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Future Primitive

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Behold the future of humanity: savage, cannibalistic predators and meek, effete prey!
The too-perfect security of the Upper-worlders had led them to a slow movement of degeneration, a general dwindling in size, strength, and intelligence.

Evolution isn't goal-directed. Sometimes the directions it takes, in Real Life and in fiction, can be surprising. Certain species of New World monkeys, for example, re-evolved secondary claws from their fingernails, having lost their true claws earlier in their evolution from more prosimian-like ancestors. Similarly, in fiction, a species (often but not limited to humanity) will sometimes evolve into a more feral, less civilized, sometimes even non-sapient variety, regaining "primitive" characteristics. These "primitive" characteristics can include behaviors and/or physical traits. Whether or not the result of this evolution is still recognizably related to the parent species varies from work to work and species to species.

This trope tends to be expressed in a matter of degrees. Most basic is the scenario common to post-apocalyptic settings After the End, where humanity (or another species) is still physiologically more or less the same, but society has collapsed and technological and cultural regression have set in. The people are living a more primitive existence than their more technologically and culturally advanced ancestors. They may even intentionally evoke a "tribal" aesthetic, and may raise a Barbarian Hero or two. The scruffy survivor of a Scavenger World is usually not an example of this trope, but the tribe of abandoned feral children he meets in the wasteland — well, they're headed down this path.

In more extreme scenarios, the population may have evolved into a new subspecies or another species altogether with more "primitive" or "feral" behavioral and physical characteristics than their more "civilized" ancestors. The change may be subtle (like increased muscle mass, more body hair and a neanderthal-like face) or much, much more radical. Whether these changes in the population constitute a new species or are simply a variation or subspecies of the original depends on the work, but typically most Scavenger World-type future settings are not far enough removed from the Present Day for natural selection to favor such drastic changes.

May overlap with Was Once a Man. Sometimes, it's the motivation of an Evilutionary Biologist to try and take control of evolution in order to avert this fate. For more extreme cases, where higher intellect is lost altogether, see Formerly Sapient Species.

Common to After the End settings. Likely to exist in Humanity's Wake, and primitives of the ice age sort are likely to turn up in the wake of a Glacial Apocalypse.

Contrast Evolutionary Levels, Ultimate Lifeform and The Singularity (all of which tend to assume evolution's a linear, goal driven process). Has nothing to do with the effects of a Devolution Device. The change must be a result of cultural and/or biological evolution; it cannot be the result of a Devolution Device or other similar transformation on an individual or a group.

Please note that for an example to fit this trope, it must feature an entire population subjected to evolution (whether that evolution is cultural or also physiological). Isolated persons raised by animals or left to fend for themselves in the wild would not count. Neither would any creatures created by a Mad Scientist by combining human and animal traits (such as in The Island of Doctor Moreau and its various adaptations and homages in science fiction works). A virus with the same effect on individuals as a Devolution Device would not be an example of this trope. This trope applies to populations, not individuals or groups with too small a gene pool for viable reproduction. However, evolution does not have to be portrayed realistically for this trope to apply. "Evolution" can work however the writer wants it to work in his/her 'verse, so long as it's stated to be evolution, and not the result of some other process or event, like a Mad Scientist's experiments, a Devolution Device, or a transformative virus. However, if a gradual change began with experimentation, or a virus, etc., which altered the terms of natural selection, resulting in a dramatically altered evolutionary trajectory, it would count as an example.

