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Funny Terrain Cross Section

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"You would think with this much digging we'd eventually find something interesting. But no, nothing down here but dirt."

We all know that nature abhors a vacuum, and artists abhor large empty spaces on their canvas.note  That's why in fiction, the underground is filled with plenty of amusing things. We often see a lateral cross-section of a terrain (mostly in drawn works) which has all kind of fossils (either a Stock Femur Bone, a skull or a fully articulated skeleton), coffins, UFOs, gemstones (almost always with All-Natural Gem Polish), treasures or crazy objects scattered in for the sake of fun. Sometimes, this trope will be applied to the sections inbetween floors or walls of a building or the cross-section of a ship instead. Somewhat related to Funny Background Event. Compare with Funny X-Ray.


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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • In one issue of Ryan North's Adventure Time comic, a cutaway of the underground includes a fossilized T. rex about to stomp on a house.
  • Sergio AragonÚs throws around buried items in a lot of his art.
  • Lumberjanes: When the girls slide down the underground tunnel in the second issue, all sorts of things can be seen buried in the surrounding soil, including bones, a mole, a treasure chest, and a worryingly large tooth.
  • The Smurfs: In a gag, there's a Seasonal Montage while two Smurfs are waiting for a seed to germinate. When they give up, it's shown that underneath them, the seed grew a large root so the tree started to grow behind them.
  • Any underground cross-section in The Beano or The Dandy will feature a couple of stock femurs and maybe a tin can. And if it's by Tom Paterson, probably a skull, some form of Civilised Animal burrowing rodent and a dinosaur skeleton.
  • In Doctor Fate vol 4 #11, when Fate escapes from the ghost of Julius Caesar by sinking through the floor, he passes the skeletons of Asterix and his fellow villagers, in their stock poses from the "Meet the Gauls" page at the front of the albums.
  • The Simpsons: One frame reveals the coffin of Jimmy Hoffa beneath the Simpsons household.

     Film — Animation 

  • Pooh's Grand Adventure: When Rabbit falls down a long winding tunnel the surrounding terrain is filled with fossils and extensive tree roots. As a cool attention to detail, there appears to be defined layers separating one plane of Earth from another.

     Film — Live Action 

  • Played in a somewhat serious manner in The Last Jedi; when Rey taps into the Force on Ahch-to to gain a new look at her surroundings, she notes "death and decay", which is accompanied by the sight of a fossilized alien creature buried underground.


  • Earth (The Book) has a cut-away of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, illustrating how possession of the site passed back and forth between Jews and Muslims: Al Aqsa Mosque, the Second Temple, the Tomb of Ishmael, a couple restaurants, a mammoth mosque, and a (Jewish) dinosaur temple.

     Live Action TV  

  • A Monty Python skit where a buried casket is shown next to multiple other buried caskets in a cemetery who all form a bickering community of the dead.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • Liō: In this strip Lio is using a metal detector on a beach, and is excited when it "beeps", but is soon disappointed to find nothing but a crumpled old beverage can just below the surface. A few feet below that is an entire Flying Saucer, complete with mummified alien.
  • Non Sequitur: In this strip Danae and Lucy are attempting to dispose of a large number of notes from Danae's teacher by digging a deep hole in the woods. The cross section shows that all around the hole (including just beyond where they stop digging) are a couple of treasure chests, a dinosaur skull, and possibly the Holy Grail.
    Lucy: Deep enough
    Danae: Yeah

     Video Games  

  • The Magic School Bus Explores Inside the Earth had the bus drill from one area to another using these as loading screens.
  • XGen Studio's Web Game Mother Load mostly takes place below the surface of Mars. Underground objects include religious artifacts, dinosaur bones, Martian skeletons and treasure chests.
  • Plants vs. Zombies uses this as an Easter Egg and achievements screen. If one were to scroll down far enough, they would not only see references to other games Pop Cap Entertainment made (Like BeJeweled and Peggle), but it will eventually culminate in an upside-down picture of zombies in China.
  • In Professor Layton game Last Spectre, of all places, the top screen map shows this when in the Black Market.
  • The Cave has all sorts of items embedded in the surrounding rock, usually relating to the theme of the current cave section.
  • Gateways has various stuff in the ground such as dinosaur skeletons and bomb shells.


