Follow TV Tropes

Animal Is The New Man

Go To

Animals take over after humanity falls.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
VulgarBee on Oct 10th 2018 at 9:52:27 AM
Last Edited By:
4tell0life4 on Nov 3rd 2018 at 12:35:38 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

In the distant future (or at least 20 Minutes into the Future), humanity has declined, and animals (whether all of them, or a few certain kinds) become the new dominant species.

Here, the humans might be extinct and animals now roam the world freely; there might be scenes of them living on manmade living places if any of them existed at all. Or, there might be only a few humans left, either scattered away or confined to a single location, and they've been regressed (in various ways) that they can't form a modern-like society anymore; they're no longer the dominant species.

Sometimes, the animals might be, or become, Funny Animals or Petting Zoo People (there may or may not be an in-universe "evolution" happening to them); they have become the new "man". Furthering in this direction, the humanoid animals may even see the humans (if there are any) as "animals", either as a Human Pet, human cattle, etc.

Plots involving this setting might be about how animals live now that they're the dominant species, or they may focus on the few humans who tried to survive in the "new world" full of animals.

A Sub-Trope of Humanity's Wake and Humans Are Not the Dominant Species.

Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth is a subtrope.

See also Uplifted Animal, which is how the animals become smarter.


Examples

Comic Books

  • In Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, a great disaster has killed off nearly all humans, with the few survivors lacking intelligence, and in the meantime, races of humanoid animals have risen up to take the humans' place on the food chain.

Film - Animated

  • Nelvana Studios' Rock & Rule occurs on an Earth where humanity has eradicated itself, leaving the dogs, cats and rats to ascend mastery of the world. It seems they can now interbreed, as none of the characters seem to fit neatly into canine, feline or murine physiology.

Film-Live Action

Literature

  • Isaac Asimov's short story "No Connection" takes place on an Earth where humanity went extinct. America is populated by a peaceful bear descended race. The story ends with them expecting a conflict with ape descended aggressors from Eurasia.
  • In William Tenn's "Null-P", dogs take over the Earth. Humans still exist, but they have given up civilization and it isn't even clear if they are sapient. They are adopted as pets by the dogs and later go effectively extinct.

Live Action TV

  • In Red Dwarf, after humanity died out, a race of cat-people descended from David Lister's cat took over. They then nearly wiped themselves out in a holy war over what color their god's hat was.
  • Saturday Night Live had a series of sketches called "Bear City" in which a meteor strikes an American city, driving the human population underground and allowing the bears to rise up and fill the roles formerly filled by humans. The sketches are notable in that the humor is driven entirely through action as the bears cannot talk.

Video Games

  • Paladog: After humanity is destroyed for its wickedness, animals take over to replace them.
  • Inherit the Earth is a seemingly medieval world populated by sentient bipedal animals whose ancestors were uplifted by humanity before a plague wiped them out.
  • In Riptor's ending in the original Killer Instinct, the genetic experiments Ultratech used to create Riptor end up dooming humanity and ushering in a second era of the dinosaurs.
  • Splatoon takes place in a world where various sea creatures (primarily squids) have become the dominant species on Earth due to rising sea levels having led to the death of humanity thousands of years prior.
  • Tokyo Jungle is set in a world in which there are no humans, the city of Tokyo is falling into disrepair without any maintenance, and a new ecosystem is forming in its ruins where multiple species of herbivores and carnivores compete for survival. The cause of this is eventually revealed to be humans from an apocalyptic future attempting to transplant themselves back to the 21st century with time travel, creating a Time Paradox which caused all present-day humans to vanish.

Western Animation

  • Family Guy's "Road to the Multiverse" has Stewie and Brian travel to different universes. The last one they go to is a universe where dogs are the dominant species and humans are the pets. In that universe, Brian is a human, and a smart one too; he'd fit in the real world.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "The Last Bat On Earth", Batman gets trapped in the distant future where animals rule.

Feedback: 47 replies

Oct 10th 2018 at 10:11:16 AM

Paladog: After humanity is destroyed for its wickedness, animals take over to replace them.

Oct 10th 2018 at 10:15:58 AM

This is definitely a trope but the description is...bizarre. Limiting. I can think of examples of this where the animals were not made super smart by science, but simply took over after the humans died. Some examples might help.