Also note that in Real Life, as already stated, evolution is not goal directed; the only "value" of a trait in evolutionary terms is how much that trait enhances the fitness of an organism or its offspring. Like this trope, real evolution can involve the loss of traits as well. For example, parasitic leeches often lack many traits in comparison to their free-living cousins, which include other annelid worms like earthworms and beachworms. This is because these traits, unnecessary for the parasitic lifestyle, had no fitness advantage; it's possible they even detracted from a parasite's fitness. This does not mean that parasitic leeches are any more or less "evolved" than non-parasitic annelid worms. In evolutionary science, "primitive" simply means "retaining ancestral traits." And events like Anthropoid monkeys evolving secondary claws from their fingernails are the rare exception, not the rule.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dr. STONE: After waking up from being being petrified for 3700 years, Senku encounters a village of 40 people living in stone age condition. They have access to craftsmanship, beer brewing, fishing, and dog domestication, but see any science like flame testing and static electricity as sorcery. They are the descendants of astronauts that escaped the petrification of Earth by being on the International Space Station, before landing on an island, near Japan and starting a new human society.
  • Ryu: Nuclear war laid waste to the world, and the Doma IV supercomputer meant to salvage civilization decided that it'd be for the best to let the remaining humans grow absolutely ignorant so that it'd never happen again. All remaining knowledge was left with the family of Doma's creator, which ruled over a tyrannical medieval kingdom for three centuries. By the time Ryuji manages to fulfill his role as a savior and becomes the new king, two of the most thriving cities aside from Doma have been destroyed and little technological resources remain in Japan.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Nobledark Imperium: Many Exodites shun the advanced technology of the Eldar in order to lead deliberately stone-age lives. Illic Nightspear left Alaitoc over a thousand years ago to become an Exodite and developed a profound fascination with the hunt, particularly the very low-tech kind done on his adopted planet, wears animal skins and ash and hunts using a simple stone spear, bow, and flint arrows. He would be considered a joke, if it weren't for the fact that he can reliably navigate the webway and that the hunting trophies that he adorns himself with include body parts taken from genestealers, squiggoths, and a necron.
  • Sharing the Night: The dragons are noted to be something rather like this. While the details of life in the ancient dragon empires are somewhat vague, they are known to have had formal rulers, a complex multi-species society, an interest in aesthetics, and the ability to craft powerful magical artifacts. This civilization died alongside the ancient world, and the modern Smaug-like loners who live in caves and hoard piles of gems are essentially barbaric savages with no trace of their ancestors' culture.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Fight Club: Discussed in Tyler's vision for things to come:
    In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.
  • Idiocracy: After 500 years of mind-numbing media and natural selection favoring large numbers of poor-quality offspring over smaller numbers of higher quality offspring, humanity has become rather stupid, and struggles on with only two things in mind: loads and loads of sex and cheap entertainment.
  • Pandorum: The man-eating Hunters are presumed to have evolved from people who caught space madness and turned into cannibals. Their evolution into feral predators was "accelerated" by artificial means.
  • Planet of the Apes: In the original movie, humans in the far-distant future have regressed to animalistic mutes hunted and enslaved by the Apes.
    • The female love interest starts to speak in the second movie, implying that there was no physiological change (IE muscular or neurologically-related loss of speech faculties).
    • In the original book version of The Planet of the Apes Ulysse (the equivalent character of Taylor) teaches Nova how to talk and their son can talk from the get-go. Also The Reveal that many many years ago apes were servants to humans is discovered through Genetic Memory in humans; when a certain portion of the brain is stimulated via electricity they can talk, recounting the stories of their ancestors which lead up to the ape takeover. Also in the original book the humans run around nude rather than clad in skins (which no doubt was done to get the film past the censors).
  • Teenage Caveman: Both the 1958 and 2002 versions feature a post-apocalyptic world where the descendants of human survivors have regressed to primitive tribalism. The '58 version is an almost direct adaptation of By the Waters of Babylon, below.
  • Yor: The Hunter from the Future: A plot twist halfway through reveals that it is not set in the distant past, but a post-apocalyptic future. At least it would be a twist if the title of the movie didn't explicitly state it was set in the future. In the cases of both Yor and the above Teenage Caveman, however, the plot twist doesn't explain why there are dinosaurs running around in what is supposed to be the future.

