankton. While readers aren't privy to the thoughts of any but the first and the last, they all display very human tactics.
- The Team Rocket trio's Meowth from Pokémon, according to his backstory. In the movies, a good number of Legendary Pokemon (including Mewtwo, Lugia, Deoxys, and Shaymin) can speak via telepathy. Vocal speech is rarer, but Arceus, Darkrai and the Slowking from the second movie can all speak.
- Tony Tony Chopper was a normal reindeer ostracized by his herd because he was born with a blue nose. He then ate the Hito Hito no Mi and gained sapience and the ability to take on a half-human/half-reindeer form and a human form. This also caused him to be abandoned by his herd and hated by humans, resulting in him growing bitter towards all humans save two until he met Luffy.
- In Zettai Karen Children, we are introduced to Igo (Literally 'Number 9') who is a telepathic, prescient dolphin genetically engineered by the 'Comericans' for combat purposes during ZKC's version of WWII. It's revealed in flashbacks that Igo is part of a trio of dolphins who defected to Japan. The two who survived, Igo and Hachigo (Number 8) were integrated into the Japanese 'Imperial Esper Unit' and were ultimately responsible for the future prediction that drives a great deal of the story. ZKC also contains Momotaro, a flying squirrel who was engineered and cybernetically altered by the Japanese government to have telepathy and telekinetic powers, again for WWII.
- In Judge Dredd, genetic experiments resulted in a group of monkeys as intelligent as humans that speak English, and who were eventually given human rights and their own ghetto in Mega-City One. Some of them went on to form a criminal gang. Uplifted apes also appear in the Dreddverse series Insurrection. Originally a servile class in an ex-terrestrial mining colony, they join the mutants and robots (also slaves) alongside the human Judges in rebellion against Mega-City One.
- Mr. Tawny in Captain Marvel started this way. He was an ordinary tiger raised from a cub as a child's pet and accused in adulthood as a man-killer. A Hermit Guru type lived nearby, who apparently was also The Professor; he had invented a drug that would allow Tawny to speak so he could defend himself. Tawny not only retained the ability to speak, he became very civilized and took to wearing elegant clothes, making him a Funny Animal. He got a job at a zoological museum and his stories dealt with everyday problems while the Marvels were off saving the universe.
- Grease Monkey, a sci-fi graphic novel, has the uplifting of gorillas as part of its premise. The main character is such an uplift, who serves a space fighter mechanic on a space station. The almost Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that visited Earth had a pattern of this: to bolster the chances of other races to resist a separate alien menace that follows them across the galaxy, the benefactor aliens uplift animals suited to the task. Their standard process is to uplift one individual, allow him to learn about the dominant species (humans in this case) and then decide on behalf of his race. The gorilla said yes, and now all remaining gorillas are as intelligent as people (they found out about a lot of our bad points after the choice was made). The dolphin said no. He went with the aliens, and the rest of his species were left unaltered.
- Kingdom is all about a group of genetically engineered dogpeople who keep fighting a race of giant insects after their human masters disappear.
- In Nikolai Dante, at some point in the past, a group of endangered species were given human intelligence in the hope of preserving them. They rose up and overthrew humans, with the result that Africa is now ruled by the houses of Numa (lion), Tantor (elephant), and Kong (gorilla).
- Guardians of the Galaxy features Cosmo, a golden retriever who's mysteriously uplifted when he was blasted into orbit during early Russian Cosmonautical testing. When he's eventually found in a colony in deep space, not only has he gained the ability to talk via telepathy, he does it in thick, Soviet era broken English.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the title turtles and the master, Splinter were all once ordinary pet turtles (and a rat), but were all mutated into their current forms after exposure to radiation coming from a leaking can full of mutagenic ooze. (In a couple of the adaptations, Splinter was originally human, but the turtles are consistently turtles.)
- Brute Force was a short lived 4 issue series about a scientist who uses cyborg enhancements to makes five animals intelligent and speak, and fight evil. Mostly people trying to destroy rainforests and polluting the ocean, and a team of evil cyborg animals. Pretty much a badass version of Captain Planet, though despite a few notable excellent fight scenes, it is notably (to quote Linkara) "So mind-boggling stupid that it's awesome" and says it's a true guilty pleasure.
- They recently got a one-shot revival in a crossover with Deadpool, whether this will open up a possibility for a revival series is unknown.
- In The DCU, Gorilla Grodd and Solavar were uplifted by aliens, making them the first two talking gorillas. They would eventually found an entire city of other talking gorillas. Then Grodd turned evil.
- Dr Dinosaur in Atomic Robo is either an uplifted dinosaur clone who happens to be completely insane, or a dinosaur given intelligence by the time-travelling disaster that caused the K-T event...who happens to be completely insane.