Oct 10th 2018 at 10:21:44 AM

This would be a Sub Trope of Humanitys Wake; you'll find a few examples listed there.

Oct 10th 2018 at 12:18:44 PM

I can also think of far more cases of humans uplifting animals and then going extinct due to entirely unrelated reasons than Planet Of The Apes situations.

Link Uplifted Animal somewhere in the description.

Tabletop Games

  • In the backstory of Pugmire humanity uplifted a number of animal species, including dogs, cats, lizards, rats, and badgers; and then they went extinct for vague reasons. A few of their client species worship Man as gods, most notably dogs who believe they ascended to a higher plane of existence.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Earth was destroyed in a nuclear war and the corporate Mars colonies mass-produced Petting Zoo People called Vectors to repopulate the solar system.

Video Games

  • Inherit The Earth is a seemingly medieval world populated by sentient bipedal animals whose ancestors were uplifted by humanity before a plague wiped them out.

Oct 10th 2018 at 5:55:31 PM

Do we have a related trope about a "what if a certain animal is the dominant species instead of humans"?

Oct 11th 2018 at 6:02:37 PM

I can edit the description later, itís my first trope launchpad after all. And maybe science isnít responsible, maybe some magic did it too, or maybe evolution in the animals brains started to improve. I have some examples though.

Western Animation

Oct 10th 2018 at 8:41:02 PM

Comic Books

  • In Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, a great disaster has killed off nearly all humans, with the few survivors lacking intelligence, and in the meantime, races of humanoid animals have risen up to take the humans' place on the food chain.

Live Action TV

  • In Red Dwarf, after humanity died out, a race of cat-people descended from David Lister's cat took over. They then nearly wiped themselves out in a holy war over what color their god's hat was.

Oct 10th 2018 at 9:58:42 PM

7^ So can you give a better explanation? Iím not a good describer.

Oct 10th 2018 at 10:06:37 PM

^ Well, just talk about the trope itself- animals being the dominant species in a world either without humans or with humans as a lesser species, and then give some reasoning why this might be a thing- science, evolution, magic...

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:30:32 AM

Isaac Asimov's short story "No Connection" takes place on an Earth where humanity went extinct. America is populated by a peaceful bear descended race. The story ends with them expecting a conflict with ape descended aggressors from Eurasia.

Oct 11th 2018 at 1:06:53 AM

I might help with the description if you want.

Oct 11th 2018 at 7:36:12 AM

^ We've only got one example of the animals turning against humanity. So no, and I'd edit the description so there's no references to humanity abusing the animals.

Oct 11th 2018 at 8:59:28 AM

Live Action Television

  • Saturday Night Live had a series of sketches called "Bear City" in which a meteor strikes an American city, driving the human population underground and allowing the bears to rise up and fill the roles formerly filled by humans. The sketches are notable in that the humor is driven entirely through action as the bears cannot talk.

Oct 11th 2018 at 10:27:10 AM

Looking better, still a bit too limiting, however. The laconic simply says "Animals take over after humanity falls", which I have at least one example for, however it's not an example of the animals growing more anthropomorphic... well, for the most part. Here, I'll let you decide if it belongs here or not, if it does the description needs a little more work to make it more inclusive, and if it doesn't fit then, well, that's just fine too:

  • Guardians Of Ga Hoole: The dominant race in this series is apparently owls, who don't appear to have any historical memory of human's existence but have still developed an entire community of warriors who make weapons and armor, use coal fuel, and have visiting merchants. They write letters and books, create art, and celebrate holidays. Despite this, they still live as wild animals otherwise, such as living in trees, eating bugs, and almost getting killed by other animals.

Oct 11th 2018 at 10:40:04 AM

  • In Riptor's ending in the original Killer Instinct, the genetic experiments Ultratech used to create Riptor end up dooming humanity and ushering in a second era of the dinosaurs.

Oct 11th 2018 at 1:41:32 PM

^^That's more of a World Of Funny Animals. Humans have to exist in the work maybe in a flashback.

Oct 11th 2018 at 1:45:37 PM

^ But they're not Funny Animals, they're normal owls who for some reason do human things. Humanity did exist in the work, they just aren't mentioned by name, because the Owls don't know who created buildings and old books and the like, they just know they exist.

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:15:51 PM

Should it be there anyway?