  • In All Tomorrows, the Qu genetically engineer humans into a variety of non-sapient, animalistic forms and scatter them across the galaxy. Over time, many of them manage to re-evolve sapience.
  • Ape And Essence: New Zealand and equatorial Africa remain untouched by World War III because they were simply "too remote to be worth anyone's while to obliterate". Therefore, while a remnant of Western civilization has survived in New Zealand, Europe has been repopulated by the tribes of Darkest Africa. This is zig-zagged with the main setting of the post-apocalyptic story, the Los Angeles basin, where the inhabitants retain barely enough trappings of civilization to call themselves a "democracy", yet radiation-induced deformities have become increasingly common to the point that the rulers have adopted the rites of Hollywood Satanism in a desperate attempt to ward off the extinction that will surely happen in a hundred years.
  • By the Waters of Babylon, a 1937 short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, is likely the Trope Maker for the "postapocalyptic future all along" twist ending version of this trope. In the story, a young man of the primitive Hill People tribe travels to the forbidden "Place of the Gods", violating his tribal taboos. The Place turns out to be a bombed-out New York City, and he realizes that the gods were actually human beings who were overwhelmed by their own power, raising the question of whether his own pushing at boundaries is such a good idea. The protagonist John decides that once he's the priest of his tribe "We must build again" though.
  • The first part of A Canticle for Leibowitz shows a postapocalyptic Utah that greatly resembles Dark Ages Europe, with all the superstition and fear that implies. As the story goes on through a number of time skips, it gets increasingly less primitive, resembling the High Middle Ages and then, finally, the actual future again... before World War IV bombs us all back to the Stone Age again.
  • In Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps the human race has degenerated into frontier towns and tribes. The Great Old Ones destroyed most of the human race in the Rising but a handful of humanity has carried on with scavenged technology or living like hunter gatherers. The fact that magic has returned to the world helps.
  • Diaspora: Among the various Transhuman and post-human factions in the far-future setting, the Dream Apes Invoked this trope by using genetic engineering to remove their capacity for conscious thought.
  • Galápagos describes descendants of the human survivors of a global epidemic, stranded on the titular islands, evolving into a non-sapient, semi-aquatic, furred, seal-like species, due entirely to natural selection.
  • Hothouse: In a distant future, Earth will become tidally locked with the Sun, resulting in eternal day on one side and eternal night on the other. Human civilization will collapse, and survivors will mutate into a number of species. The story tells about a group of humans who are small, green-skinned, and live on tree branches on the day side. It's basically a Death World with not even a semblance of civilization.
  • Known Space: The Thrintun ("Slavers") seem to be this trope to the extreme, as their only living descendants are the Grogs: sessile creatures whose limbs degenerate into useless stumps when they reach adulthood, and which weren't even recognized as sentient when first discovered. Then we find out the Thrint "Power" became so developed that the rest of their bodies atrophied. They're sessile because you don't need to move when you can glance at a prey-animal and tell it "get in my mouth".
  • Last and First Men sees this happen a few times:
    • After the fall of the First World State, a combination of the sheer devastation of the collapse of civilization and the indolence induced by millennia of decadence cause mankind to regress to a barbaric existence, spending millennia afterwards as struggling, tribal farmers, petty warlords and roving bands of raiders and brigands, before the eventual rise of the Patagonian civilization.
    • The seventh men of Venus were designed with wings by the preceding sixth men, and did not care about technology. However, the "wingless mutants" who evolved into the eighth men did, and over time formed their own civilization and completely displaced the seventh men.
    • The tenth through fourteenth men were all examples of sentience briefly re-emerging from the ecosystem of animals that evolved from the ninth men on Neptune. The fifteenth men manage to restore civilization to humanity though.
    • Further, there was a variety of animalistic subhumans that developed from the various human races during and after the various collapses of civilization. Besides the Neptunian varieties, there were also the baboon-like subhumans that evolved from the first men (our own species) after the collapse of their last civilization and the predatory seal-like humans of Venus, who often competed with the sixth men.
  • Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future: Invoked, as far-future biologists re-stock Earth's denuded ecosystems with engineered humanoids of animal-like intelligence. Some of them re-evolve sapience, but in most cases remain limited to primitive hunter-gather lifestyle.
  • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus: A scientist reveals to the main characters that this is the most likely future of humanity. Earth is not recovering from the ecological disaster as the public believes. Human efforts are failing, and eventually civilization will collapse and a new ice age will start. While some humans will survive, there will no longer be a chance for them to develop beyond the Stone Age, as all easily accessible resources are gone.
  • Planet of the Apes: The original novel features primitive, mute humans on a planet dominated by a civilization of intelligent apes.
  • Riddley Walker: 2000 years after a nuclear war, life in Great Britain resembles the Iron Age, with people scavenging the ruins for metals to make their tools.
  • In Terre en fuite, the Decoy Protagonist learns that human civilization is destined to be destroyed by an unspecified cataclysm (likely an ice age), although we will have visited Mars and Venus by that point. Only small primitive enclaves will survive in the equatorial regions. After the ice ages (yes, plural) end, humanity will resettle Earth (or Hellera as they will call it) and will even evolve better brains. However, this trope will be true for many hundreds of thousands of years before that happens.