- In Marvel Comics, there's the New Men, most of whom became the Knights of Wundagore. They were once ordinary animals before the High Evolutionary subjected them to his experiments; now they're mostly typical Petting Zoo People. Some are more or less human than others; Sir Porga is basically a rotund human with pointed ears, Sir Ram has a humanlike face and has feet rather than hooves, Lady Ursula looks like a human-sized (and -shaped) bear, and Lady Vermin is just an ordinary-looking rat who can't even speak without an electronic translator device.
- An old rumor goes that Wolverine was intended to be one of these. A few Marvel staffers have denied it, but a couple lines in his early appearances do refer to him as "a talking wolverine"...
- Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) was indisputably intended to be an uplifted spider, but this got Retconned. Apparently Stan Lee thought this idea was too wacky. For the Marvel Universe.
- Carl Barks: Gyro Gearloose once invented a 'think box' device that could make any animal as smart as a person. He ended up creating both a superintelligent rabbit and a superintelligent wolf, the latter of whom he only barely stopped from stewing Donald alive.
- In Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space our heroes travel to Antarctica and meet Gneelicks, a human-husky hybrid who gripes about the problems with this trope.
"That's just those damned penguins stirring up trouble," growled Gneelicks. "They claim we're an 'introduced' species. Hah! We huskies have been here for generations — my ancestors were eaten by Amundsen on his way to the South Pole! But the price of sentience is eternal politics — it's enough to drive you mad. Seals don't want to be tagged because it violates their civil liberties. Whales demanding compensation for attempted genocide. Emperor penguins with delusions of grandeur, complaining that the solar mirrors are interfering with their pattern of life..."
Films — Animated
- Iago is implied to be this in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar.
- Franny's singing frogs in the future world of Meet the Robinsons.
- Muntz' dogs in Up have been given the power to communicate in human speech, and to fly airplanes, among other things.
- Gus from Cinderella is actually made sapient by receiving clothing like the other mice in the film. And possibly all of the other mice.
- The dinosaurs from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story are all made sapient by being fed magic cereal. Later, the villain devolves said dinosaurs back into their primitive selves to frighten everyone, and the only way for them to become sapient again is to have children hug them.
- The rats from The Secret Of NIMH. Although, that is a secret.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: Thanks to a mishap involving Fluttershy's magic and Human Twilight's device, Spike the dog is given the ability to speak, as well as causing his behavior to be less dog-like. Slightly unusual in that the past two films featured a different talking Spike the dog which was originally a dragon.
Films — Live-Action
- Booga in Tank Girl:
"I was a dog, but because I was really good, they upgraded me to human. Uh, sort of."
- In the comics, Booga is a mutated kangaroo.
- The Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets kicked off when this accidentally happens during the testing of an Alzheimer's treatment. Planet of the Apes in general may be the Trope Codifier. Primates get this treatment in the franchise prior to its Reboot as well: the original novel features modified apes replacing humans as menial servants, a notion carried through in the original film franchise. The 2001 re-imagining features a space station where simians are being modified to carry out routine space piloting and other technical tasks.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket is the result of "illegal genetic and cybernetic experiments on a lower life form", specifically a raccoon. He is not aware of this, as he doesn't know what a raccoon is, instead believing himself to be an entirely artificial lifeform.
- David Brin's Uplift is the Trope Namer. Major characters include uplifted dolphins and chimps. Technically, every sentient species has records of being originally uplifted from animals (or plants, or fungi, etc.), except for humanity and the original prehistoric Progenitors.
- And the tradition of Uplift is so ingrained in 2 billion years of Galactic society that many clans refuse to believe that Humans, ul-Dolphin-ul-Chimpanzee, could be anything but "wolflings" abandoned by their patrons mid-Uplift. The mere suggestion that we might have evolved sapience on our own is usually considered a preposterous, laughable superstition, as impossible as claiming a deity sculpted us out of clay. At worst, the claim is blasphemy of the highest order.
- On the other hand, the same traditions of Uplift also force them to give humanity a modicum of respect, as patrons of not one but two sapient species. Had humanity not by sheer coincidence started uplifting dolphins and chimps before First Contact, we might have been forced to become clients of another (likely abusive) species or even exterminated for ecological mismanagement.
- In another of Brin's novels, Existence, a rich kid is saved from drowning by some partially uplifted dolphins who were abandoned when the project lost its funding. He makes sure the project is resumed and completed.
