This is present in most unrealistic fictional genres, including Science Fiction (or, rather Space Opera), fantasy, horror, etc. In reality, many closely related Earth species share over 99% of their DNA, but cannot produce viable offspring. This makes it extremely unlikely that creatures of different planets would be able to interbreed, but then again, Mars does need women.
In fictionland, human beings can conceive children with any intelligent species in existence. Demons, elves, aliens, vampires, you name it not only will a human sleep with it, they'll engender children. The mother is in a majority of cases the human with the non-human father providing the powers. If they are not physically viable, rest assured there are scientists somewhere who will fiddle with DNA until a hybrid is created. They'll do it even if there's no reason to think the creature should have DNA in the first place. That's Earth's solution for storing your genome. It requires a lot of supporting stuff in the cells, and not even everything on Earth uses it. Thankfully, the Rule of Cool and Rule of Sexy let us mix it up with whatever the Green-Skinned Space Babe's ancestors evolved to store their genomes in. Good thing there are No Biochemical Barriers! And if you can't find a scientist to do it for you, you're in luck. A Wizard Did It is just as handy a Hand Wave.
Sometimes a particular type of hybrid becomes common enough that they can stop relying on their parent races to make new members and just mate with each other to sustain their own race.
If the hybrid is a positive character, it connects the audience with them, giving them familiar characteristics and a closer point-of-view into the otherwise alien culture, or else, an "outsider" character for protagonists to befriend... or at the very least, they'll have the power to fight one-half of their heritage, almost certainly if that one-half is vampire.
Positive characters also tend to pick up all the advantages and powers of their component races with no disadvantages or weaknesses. A half-vampire might pick up Super Strength and Voluntary Shapeshifting without having a weakness to sunlight or a thirst for blood, for example, or a half-elf gets magic and an extended lifespan (funny, that). Being a Half-Human Hybrid is almost always a plus for protagonists, although the characters usually don't think so. Frequently it's because of self-image issues, possibly due to people getting freaked out at them having horns and hooves or the like. Females tend to be luckier in this regard than males, due to being seen as an exotic beauty.
If the hybrid is a negative character, this will make their inhumanity more personal. They might have suffered Half-Breed Discrimination, representing what prejudice on both species' part can produce. For extra angst, the character's conception might have been less-than-consensual.
The concept as a whole, thanks to A Wizard Did It, tends to fly better in supernatural settings — when it comes to, say, demons, who can say it wouldn't work that way? It's not like we can do a DNA test on the Prince of Darkness. Yet. In mythology and folklore, this is known as a "liminal being", like Merlin (who in some stories is half-demon) or centaurs. Also in mythology, for hybrids who are half human/half god, see Semi-Divine, and Nephilim, which are commonly portrayed as angel or demon/human hybrids.
For those people who turn into hybrids, see Animorphism and Mix-and-Match Critter. A character born human but changed to be part-nonhuman later on would be an Artificial Hybrid. If the character was already a different non-human species, or gets hybridized a second time, they become a Hybrid Monster.
Not to be confused with Little Bit Beastly and Beast Man, for characters that look like this trope but are actually a fantastical or extraterrestrial species that (for some reason) looks a lot like us with some added fur, ears, or a tail.
See also Interspecies Romance. A common result of a Fantastic Romance. See Dhampyr for half vampire/half human hybrids specifically. May lead to Uneven Hybrids or Heinz Hybrids, if the family tree does not end with them. An inter-species humanoid hybrid that averts the "half human" part is a Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrid. If the non-human parent is from an Always Chaotic Evil race, this trope may result from the human being Raised by Orcs.
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- Big Finish Doctor Who:
- Alex Campbell, from the story "An Earthly Child", was the son of Susan Foreman (the Doctor's Gallifreyan granddaughter) and David Campbell (human). Unusually for this trope, he is almost entirely genetically human note and doesn't have the Gallifreyan ability to regenerate.