  • The Time Machine: The morlocks (ape-like violent savages) and eloi (docile, indolent and meek) are the Trope Codifier, if not the Ur-Example as well. The Time Traveler theorizes that morlocks are the descendants of the working class, who over millennia of servitude and life tending to underground machinery have evolved into pale troglodytes who still keep the machines going out of instinct and habit, while the eloi are the descendants of the upper class, having been tuned into dull-minded and child-like organisms by millennia of indolence and lifestyles that required neither strength nor intelligence. An interesting result of this arrangement is that the workers ended up being the ones in control, with the brutish and bestial morlocks farming the otherwise helpless eloi like cattle. A brief visit even farther into the future (omitted in some editions of the text and restored in others) sees humans evolved into gray rabbit-like animals, preyed on by giant insects.
  • Uplift: In the second trilogy, intelligent beings (the descendants of starfarers who are trespassing in the galactic equivalent of a "nature reserve", including some humans) are trying to revert to a non-sapient state: if the law enforcement of the Five Galaxies don't discover them until their culture has collapsed, they won't be "purged" for their ancestors' crime.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: The Ark and Mount Weather have maintained much of the technology and civilization from before the nuclear apocalypse, but the Grounders have reverted back to a tribal, hunter/gatherer society.
  • Blake's 7: In "Terminal", Servalan claims that the savage, ape-like Links, products of "accelerated evolution" on the artificial planet Terminal, are humanity's future. Presumably their name derives from the phrase "missing link". Many other episodes feature primitive descendants of old Earth colonial expeditions; a few of them are genuinely Human Aliens, though, and would not count as this trope, and there were a few other ambiguous cases, having descended to barbarism after war or sociological collapse.
  • Doctor Who:
    • One of the Fourth Doctor's companions is Leela, a savage from a hunter-gatherer culture left over from a collapsed human space colony in "The Face of Evil". Her arc was meant to be a Pygmalion Plot, made more complicated by the fact that the Doctor is the worst possible person to teach her etiquette.
    • In "The Curse of Fenric", Haemovores are vampiric, feral creatures that might be the evolutionary result of humanity living in a world taken over by the demonic Fenric.
    • In "Gridlock", the Macra have "devolved" (in the Doctor's words) since their first appearance in (classic) season 4 from powerful, mind-controlling creatures to beasts who are living only to feed. More justified than most examples, since the second appearance is BILLIONS of years later; these creatures could have evolved from a few random cells a Macra tourist unknowingly left behind in that time.
    • The Futurekind from "Utopia" are a savage, cannibalistic race from the end of the Universe. It is hinted that they are the early stages of humanity turning into the Weevils from Torchwood.
    • The monstrous "Dregs" from "Orphan 55" are the descendants of humans who were abandoned on Earth when the planet became uninhabitable due to environmental disasters and a nuclear war. They evolved into questionably sentient carnivores capable of photosynthesizing to create oxygen from the high-CO2 atmosphere, although they still need to eat meat.
  • Land of the Lost (1974): The Sleestaks are the savage descendants of Enik's people, the Altrusians. At first, Enik refused to believe this, and thought he had traveled into his people's past. When he saw the ruined Lost City, he realized he had been wrong, and that he was actually in the future relative to his own timeline. Sleestaks and Altrusians look similar but with a few key differences such as height (Altrusians are shorter), skin color (Altrusians are brown, Sleestaks are green), and the presence (in Altrusians) or lack (in Sleestaks) of a third opposing digit. Altrusians are also more intelligent and able to function in daylight, whereas Sleestak are nocturnal and require low-light conditions. In one episode where Will is thrown into a pit by the Sleestak, he meets an intelligent member of their race who tells him that on occasion throwbacks to their days as the civilized Altrusians are born and are usually ostracized.
  • See takes place several hundred years after a plague reduced Earth's population to just two million people and left the survivors completely blind. Without their sense of sight, humans can no longer build or operate advanced technology, and the world has settled into an Iron Age level of development.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "Spock's Brain", the Enterprise visits a planet where an ancient catastrophe split society in two: the female Eymorg, a technologically advanced, automated subterranean civilization; and the male Morg, who live a Stone Age existence on the frozen surface. Thousands of years in an Underground City where all their needs are catered for has reduced the intelligence of the Eymorg till they have little more than childlike intelligence. However they still abduct the Morg (unlike The Morlocks Trope Namer) for sexual reproduction and slaves.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Tom Paris's "accelerated evolution" into a non-sapient salamander-like creature in "Threshold", where a working Transwarp Drive is built on a shuttlecraft. The writer stated that his idea was that, in the distant future, humanity would evolve beyond the need for sapience due to technology providing for all our material needs.
  • The Tribe: Child and teenage survivors of an adult-killing virus wear facepaint and form social units called "tribes", intentionally invoking this trope (despite the series taking place only 20 Minutes into the Future).
  • Wayward Pines has an unspecified global disaster (or war, or both) cause the fall of civilization, followed by the mutation of the survivors into feral primitives called Abbies (from "abnormals"). The only one to have foreseen the collapse of civilization (but not the mutation into Abbies) was a scientist named David Pilcher, who built an Elaborate Underground Base in a mountain in Idaho, got a bunch of volunteers and kidnapped a bunch more people and froze them all to be woken up in 2000 years (except for one man who woke up periodically to maintain the systems). Pilcher was shocked to find Abbies where he expected only nature and Ruins of the Modern Age. He and his people wiped out an Abby group and built a town surrounded by large electrified walls next to the mountain.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Red Dwarf: According to the official rule book, in the universes where the rabbits evolve and become a civilisation, humans (instead of becoming extinct as in the other universes) become ignorant savages, being mainly used as medical experiments and slaves.
  • Applies to some planets in Warhammer 40,000, known as feral worlds. These planets are generally under very little control by the Imperium of Man, who at most might recruit (or more accurately, kidnap) some of the people for use in the army.