- Larry Niven's Known Space stories (e.g. World of Ptavvs) have intelligent dolphins that have learned to speak English. They interact with humans as equals; we manufacture artificial limbs and hands for them to use to enable tool-using. Actually, the dolphins were always intelligent. It just took humanity a long time to learn to communicate with them. The first thing they do once we do figure it out is, of course, filing a class-action lawsuit against humanity as a species for our whaling practices, something that they were evidently rather angry about (but unable to file complaint) since the get-go. (Not that the dolphins intend to actually win the lawsuit, since they find the legal wrangling far more fun than an actual settlement.)
- 'Superchimps' or 'simps' (an in-universe misnomer - they're uplifted monkeys, not apes) appear in some Arthur C. Clarke works, including Rendezvous with Rama. Clarke also used this theme with respect to humanity itself in 2001. The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens took a tribe of apes and manipulated their intelligence, planting the seeds of modern man. They then took a modern man, and uplifted him to create a Star Child.
- In Cory Doctorow's short story, I, Rowboat, one of the hobbies of members of the transHuman race (and some robots) is uplifting individuals of a species to see what happens. The main antagonist of the story is an uplifted coral reef. By the end of the story, we find that the reef has been uplifted several times in the past and each time manages to kill itself off before regenerating in a non-sentient form.
- In Alan Dean Foster's Taken trilogy, one of the main characters is a dog named George who has been abducted by aliens and given human-level intelligence and the ability to communicate.
- A variation of this occurs in Garth Nix's fantasy series The Keys to the Kingdom. The Raised Rats were brought to the House by the Piper, who gave them speech, intelligence, and made them much bigger. They are a rather mercantile people who trade their services for information (although they also remain loyal to the Piper), and their Steam Punk technology is damn impressive.
- In The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy people came to the conclusion that it was unethical to kill animals and eat them, so they genetically engineered creatures so that they would A) want to be eaten and B) be intelligent enough to verbally express this fact, thus removing any guilt one might feel while eating meat. Arthur Dent is horrified, of course, and opts to have a salad instead. The creature in question is extremely offended by this rejection.
- In the climax of Perelandra, Tor announces as part of his plans for the new civilization of Venus that they will raise up the brighter species of animal until they become hnau — Old Solar for "sapient beings".
- Mrs Frisby And The Rats Of Nimh, and related books have the eponymous Rats. Notable in its merely modern setting.
- Draffut in The Empire of the East and the Book of Swords series was a dog who was altered into an intelligent, bipedal, super-powered giant by advanced medical technology. Paradoxically, he was later worshiped as a god by human beings.
- W. Michael & Kathleen O'Neal Gear's Dark Inheritance uplifts chimps and bonobos in a modern setting. The authors are anthropologists so it goes into a lot of technical detail of how it was done, differences in psychology, various problems with zoonotic diseases, issues with uplifted chimps dealing with un-uplifted chimps, difficulties with something with the raw physical power of a chimp and the mentality of a human, and a lot of technical details. The chimps and bonobos in this cannot talk, only communicate via sign language or using a keyboard. It also shows various stages in the uplift process with different levels of change.
- The Choblik race from the Star Trek Novel Verse. Choblik today are cyborgs; they were previously merely smarter-than-usual woodland creatures. The "Great Builders" installed their implants, artificially giving them sapience. This unknown race of Builders are considered the Choblik equivalent of "gods". Torvig Bu-kar-nguv from Star Trek: Titan is a Choblik.
- In Star Trek: Vanguard, it's revealed that the Tholians were also originally this, gaining sapience after being "domesticated" by the Shedai.
- In David Weber's Empire from the Ashes Trilogy, cyborg cybernetic implants are standard issue for everyone, with advanced equipment for the military. Dog-adapted cybernetic enhancements are paired with genetic tinkering to make dogs smart enough to play chess, talk with an implant and the strength to hew Imperial Marines to shreds. Oh, and they have undying loyalty to the Imperial family.
- One otherwise extremely intelligent race in A Fire Upon the Deep relies on an archaic piece of cybernetics to give them a long-term memory, a device they're still so grateful to their ancient benefactors for that they consider tampering with its design tantamount to heresy. This turns out to have been a Really Bad Idea when its revealed their mysterious benefactors were actually the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination of the novel, using them as part of a Thanatos Gambit through a Mind Control back door feature of the devices.
- The Dean Koontz novel Watchers features an uplifted golden retriever with near-human intelligence. He can't talk, so he spells out words using a few games worth of Scrabble tiles.
- The Island of Doctor Moreau is probably the Ur-Example of "uplifting" in sci-fi, albeit not a particularly successful variant of the procedure.
- Babar, due to him spending his entire childhood living in Paris, France ever since his mother was killed by hunters actually started to become more and more sapient over time. Eventually he makes all animals sapient because of this.