- Ex-companion Bernice Summerfield conceived a son with a Kiloran (humanoid with canine overtones) called Adrian Wall while she was possessed by a soul sucker called Avril Fenman. The birth didn't go so well as he was too large to be delivered normally so Benny had to undergo a C-section while in a prison cell. After being saved, he was named Peter Guy Summerfield. Being half Kiloran he looked mostly humanoid but with a few furry patches, dog-ears and a wet nose. He was also stronger than all but the most augmented humans by the time he was eight. This became important when Braxiatel manipulated/hypnotised him into killing Jason.
- Dick Tracy:
- The new Moon Maid. She was originally Glenna Ermine, the daughter of villain Poise Ermine. She won second place in a look-alike contest for the original, long deceased Moon Maid, and subsequently was kidnapped, had the original Moon Maid's DNA superimposed over her own, had facial surgery, and was given the original Moon Maid's memories. The scientists involved were using her as part of a plot to steal Diet Smith's Space Coupe.
- A more traditional example is Moon Maid and Junior Tracy's daughter Honeymoon Tracy, who looked perfectly human to start with (to the point that when the Moon People started being downplayed, there was no reason for a new reader to suspect she wasn't). Shortly after the new Moon Maid was introduced, reminding the readers of Honeymoon's origins, her antennae grew in.
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Ariel's daughter Melody is half-human, half mermaid, and wants to live in the sea, which is the exact opposite of what her mother wanted in the first film. In the end, she is given the choice to become a full mermaid, gain a tail, and live in the sea, but she declines, in order to reunite both halves of her family, and presumably spends the rest of her life switching back and forth from human to mermaid.
- In The Fly (1986), intoxicated scientist Seth Brundle tests himself in his experimental teleportation pods, unaware that a common housefly had entered the chamber with him; as the simple computer cannot teleport both entities as separate, Seth and the fly are fused at the genetic level. Despite experiencing some initial benefits (which he incorrectly believes is the result of the teleportation procedure) like an enhanced sex drive and increased strength, he slowly begins to transform into a diseased mutant and his sanity and health deteriorate. In the finale he transforms into a terrifying insectoid man, the "Brundlefly" and tries to fuse with his girlfriend and unborn child as a last-ditch effort to regain his humanity and save himself.
- Alice in Seventh Son is the daughter of a human father and a witch mother (in the film, witches are implied to be a separate species). It turns out the hero, Tom, is one as well.
- Barf the Mawg from Spaceballs, played by John Candy. "I'm a Mawg. Half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend!" Even worse, the gangster Pizza the Hutt is described as half-man, half pizza. So that's how those Pizza Boy Special Delivery scenes really end...
- Partially justified in Species. While alien/human hybrids are created through Hand-Waving, the three-quarters human children of The Virus infected astronaut in Species II who are sickly and (apparently) sterile. He wants to mate with Eve in particular because she's a fertile half-hybrid.
- In Roger Avary's film adaptation of Beowulf, Grendel is a Half-Human Hybrid. He may be sterile (given his apparent lack of reproductive organs), and though it may just be because he's a monster he gives a good impression of being sickly. He's hideously deformed, has what appears to be a nasty skin condition, and is sometimes heard whimpering as if in pain (though that's probably just because loud noises irritate his super-sensitive ear). The dragon at the end of the film is also a Half-Human Hybrid, born of a mating between Beowulf and Grendel's mother. This is also very much unlike the original poem, where no human ancestry was suggested for Grendel except that he was a distant descendant of Cain.
- In Sturla Gunnarsson's Beowulf & Grendel (2005), Grendel is referred to as a troll but his mother is some sort of sea creature. His son with Selma is this trope played straight.
- B-movie Arachnid has a gigantic alien spider giving birth to all kinds of other huge bugs. Sometimes it is required to lay the eggs inside a human. We never get any clue exactly what, if anything, it was mating with.
- Alien: Resurrection has a half-human, half-Alien squickfest born from a Xenomorph Queen with a human reproductive system. Who was laying eggs for the first two thirds of the movie.
- In Splice, two married scientists pioneer a new technology to 'plug and play' any number of different animal's DNA together to produce new unique organisms. They decide to take the next step and insert human DNA into the mix. That worked out about as well as you would expect.