    • The Imperium as a whole is this. As advanced as some of their equipment may seem, technologically and especially culturally, they're a pale shadow of humanity's achievements in the Dark Age of Technology. An AI from the Dark Age that was accidentally awakened by Imperial tech priests spent most of its time in the story expressing its complete disgust with how primitive its captors were compared to humanity it knew.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: Ogres are speculated to be the descendants of a race of giants who lived in ancient times, but have since become extinct. Ogres are a good deal smaller than their ancestors (the average ogre is about 2m tall, the length of a giant's thighbone), and while giants were civilised and intelligent enough to use magic, ogres are savage and feral.
  • Battleborn: Phoebe's DLC Story Operation reveals this to be the apparent case for the Tempestian Grayhorns of which the Thralls are derived from. Apparently the Thralls are actually the ancient Aztanti at least on a genetic level. Based on some findings by Beatrix and the others over the course of the operation, it's uncovered that the once great Aztanti purposely de-evolved themselves into feral beasts. In the ancient past, the Aztanti were able to open a portal connecting to the Varelsi's universe. Although they were able to shut close the portal, they decided on a drastic course of action in hopes of preventing another open portal to the Void. They figured that even if they erased all records of how they opened a portal to another universe, their people would still be around to accidentally make the same mistake again in the future. So using a bespoke retrovirus tailored to rewrite segments of their genetic code, the Aztanti de-evolved themselves into feral beasts no different than mere animals. These beasts however retained dormant Aztanti traits that had the potential for greater strength, intelligence, and lifespans. In force evolving the Thralls into their current state, Beatrix simply reawakened these dormant traits but just enough to make them into a Slave Race for the Jennerit.
  • Diablo: Humans are the descendants of an ancient race known as the Nephalem, who are described as a half-breed race born from forbidden unions between angels and demons, with no fixed destiny and limitless potential that even the mightiest Demon Lords and Archangels felt threatened by. The angels and demons who sired them became so afraid of them that they modified an artefact called the Worldstone into a Power Limiter, causing the second generation on Nephalem to be born considerably weaker and with much shorter lifespans than the first. At the end of Diablo II, the Worldstone is corrupted and shattered, and 20 years later, a small number of humans were starting to regain their Nephalem-like potential. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of a renegade sect of angels, the vast majority of humanity was wiped out, severely slowing the restoration of humanity's ancestral potential. As of Diablo IV, fifty years afterwards, there have been no new cases of humans awakening Nephalem powers yet seen, forcing what remains of human society into the most primitive and diminished state it had been in thousands of years.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Falmer were originally the graceful Snow Elves with a culture rivaling the Altmer (High Elves), but after facing near-extinction at the hands of the Nords, the Falmer turned to their estranged Dwemer kin for aid. The Dwemer agreed to take in the surviving Falmer, but only if they blinded themselves with poisonous mushrooms. For centuries the Dwemer used the Falmer as servants and slaves, and may have performed experiments on them that caused them to further mutate into their present form. When the Dwemer abruptly vanished from Nirn, the Falmer were left behind as a race of blind, subterranean, Morlock-like beasts with a primitive, xenophobic tribal culture. So significant was the de-evolution of the Falmer that it affected their very souls, turning them from "black" sapient souls into the "white" souls of creatures.
    • The Dreugh, a race of aquatic humanoid octopi, once ruled the world in a previous kalpa, or cycle of time. However, that was one of the 12 worlds which were destroyed and the remnants pieced together to create Nirn. The Dreugh of early Nirn were still intelligent, but that diminished over time as their civilization fell and their intelligence devolved. Now, like the Falmer, their de-evolution from an intelligent, sapient race with their own civilization has included their souls becoming white, like those of animals.
  • Fallout 2: You start out in a tribe founded by the first game's protagonist. They have all the tropes associated with primitive tribes (spears, loincloths, face-paint), but they live in the post-apocalyptic future.
    • "Tribals" have become a mainstay of the franchise, usually characterized by mistrust of advanced technology and an inherent tendency to respond to random things with religious reverence. These traits even seem to apply to "domesticated" tribals like Benny, who actually acts a lot more urbane and sophisticated than many other characters.
  • The post-apocalyptic setting of Horizon Zero Dawn is this, where humans have regressed back into tribes with primitive technology, such as spears and bows. Learning what happened to the Precursors (the humans of 2060 AD) is one of the big mysteries of the game — that and why there are all kinds of cybernetic animals running around.
  • Mass Effect: The krogan are portrayed as once being a more civilized race. After turning their homeworld into a nuclear wasteland, only the toughest and most psychotic krogan survived. In fact, krogan able to go into the now infamous "blood rage" were once only a small part of the population — and they were medicated for it!
  • Stellaris features a few pre-generated planetary systems whose inhabitants fell victim to this trope. In one, a civilization was able to colonize its moon, only for a dispute between the homeworld and colony to go nuclear and drop both societies into barbarism — by the time you find them, the two groups have diverged enough that the species look entirely different. In another, a species was able to achieve an advanced civilization with the help of bonded brain slugs, only to suddenly reject the slugs and fall back into non-sapience, leaving the brain slugs to await the day another species accepted their offer.
  • In Rimworld, lack of Faster-Than-Light Travel means tech levels can vary wildly from star system to star system. In the eponymous rimworlds, this frequently means devolution to early industrial, or even nomadic tribal, societies picking through the remains of the space-faring ancestors who colonized the world centuries or millenia ago.