- Alastair Reynolds
- There are "hyperpigs" in the Revelation Space series. Their origins are obscure - no one now knows who gave them intelligence and language, or why. It is suspected that they were a side effect of genetically engineering pigs to be human organ donors... though whether the final uplift to sentience was deliberate tinkering or just an accident is never mentioned. In a more common variation of this trope, there are also many species of uplifted primates.
- On the Steel Breeze has Tantors, who are very insistent that they're not elephants.
- Cordwainer Smith's 'Instrumentality' series features the Underpeople, and their struggle for equal rights.
- Perry Rhodan - Genetic modified apes. The terran government wants to give them the right to vote, but they refused repeatedly.
- The residents of Santa Chico in Fallen Dragon prefer Transhumanism and this trope to terraforming; Instead of replacing the original climate, fauna and flora with Earth equivalents, they exchange traits until they can coexist.
- S. Andrew Swann's Moreau Series where animals are second-class citizens in the mid-21st century.
- Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis had man's best friend uplifted to child-like sapience.
- The Maximum Ride books have Total, a genetically engineered black Scottish Terrier who turns out to talk in the second book, and who eventually becomes a seventh member of the Flock.
- In Simon Hawke's Wizard series, thaumagenes are augmented pets created by Magitek-powered genetic engineering. All are sentient and capable of speech, and some also exhibit Mix-and-Match Critter or Mechanical Lifeform traits.
- In the Dragaera novels, the reptiles known as jhereg were rendered intelligent and psychic as a sideline-experiment by the Jenoine.
- The Tortall Universe has a fantasy version thanks to events in The Immortals. As a side-effect of her immensely powerful wild magic, Daine makes any animal that spends an extended amount of time in her company more intelligent even if she doesn't interact with it. If she does, it gets smarter faster—and since she lives in the Palace for a while, every animal there is spookily intelligent (and very helpful to Page Keladry.) She can do it deliberately but on the whole dislikes this happening because it just makes life more difficult for them. The intelligence can range from full sentience (her pony Cloud is on this level thanks to biting her once and ingesting a bit of blood) to just smarter than average.
- Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music features several. Most notably, the uplifted kangaroo, Joey Castle.
- Similar to Cordwainer Smith in Will Shetterly's Chimera genetically engineered animals are somewhere between slaves and second class citizens, the Heroine is a Jaguar Woman named Zoe Domingo created to be a sex slave.
- Sirius, by British philosopher-turned-SF-writer Olaf Stapledon, was one of the first attempts to seriously imagine what it might be like to be an uplifted animal—to try to get inside the head of such a creature. In this case, the first of its kind, a dog, named after the "dog star", Sirius.
- The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Sir Terry Pratchett. Some rats gained intelligence by eating magic-laden garbage left by Unseen University, the Discworld's school of magic. Maurice the cat gained intelligence by eating one of the rats.
- In earlier books, Gaspode the Wonder Dog is uplifted twice, by two different mechanisms (the latter being the result of magical detritus). It appears that all dogs are sentient in some way, but Gaspode has human-level intelligence and can actually speak Morporkian.
- There's also Quoth the Raven, who appears to be substantially brighter that most birds, and can also speak to humans.
- The Camels are a borderline case... they're highly intelligent mathematicians, but it isn't clear whether they naturally evolved that way or were magically granted sapience.
- And speaking of sapience, there's The Luggage, a malevolent animated item of travel baggage made from sapient pearwood. Given that it is ambulatory and capable of reproduction, it might be considered a sort of uplifted tree (though as happens so often in the Discworld, the trees themselves seem to be intelligent, after a fashion...).
- Andre Norton
- In Catseye, the animals are of human intelligence, though they can communicate mentally only with Troy and with whoever has the controller.
- In Storm Over Warlock, the wolverines are part of program that introduces mutated and highly trained animals to Survey Teams. The wolverines are the first fielded from their species, and Shan thinks they are more intelligent than they guessed.
- Mikhail Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog involves a certain Doctor Preobrazhensky who implants human testicles and pituitary gland into a dog as part of his experiments in rejuvenation but accidentally turns the dog into a human instead. It becomes an issue because the new human takes so strongly to revolutionary ideas that he refuses to adapt to normal human standards of politeness and considerateness out of the assumption that they are too "bourgeois."
- In the Rats, Bats and Vats duology, the titular animals are genetically engineered slave-soldiers granted human-like intelligence by means of cybernetic brain implants provided by the alien Korozhets. Both were created to help humanity defend itself against the insectoid Magha, and are considered less than optimal, due to their inherently Blue and Orange Morality — this further causes them to be treated as property. Their "soft-cyber" implants also compel them to obey orders given by the Korozhets, who are secretly masterminding the whole war with the intent of conquering the planet and taking humanity as slaves. They also mean that both species can engage in Brain Uploading, allowing for a kind of Resurrective Immortality by having their soft-cybers retrieved and installed in new bodies.