- In Captain Berlin Doctor Sinds mutant is controlled with a mechanical device to an unknown degree
- In Dreamscape, Alex is trying to help a young boy whose nightmares take the shape of a half-man/half-snake creature. One of the villains also later assumes this form while in the dream world.
- District 9: After he is brought in to MNU, a scientist states that Wikus's DNA is in perfect balance between human and alien. It's only for a very short amount of time though, because the alien DNA is quickly taking over the human.
- Jupiter Ascending:
- In the Live-Action Adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire is the Dhampyr Saya. She is over 400 years old, and has hunted many vampires in this period. And she is the daughter of a human and the vampire queen.
- The Golden Child has Kala, a half-dragon, half-human woman (it is stated that her mother was raped by a dragon) who spends most of her screentime hidden behind a screen and having her silhouette admired by Chandler. Unobscured, she has a serpentine lower half and a snakelike tongue.
- Peter Quill is revealed during Guardians of the Galaxy to be human on one side and something else on the other. His father, Ego, plays a significant role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He's the Big Bad.
- Mythica: Dagen is a half-elf, son of an elven mother and an unknown human father.
- In Hellboy (2019), it turns out Hellboy himself is one. His father was a demon lord, his mother a mostly normal human woman.
- In fact, this is Older Than Dirt. Half-human children of the gods go back almost 4500 years with the Sumerian (Mesopotamian) myth of Gilgamesh, who was supposedly one third man and two thirds god — a heritage which would require an infinite number of ancestors, according to modern biology. Truth is, the Mesopotamians simply didn't understand how genetics worked.
- Other mythologies such as Greek are filled with the half-human children of gods and monsters (described below). Even Judeo-Christian legend has Lilith's demonic children and the nephilim, the result of "unauthorized" human/angel relations.
- Presumably, if you were a god, you could use some miracle to make it work out between yourself and a mortal, meaning that as silly as it sounds, this might actually be justified.
- Both Loki and Thor from Old Norse religion are half-Aesir half-Jotun hybrids—Loki on his father's side, Thor on his mother's.
- Loki is full Jotun. His parents are the Jotuns Laufey and Farbauti. Odin himself is half-Jotun and half-Aesir...his father Bor was Aesir but his mother Bestla was a frost giant. Thus making Thor three quarters Jotun and one-quarter Aesir. Loki's children Narvi and Vali born of the Goddess Sigyn would qualify as half-Jotun and half-Aesir. Magni, Thor's son with the giantess Jarnsaxa would be seven eighths Jotun and one eighth Aesir.
- Loki was willing to have sex with anything and he did. In various stories he both fathered and mothered a great number of children, several of which were extremely important in the cosmology. (For instance: Hel, Fenrir and Jormugand—children of Loki and his Jotun/Giant wife despite the latter two appearing like animal-monsters—and Odin's horse Sleipnir.) Since Loki is not human and is also a shapeshifter most of these technically don't count as half human hybrids, but they are hybrids of a sort.
- Merlin is traditionally depicted as the son of a woman (sometimes a witch, occasionally a nun) and an incubus. Or, sometimes, a man and a succubus. This is often given as an explanation for his magical and prophetic abilities. Modern interpretations of the legends vary significantly on Merlin's parentage.
- This was the result of the Christianization of the legend, to explain how Merlin could wield magic powers (which are always Satanic), but still be a good guy. The woman incidentally is nearly always a raped nun who dunks her newborn into holy water to wash evil away from him as soon as he is born, but he still grows up a horny bastard with a taste for young virgins — the modern tellings tend to forget that aspect of his character.
- Pretty sure in both the Christian and non-Christianized versions of the Arthurian Tradition Merlin was depicted as something of a fey spirit. So, half fairy was more like it. See works like the Elfin Knight, which predates most of the Malory as we know today. In the History of the Kings of Britain Merlin was depicted as born from a rather consensual experience. Try not to think about that too much.
- ... And if you want to go back to the source material with the myth of Myrddin and his sister, it's implied that they both have "magical" heritage. However, the emphasis is more on Myrddin's far-reaching Sight than anything else.