  • xkcd 1110: "Click and drag." The last panel features a GIGANTIC map with lots of funny scenes including a veritable labyrinth underground, a small village in a cavern, and a number of people in odd situations. Someone figured out that if it were printable at screen scale it would be over a hundred feet long.
  • Sandra and Woo: In one strip, Sandra comments that waiting at a certain bus station always makes her shiver, although she's not sure why. The last panel shows a cutaway of the ground beneath her, revealing a gigantic Tyrannosaurus skeleton with its jaws wide open and angled upwards towards where Sandra is standing.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  
  • At least one episode of Code Monkeys shows the section of wall between Dave and Jerry's office and the hallway outside having a game of Tetris within it.
  • The Donald Duck short The Litterbug revolves around the titular Litterbug (played by Donald Duck) leaving behind a mess wherever they go. One version of them known as the Beachbug leaves behind trash in the beach when they visit and a terrain cross-section that ends the beach portion of the short features different kinds of junk left behind by the present-day Litterbugs and their distant ancestors of the past.
  • Drawn Together both homages and satirizes the Simpsons examples below, by putting in one episode Bart and Lisa's skeletons in the space between two floors of the Drawn Together house.
  • In the Mixels episode "Mixel Moon Madness", when the Nixels are digging through the moon for an ambush, Coconapples and Hamlogna sandwiches can both be seen underground, along with a random pair of headphones.
  • Used several times in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Stock Femur Bones can be seen in the Diamond Dogs' tunnels in the episode "A Dog and Pony Show", as well as a complete ribcage when Spike uses his sapphire to "fish" for the Diamond dogs.
    • In "Hearts and Hooves Day", the hole the Cutie Mark Crusaders dug to trap a love-potion-addled Big Macintosh was surrounded by a Stock Femur Bone, a horse-shoe and a car tire.
    • In "Bats!", when Pinkie Pie starts digging into the ground to escape Flutterbat, there's a Stock Femur Bone and a myriad of gemstones.
  • Filmation's Adventures of Superboy shorts, which were part of The New Adventures of Superman show. In one episode Superboy travels underground and the audience sees dinosaur skeletons in cross section.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In "Mystery Science Fair 201X", Dendy reveals she has a secret laboratory on the school grounds. As she and K.O. take a tunnel to the lab, a number of funny things can be seen in the ground around the tunnel, including piles of treasure, a skeleton in a fedora sitting at a table with a cup of coffee, and Crinkly Wrinkly.
  • The Simpsons: A variant of the floorboard gags, where a pan moving between floors shows strange or worrying things under the Simpsons' floorboards, focuses on weird things shown in terrain cross-sections.
    • "Radio Bart": When the townspeople are sinking a vertical shaft to rescue Bart after he's trapped in a well, the soil around the shaft is shown to contain an articulated Triceratops skeleton, a chest of Pirate Booty and the skeleton of a Rigellian alien still in its Flying Saucer... all of which the shaft turns aside just in time to miss.
    • "Bart vs. Australia": A pan through the Earth from America to Australia shows a cluster of coffins, one evidently containing someone who was Buried Alive and died while trying to tunnel out, then three coffins much further down containing the skeletons of two dinosaurs and a pterosaur, then the god Vishnu at the Earth's core operating some high-tech controls, then wreckage from the Skylab space station, debris from which was scattered over western Australia, before breaching the surface on the other side of the globe.
    • In the Flash Forward episode "Lisa's Wedding", after Ms. Hoover comments that Martin Prince perished in a science fair explosion, a camera pan beneath the school shows first a miner's skeleton with a missing leg, then a treasure chest, then the miner's other leg, and finally a cavern where Martin, wearing a white half mask and sitting at a pipe organ, comments "not quite perished, my lady love, although some days I wish I had".
  • Tear Along the Dotted Line starts its first episode with a pan between Rome's subway system and the surface, showing that the terrain is full of Roman relics, treasures, monstrous skeletons, random junk and novelty items, as well as the author's own comic books this series is based on.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In "Legendary Sandwich", the map to the King's Lettuce has a dinosaur skeleton and Stock Femur Bones. When Beast Boy is digging through the earth looking for it, there's a human skeleton running away from a T. rex skeleton.
  • Total Drama: Part of the challenge in "The Chefshank Redemption" is for the teams to dig their way out of prison. Objects that they dig past include a mummy's arm, a crown, a safe, the eyepatch-wearing skull and hook hand of a pirate, a plesiosaur skeleton, a gun, a Roman helmet, the Lament Configuration, the game Jumanga, a disc, and a skull with a Mickey Mouse hat. Because they're digging through the ground beneath an abandoned movie lot, each object has as much a chance of being a prop as it has of being the real deal.