- Darkeye is about the trials of a motley pack of uplifted canines trying to keep two human children alive in a city populated by uplifted canines who have a taste for human meat. The bouda - hyenas who sometimes spontaneously turn into humans - sometimes stop the transformation at the brain, as is the case with Vimbo. The webnovel also includes a unique inversion of the trope: the screamers, humans who voluntarily gave up their intelligence generations ago.
- The talking dog Ralph Von Wau Wau from Spider Robinson's Callahans Crosstime Saloon is an unusual case. He was born a mutant, possessing human-level intelligence, but was artificially uplifted by a scientist who surgically altered his larynx and mouth structure in an experiment that would allow a dog to mimic human speech. Ralph would later "adopt" a mute man and act as his ventriloquist, cooking up a "my dog can talk" shtick to hustle a few bucks.
- City by Clifford Simak has three distinct cases:
- The dogs were surgically altered to have human-level intelligence and to speak. Somehow the surgery was made to be inheritable. This was done to provide a different point of view for problems humanity might face. The dogs got no hands, since there are robots to help them. When humans left Earth, sentient dogs remained there.
- The ants were given ant-sized tools like carts and kept several years in a greenhouse, allowing them to pass experience to next generations.note When the perpetrator discovered how far they got, he tried to destroy the anthill, but that didn't stop the ants' progress.
- Other animals of dog-dominated Earth evolved on their own.
- Dragonriders of Pern has genetically engineered dolphins, though the human colonists of Pern forget that they're sentient for several thousand years. And the dragons themselves were engineered from native fire-lizards. Both species are telepathic but fire-lizards can only send feelings or images, dragons think in words.
- In John C. McLoughlin's novel The Helix and the Sword we find a Cheetah by the name of Pantolog Five engineered to serve as an encyclopedia and companion for the protagonist Dyson Tessier.
- The Eldraeverse has several uplifts, of which the dar-bandal (canids) are most prominent, but also mentioned are cetaceans, corvids, octopodes, rat swarms (rather than individual rats), and at least one outright alien species. No apes, though.
- The novel Tuskers has the descendants of an escaped javelina (an animal related to pigs that's found from Arizona to Brazil, also known as a peccary) become human-hating genius killing machines who lead an army of their kind on a small Arizona town.
- Journey To Chaos: This trope is the difference between the animals of Eric's non-magical homeworld (Threa) and the animals of the magical world that he finds himself in (Tariatla). There's a certain level of mana saturation that increases the intelligence of animals to a human level. While they still can't communicate with humans, this is more of a language barrier than anything else and in any case it is resolved by Zaticana, the goddess of languages.
- L. Neil Smith's Confederacy universe has intelligent great apes as part of the Confederacy, along with dolphins, porpoises, and orcas. In-universe, they were always intelligent, we just needed to learn how to communicate with them. In 'The Nagasaki Vector', we meet G. Howell Nauhautl ("the G. stands for Greenriver"), a cybernetically uplifted coyote.
Live Action TV
- The eponymous character of the PBS children's TV show Zoboomafoo (a sifaka lemur) is sapient, but won't talk until after he's had his snack.
- After The Bomb features a whole Crapsack World of these.
- Dolphins and Orcas are considered somewhere along the lines of Noble Savages and allies by the Good seafaring civilizations of Rifts. Their governments actually produce Powered Armor that can be used by Dolphins and smaller whales, and assigned when they're working for them.
- The Ringworld game by Chaosium (based on Larry Niven's book series) has dolphins as playable characters. They can move around using powered suits.
- GURPS Transhuman Space has Doolittle Dolphins and K-10A Postcanines, amongst others.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the Awaken spell, which grants a normal animal human Intelligence and a Charisma bonus, and one or more languages. It also changes their type from "Animal" to "Magical Beast", so it no longer counts as an animal for most purposes. For example, a Friend to All Living Things druid can no longer order it around, he needs to use Diplomacy just like he would for a human.
- In the Ravenloft D&D setting, the darklord Urik von Kharkov began life as a black leopard, but was transformed into a human by an evil wizard for use as a shapechanging assassin. That was just the start of his troubles.
- On the D&D Wiki, someone posted an Uplift NPC class. It's been called one of the worst classes ever made for D&D.
- This is the backstory for the Thri-Keen in the Nentir Vale setting, uplifted from lowly sand beetles by a very powerful Primal Spirit.
- The book "Savage Species" also has this in the form of a template a DM or player can apply to a "base animal." The template is even literally called "Uplifted Animal."
- In the d20 Modern system we are given the Moreau, which are genetic/magically uplifted animals from tigers to rats to orcas used for military purposes.