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:16:47 PM

Nevermind Iíll put it in it sounds good.

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:19:33 PM

Actually I donít know are the owls smarter than the humans? I never read the books or saw the movie lol

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:21:25 PM

That's why I said this draft seems limiting, you're focusing on the animals becoming hyper intelligent, which the owls aren't- they did however take the role of humans and even adopt practices like smithing and coal collecting.

Oct 11th 2018 at 6:02:25 PM

So you think I should put it in there? I just need people's opinions and support that's all.

Oct 11th 2018 at 6:13:55 PM

I mean it's up to you, I'm just saying that Tropes Are Flexible and there's no reason to limit examples if they fit the core of the trope

Oct 11th 2018 at 7:33:40 PM

I've modified the description.

If there's anything more I can add, kindly tell me.

Oct 11th 2018 at 8:17:25 PM

This sounds like the founding tenet of Xenofiction.

Film Animated

  • Nelvana Studios' Rock And Rule occurs on an Earth where humanity has eradicated itself, leaving the dogs, cats and rats to ascend mastery of the world. It seems they can now interbreed, as none of the characters seem to fit neatly into canine, feline or murine physiology.

Oct 11th 2018 at 9:58:22 PM

  • Splatoon takes place in a world where various sea creatures (primarily squids) have become the dominant species on Earth due to rising sea levels having led to the death of humanity thousands of years prior.

Oct 11th 2018 at 10:09:52 PM

  • In William Tenn's "Null-P", dogs take over the Earth. Humans still exist, but they have given up civilization and it isn't even clear if they are sapient. They are adopted as pets by the dogs and later go effectively extinct.

Oct 13th 2018 at 10:41:17 AM

Tokyo Jungle is set in a world in which there are no humans, the city of Tokyo is falling into disrepair without any maintenance, and a new ecosystem is forming in its ruins where multiple species of herbivores and carnivores compete for survival. The cause of this is eventually revealed to be humans from an apocalyptic future attempting to transplant themselves back to the 21st century with time travel, creating a Time Paradox which caused all present-day humans to vanish.

Oct 13th 2018 at 11:33:27 AM

Played with in The Good Dinosaur. Instead of taking place in the future, it's set in a prehistoric past where dinosaurs never became extinct and evolved into an agrarian society, while humans are still nomadic hunter-gatherers and, from the point of view of the dinosaurs, wild animals.

Oct 13th 2018 at 10:20:56 PM

All you guys are doing great! Thank you! 👍

Oct 13th 2018 at 10:27:34 PM

Should this get a few hats?

Oct 14th 2018 at 2:08:15 PM

^Thank you! Youíve been a great help War Jay.

Oct 14th 2018 at 7:54:26 PM

Webcomics

  • No humans are seen in Mac Smith's Scurry, though their homes and vehicles still exist, but badly derelict. Wix and the other mice have been scrounging the vacant houses for sustenance until there's almost nothing left to scrounge. A wolf pack lead by Erebus exerts a growing dominance in the area, but is challenged by a beaver colony that has flooded a valley. Most of the forest creatures seem to speak a common language.

Oct 15th 2018 at 12:52:30 PM

If no humans are seen, then itís probably a World Of Funny Animals.

Oct 15th 2018 at 5:02:55 PM

Examples that don't specify "future" or humanity's regression has been deleted, as they fit the supertrope more.

Oct 20th 2018 at 10:10:45 PM

Anyone think this trope should be launched?

Nov 3rd 2018 at 10:10:42 AM

Thereís a Johnny Bravo episode with a talking ape dentist when Johnny made a wish.

Nov 3rd 2018 at 10:48:42 AM

Clarification on Red Dwarf, the intelligent cats evolved on the impromptu Generation Ship before building their own escape craft and possibly colonizing their own planet (canon isn't clear). Only two individuals of the species who were left behind on the Dwarf ever actually appear in the tv series. However, the crew encounter a lot of robots, mutants, and Genetically Engineered Life-Forms as they try to return to Earth.

Nov 3rd 2018 at 12:35:38 PM

On Adventure Time, you see shades of this in the backstory, as hundreds of different species become sentient and eventually supplant man after the apocalypse, some of them being existing animals. Zig Zagged?

Still, I don't know about the trope-name.

Top