- Greek Mythology is freaking full of them, so many, you'd need a separate page to list them. Most of the Greek heroes (and even some gods) are half-human children of gods and monsters. Zeus being particularly infamous, with upwards of 30 noted hybrids by mortal women, several of his hybrids ascending to the pantheon, such as Heracles and Dionysus.
- The centaurs are supposedly the children of a guy named Centaurus, a deformed human who had sex with mares. He himself was the son of a human and a cloud-nymph clone of Hera.
- From Eastern Europe (especially, but not limited to, Romania) there is the dhampir or dhampire, child of a vampire and a human. Dhampir are meant to be excellent vampire hunters, but have a nasty habit of becoming vampires themselves when they die in many of the stories. Most half-human half-vampire characters in fiction draw on the dhampir mythology to some degree.
- Then we can go to Japan. Japanese folktales are rife with henge, usually Kitsune, taking the form of human women, marrying humans, and having children. Abe no Seimei, a surprisingly close parallel to Merlin, was reputed to be half Kitsune.
- A minor figure in the mythology of The Church of the Sub-Genius is Saint Oliver the Humanzee, who even has his own feast day. There really was a chimp named Oliver who was suspected of being a Humanzee, but DNA tests eventually revealed he was just a funny looking chimp.
- In some cultures in South America, there are tales of half-dolphin half-humans (the river dolphins, botos, can turn into people who almost always wear white hats).
- The Bible is very hush-hush on what the Nephilim were, but the most common theory is human-angel hybrids.
"And the sons of God looked upon the daughters of men and saw that they were fair, and took wives of all that they chose—and there were giants ["nephilim" in Hebrew] in the land in those days."
- Celtic hero Cu Chulainn was the son of a mortal woman and Lugh the Long Handed of the Tuatha Dé Danann, who passed down most of his Ace-like qualities to the child in question. Since Lugh himself was also half Fomorian (a race of primordial monsters that preceded the Tuatha Dé Danann), Cu Chulainn also inherited something from them as well—namely, the tendency to transform into a hideous, bloodthirsty abomination unable to distinguish friend from foe.
- Epona, a Celtic goddess associated with horses, is sometimes depicted as half-horse. One backstory is that her father hated women and thus had kids with a horse instead.
- Some early Gnostic writings claimed that Eve mated with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and that Cain was the resulting offspring. Mainstream Christian theologians have consistently viewed this belief as heretical, but that hasn't stopped the "serpent seed" doctrine from cropping up again from time to time.
- Tuatha from The Fallen Gods is a half-elf. Amusingly this means that the party composed of her, human Flint, and elven Solvin, is exactly half-elf and half-human.
- Bat Boy, of Weekly World News fame obviously qualifies.
- Bio-Monster DNA, a half-man, half-spider resulting from a sex change operation gone wrong. More readily apparent, a product of FMW's "Sports Entertainment" phase.
- This was already being parodied by the Victorian period: in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, Strephon is half a fairy, "The upper half, down to the waistcoat", and worriedly ponders what he'll do when his lower half grows old and dies.
- Bat Boy: The Musical, which is based off the Weekly World News story.
- Elphaba from Wicked. Since it's shown in the very beginning of the story that her mother (the wife of the Munchkin Governor) was having an affair with a mysterious man who gave her a "green elixir" to drink, and Elphaba was subsequently born less than a year later with green skin, the audience could surmise from early on that her "father" the Governor was not her real dad. (In fact, he likely suspected it himself, as it's implied that this is one of the main reasons he always hated Elphaba.) However, The Reveal at the end of the play proves that she's this: her mother's mysterious lover, her real father, is in fact the Wizard of Oz himself, a human who originally came to Oz from our world. Elphaba being half-Ozian, half-human, a product of two different worlds, is surmised to be the source of her abnormally strong power.
- Amaluna: Cali, the half-man, half-lizard pet of Miranda.
- In The Ring of the Nibelung Hagen is half-human and half-Nibelung, being the Bastard Bastard son of the Big Bad Alberich. Apparently this leads to him being older then he looks.