- In the Urban Arcana setting, it is possible to give sentience to an animal or plant, increasing his/her Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma, and even giving him the ability to speak. Doing so is a complex incantation, and serve little purpose except for the more creative players/game masters.
- Haltan ata-beasts and san-beasts in Exalted are an example of this.
- Sidereals can uplift their animal familiars, turning them into little gods.
- The Lunar exalts can achieve this through the medium of Power Perversion Potential... they turn themselves into animals, and then have sex with various other animals. The offspring can be rather more intelligent than at least one of their parents...
- Eclipse Phase has uplifted apes of all kinds, dolphins, parrots, crows, octopi, orcas, whales, and pigs all of which are entirely common player character backgrounds. Though actual biological neo-cetaceans aren't too common after the Fall since there aren't very many oceans left, a lot of them had to re-sleeve in more common human morphs.
- Uplifted elephants are mentioned, but they went extinct during the Fall.
- There are also "smart" animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and monkeys who tend to have vocabularies of less than a hundred words.
- Traveller has uplifted apes and dolphins (though you hardly hear about them), and the Vargr were genetically engineered by the Ancients from wolves.
- Feng Shui has primates that were given human intelligence by the Architects of the Flesh, a precursor to the arcanowave technology they would later develop. The apes Turned Against Their Masters and now work with the few humans of 2056 that are immune to the influence of Chi as the Jammers.
- Mindjammer has "xenomorphs", not to be confused with the few actual aliens in the setting, which are produced from a variety of species and were originally created as slaves, on some worlds they still are. However they've established many colonies of their own such as the Sentience Alliance.
- Ferrans are a playable race in Thunderscape. Wizards created them as slaves by giving traits of standard fantasy races to animals. Ferrans have won their freedom a century later with a bloody civil war. There are actually 3 branches of them: mammals (most common), birds (nearly wiped out) and reptiles (rare because of low birth rate), ferrans can only reproduce with ferrans of the same branch. However, they aren't the only Petting Zoo People on Aden, just the most human-like and outwardly diverse.
- Beyond Good & Evil is set on an alien planet inhabited by humans all manner of sapient animals, such as pigs. It is not explained where they came from however uplifting seems to be the most likely scenario.
- When the dolphins' most noble traits, among them Intelligence, are stolen in Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future, they turn into dumb animals. Humans artificially uplift them in the Man's Nightmare levels. Well, the story was written by David Brin...
- Inherit the Earth is set in a medieval world populated by Petting Zoo People and set against the backdrop of a ruins of human civilization.
- The cybernetic S'pht in Marathon were uplifted so long ago, they weren't even aware of being cyborgs, imagining their machine implants to simply be organs like any other. On examining naturally sentient creatures after first contact, they're horrified at the realization that the “birthing operation” may be all that separates them from from the brutish beasts of their homeworld.
- The space stage in Spore allows you to use a Monolith item to uplift a species on a planet, causing that species to, after going through the creature, tribal, and civilization stages, become a new space empire that you can deal with.
- You can hear two gangsters talk about Dogmentation in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
- Crash Bandicoot, who became this thanks to Doctor Neo Cortex's experimenting.
- This is the backstory of Hatoful Boyfriend. In the fight against a particularly deadly breed of the Avian Flu virus, humans created a virus to annihilate birds, who were unwittingly spreading it. But while the virus killed plenty of birds it increased the intelligence of the survivors, doves and pigeons among the first affected. By the time the story begins, humanity has been vastly reduced and the society is now dominated by the entire columbidae genus, with other species having joined the uplifting - the Prime Minister of Japan is a shoebill stork and the first puffin to hold office has recently been elected. The phenomenon is still ongoing: there are still wild birds, but even those are changing too. Feather Fingers is in effect, the birds seem somewhat larger, and they live longer, though pigeons still have decidedly shorter lifespans than humans.
- In the Mass Effect universe these are mentioned as being regulated, though allowed in more permissible regions, where they blur the line between "property" and "sapient being."
- In SimEarth, it is possible to do this to any creature, including prokaryotes, carniferns, and trichordates.
- Dragon Age features the Mabari. A very large, muscular dog breed, they were bred by the Tevinter Imperium using magic and meant as war dogs. They have high enough intelligence to strategize and to understand complex human speech (but are ultimately still dogs in personality). When they were used to invade the Alamarri tribes (the ancestors of modern Ferelden), the dogs turned against their Tevinter masters and sided with the Alamarri. The Mabari has been a symbol of Ferelden ever since. In the second game, Varric has managed to teach the Hawkes' mabari how to play a card game, and the pooch is apparently quite good at it (except when he wags his tail when he has a good hand.)