    Web Original 
  • Orion's Arm: This happens several times:
    • It's fairly common for baseline reserves — isolated planets reserved for baseline humans, which are a fairly endangered species in the far future — to have their technological and cultural levels kept strictly at a Neolthic to medieval level.
    • The Epimethian Movement was a group who voluntarily removed their higher cognitive abilities to revert back to simian intelligence.
    • Abdication happens when a post-singularity entity descends to a lower singularity level for various reasons.
  • Taerel Setting: In the Age of Shattering, the zu'aan tribes are the kin'toni clans are brought back to the stone age to iron ages. The cities don't fare much better, being ancient era at the most tech wise.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied in "The Cryonic Woman", when Fry and his recently-unfrozen 20th Century girlfriend go back into cryogenic stasis to try to find a time they can both be happy, only to emerge from their pods in a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by violent primitives. Except they're not in the far future, their pods just got dumped in L.A.
      Fry: So you're saying these aren't the decaying ruins of New York in the year 4000?
      Farnsworth: You wish! You're in Los Angeles!
      Fry: But there was this gang of 10-year-olds with guns!
      Leela: Exactly, you're in L.A.
      Fry: But everyone is driving around in cars shooting at each other.
      Bender: That's L.A. for you.
      Fry: But the air is green and there's no sign of civilization whatsoever!
      Bender: He just won't stop with the social commentary.
    • In "The Late Phillip J. Fry", The Time Machine is parodied when it is shown that in the year 5,000,000 AD human evolution has diverged into two species. A unnamed race of small pink and purple creatures "advanced in intellect and morality", and the "Dumbloks", "stupid vicious brutes who live underground". The montage song "In the Year 252525" displays some less extreme examples such as medieval-looking knights riding ostriches.
  • Tom and Jerry: Exaggerated in "Guided Mouse-Ille". Tom, living in a futuristic facility, prepares an incredibly potent explosive to deal with Jerry. The explosive is apparently so strong that when it goes off and the smoke clears, Tom and Jerry are both cavemen living in a prehistoric jungle.

    Real Life 
  • In real life, anatomical mosaics are where an organism has traits that are considered modern and archaic at the same time. This usually applies to fossils.
    • With the Homo genus, Homo naledi applies, since they lived at the same time as Neanderthals and early modern humans, yet have some traits with Australopithecus and modern human beings. Some think they were another species, others think they were an unusual subspecies of Homo erectus. With that in mind, some of these Red Deer Cave people lived at around the time Jericho was built, yet have cranial features that would not be out of place 2 million years ago.