- Professor Layton and the Unwound Future gives us "Subject 3" a rabbit who was experimented on to be able to walk bipedal and talk. Though this has not only given him a pissed off attitude 24/7 but a nasty outlook on life and hatred towards all humans. Though he's The Woobie if anything.
- The Sun at Night stars a heavily armed cybernetic talking dog from space who aids a rebellion against the Soviet Union.
- In Endless Legend and Endless Space, the Endless uplifted many species before their civilization was destroyed in a massive civil war. The Drakken of Legend are a race of dragon-like creatures that were uplifted, which has caused the Drakken to revere the Endless and study the artifacts left behind. Dust has the power to grant sentience, sapience, and emotions in animals, which is seen with the Necrophages of Legend and the Cravers of Space, both of which are normally unthinking killing machines. It can also uplift robots, as seen with the Automatons in Endless Space, which gained true sentience from contact with Dust in a derelict Endless freighter.
- In Kevin & Kell, it is suggested that birds were uplifted in our far future. When Humans ruined Earth, the birds went back in time and used an intelligence ray to uplift all animals, leading to animals evolving in the place of humans.
- Schlock Mercenary features Gorillas and Elephants among the citizens of Earth and its colonies. In addition, a couple of intelligent chimps have been seen (one of whom was a corrupt judge), and uplifted dolphins have been mentioned. A polar bear is an officer in an order of non-violent peacekeepers.
- An Uplifted cat and dog appear in Buck Godot Zapgun For Hire.
- In the Freefall setting, chimpanzees were the first to be uplifted, but it didn't work very well, since they turned out to be natural sociopaths. Main character Florence is an uplifted red wolf, part of an experimental breed - only 14 of them exist so far, out of an initial batch of 20 created. It has since been revealed that her creator, Dr Bowman, is the last surviving chimp uplift.
- Epiphany has not only an entire world populated by Uplifted Animals, it shows that the gods uplifted said animals as a way to spite them.
- UNA Frontiers has the G.E.M.'s, Genetically Engineered Morgans, a gene-tinkered breed of horses incorporating cetacean and wolf genes to boost their intelligence and alter their behavior from "herd" to "pack" mode. An unexpected byproduct was the eventual development of psychic abilities as well, allowing a few of them to draw on the brain power of associated humans.
- Sheldon: One of Sheldon's early experiments resulted in his pet duck Arthur gaining human intelligence and the ability to speak.
- Krosp the talking cat from Girl Genius was given human intelligence by a Mad Scientist who intended him to become the "Emperor of All Cats" and use his cat army as spies and saboteurs. This didn't work, because normal cats can't understand complex concepts and have very short attention spans. (Presumably they wouldn't take orders well either, even from another cat.) This ultimately deemed Krosp a failure and he was slated to be terminated, but Krosp was smart enough to deduce his impending fate and escaped, and eventually became a follower and advisor to Agatha, the titular heroine.
- The Sparkhounds, in service to Martellus Von Blitzengaard, count as well. Though they're nowhere near as mentally acute as Krosp was made to be, they're still smarter (and larger and stronger) than a regular dog.
- The Bear soldiers are another group of intelligent animals, close to human, who were made by Martellus's mentor, Krosp's creator, who made them loyal to him as well.
- Fifine - Eventually Fifine and company find proof of the existence of humans, only to discover that they are all the descendants of uplifts. Animals were uplifted to be the companion to the last human child.
- In Terinu Teri's race were uplifted from alien animals by the Varn for their ability to generate massive amounts of electricity.
- In Narbonic superintelligent gerbil Artie objects to the hierarchal implications of "uplifted".
- Frog of Sluggy Freelance is one that was made accidentally. He was affected by a bug that would increase intelligence at the expense of social ability when it afflicted humans. One bug affected him, and it apparently just turned him into a frog with an average human's level of intelligence.
- Orion's Arm takes the idea of making unintelligent species intelligent(as in, human-level) to an extreme, with over 138,000 Earth species as well as alien species uplifted, including even plants, fungi, protists and colonial prokaryotes.
- The progenitors of the Canis family in Wonder City Stories were uplifted wolves created by a supervillain before they gained human forms.
- Void Of The Stars has the Dolphins. Who are now a spacefaring species.
- In The Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium accidentally does this to his pet chimpanzee, who would become the girls' arch-enemy Mojo Jojo. Mojo's first scheme (chronologically) is to do the same with all of the primates in the local zoo, creating a swarm of villains themed on their species, such as Hota Wota, a Japanese snow monkey. The Talking Dog may be an example too.
- Speaking of which, Samurai Jack shows the Canine Archeologists in the second episode, taking Professor Ut, er I mean Jack through the Ruins of what looks to be the City of Townsville. By now, the Talking Dogs can walk upright and even have British Titles.
- And rounding out Cartoon Cartoons worked on by Genndy Tartakovsky, an episode of Dexter's Laboratory sees Dexter give a yellow Lab the ability to talk with one his of machines in order to understand why the animal is freaking out over it. It turn out that it's not because there's something wrong with it, the appearance just freaks the dog out. The Labrador keeps his ability to talk too, which winds up backfiring for Dexter since he refuses to shut up.
- The eponymous character of Martha Speaks apparently gained her ability to talk from having alphabet soup go into her brain instead of her stomach. And you know how much trouble you can get into when things go to your head. Though while it doesn't make much sense to begin with, it makes even less sense that, if the soup is missing certain letters, she would not be able to say said letters causing her speech to become gibberish, and if she is fed from the can being open upside down, it causes her to say the opposite of what she means, and if she eats alphabet soup from another language she can only speak that language until it wears off. And it apparently only works with one certain brand.
- According to their show's Expository Theme Tune, Pinky and the Brain are sapient because "their genes have been spliced."
- Fry's college roommate was a monkey Uplifted by the hat Professor Farnsworth gave him. He eventually grows to dislike his intellect and is happy at the end of the episode when the hat is damaged and makes him just smart enough to become an executive at Fox.
- A post-revival episode introduces Dr. Banjo, an orangutan and creationism activist.
- Furthermore, a later episode largely takes place on an entire planet of uplifted apes and monkeys, including Gunther (Fry's aforementioned roommate) and Dr. Banjo.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball this can happen to not only animals but also plants and things that aren't alive at all because of the world they live in, although it seem a lot of them are just this way because their parents were. Darwin, who was a pet goldfish before sprouting legs, is the only character explicitly stated to have gained intelligence this way.
- The Leopard Men from The Legend of Tarzan were all made sapient by Queen La's dark magic. When La is killed in their second appearance in their show, the magic spell cast upon them is broken, and as a result they all turn back into ordinary leopards.
- The cattle in Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, thanks to a meteorite hitting their cow pasture.
- The title characters of Road Rovers except Muzzle. It's later revealed that General Parvo is an uplifted cat. It's implied that Muzzle cannot be fully "uplifted" due to being completely insane. Turns out it's because he was driven insane by a shoddy knockoff of the uplifting technology.
- In the episode with Homer becoming an astronaut in The Simpsons, one of the secrets NASA considered revealing to boost their popularity was that all of the chimpanzees they sent into space came back superintelligent. The idea is shot down by one of the heads of NASA who is one of these chimps.
- Batman Beyond had a gorilla being used as a test subject for an intelligence-boosting experiment Gone Horribly Right. The gorilla is uplifted to roughly human intelligence, and promptly goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the poacher that kidnapped him and his mother.
- In Johnny Test, Johnny's pet dog Dukey was originally filthy and untrained, and Johnny had no desire to train him, but also wanted him as his best friend. So his Super Genius SistersTM genetically modified him to talk, walk on his hind legs, and be "very civilized" (they also made him a master martial artist and accountant). Dukey became the sidekick for all of Johnny's adventures. He's also the voice of reason, not just to Johnny but his sisters as well, constantly calling their experiments unsafe, insane, and pointing out that everyone on the show is pretty much nuts.
- The sub plot of the Rick and Morty episode ''Lawnmower Dog" has Morty's father Jerry struggling with training Morty's new dog, Snuffles. Jerry asks Rick for a device to make the training easier and faster. Rick, reluctantly, gives Snuffles a helmet that boosts his intelligence. At first, it works perfectly, making training a breeze. However, we learn that the helmet was originally running at only half its full power, and after Snuffles realizes and fixes this, he becomes intelligent enough to create a collar that allows him to speak, then a Mini-Mecha, which he uses to replicate his helmet and create an army of superintelligent canines. It doesn't help that he's still pretty sore at Morty's family over being recently neutered.
Snuffles: Where are my testicles, Summer? They were removed. Where have they gone?Summer: Oh...wow...that's an intense line of questioning, Snuffles.
- On Planet Sheen, apparently the atmosphere of Zeenu does this. One of the main characters is a chimp from the old space program who crashed there and gradually developed sentience, and in one episode they find another Earth primate, this one from the Russian space program, who did as well.
- Gravity Falls' second Halloween Episode has a segment where Mabel's pet pig Waddles becomes a genius after eating a magic mushroom. He eventually realizes that despite the great things he could do with his newfound intelligence, he'd be sacrificing the time he spends with Mabel, so he reverts himself back to normal.
- The Vampire King in Adventure Time is a perfectly ordinary, non-sapient lion... who was made anthropomorphic and highly intelligent when he became a vampire. When the vampirism is cured, back to being a dumb kitty he goes.