- In Shrek: The Musical, Farquaad is half-dwarf.
- In A Very Potter Sequel, it is revealed that Draco's true biological father is Dobby, the Malfoy's house elf instead of Lucius, born after Narcissa had an affair with him while married to Lucius. This makes Draco half-elf, explaining many of his quirks played for laughs in this musical and its prequel.
- SCP Foundation:
- New Vindicators has a lot of these running around-the primary source for superpowers comes from being a Neo-Sapien, which are all descended from Nephilim, who are half human, half fallen angel.
- There are, in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, a number of half-human Agents. These come from a great many different continua. Especially the ex-sues.
- Shane Myers from Strange Little Band is half alien, half human but most of his colleagues don't know this. The identity of his alien father is important later in the story.
- Several characters in the fantasy webnovel Tales of MU. Most notably Mackenzie, a half-demon.
- Caleb "Half-Face" from Little Lenny Penguin and the Great Red Flood, tween-turned-eldritch.
- Elcenia: Rhysel is a halfblood, which is an interesting version of this trope. Though she, specifically, is half-elf and half-human, she would have the same characteristics were she 1/256th human or elf, hence "halfblood", since "half-elf" would limit the term to genotype rather than phenotype.
- Yet another joke◊ on the subject of the other half being assumed human. Half-elf, yes...
- In The Lay of Paul Twister, Sarah is half-human, apparently as the result of a magical curse. The nature of the curse is that what the other half is varies from one day to the next: she might go to sleep as a half-elf and wake up the next day as a half-ogre, for example.
- A complicated version in the French novel "Les Animaux Denaturés", variously translated as "You Shall Know Them", "The Murder of the Missing Link", and "Borderline". A scientific expedition finds a new species of primate called tropis that can be impregnated by both humans and apes. A businessman comes forward to basically enslave them since they're as suitable for hard work as humans, but he wouldn't have to pay them. In order to push the debate further, one of the scientists (artificially) impregnates a female tropi and kills the child, standing trial on whether he killed an animal or committed murder on a human. It's determined that the tropis are human, foiling the businessman, but as their status was determined after the fact, the scientist can't be retroactively condemned.
- In Chrono Hustle it is eventually revealed that Jack is a Demi-God. His mother was a Goddess, while his father was a Human.
- Limyaael's Fantasy Rants: Limyaael discusses these in her hybrid heroes rant.
- This blog post on Shakespeare Geek claims, among other things, that Shakespeare was half human, half Australian Frilled Lizard.
- The Wandering Inn: Ceria, one of the side characters, is a half-elf, who are despised in some countries.
- Critical Role has three in the main party, all of whom are of the half-elven variety. Vex and Vax are twins born from a union between an elven noble and a human peasant, and Keyleth belongs to a druid tribe comprised of many different races. Not surprising of course, given that this is a D&D campaign.
- Conspiracy Theorist David Icke claims in his book The Biggest Secret that the world is secretly ruled by reptilian aliens who can take human shape and interbreed with humans. Specifically, 12-foot tall specimens that drink human blood.note Sounds like he read a little too much Robert E. Howard pulp novels, as King Kull has the same plot points.
- There was a Russian scientist in the early 20th century who attempted to create a Humanzee, but apparently none of his experiments panned out and his funding was eventually cut. Interesting that in all accounts of trying to inseminate human women with ape sperm, the ape always happens to die shortly before the scheduled date. For the curious, said scientist was Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov (#5 on the list, bottom of the first page). Apparently, the story gets even stranger. Thoroughly examined here. Ivanov can be conservatively described as having been a completely insane crackpot, but stories of surviving Humanzee creations are the accounts of conspiracy theories with no evidence behind them and most of what we know of biology arguing for its near impossibility.
In 1977, it was proven that human sperm could penetrate the outer membranes of a gibbon egg. Gibbons, also called Hylobatids or lesser apes, are even less closely related to humans than chimps. The tests were repeated with eggs from non-Hominoidea species, like baboons and rhesus monkeys, which the sperm did not attempt to fertilize. While purely theoretical at this point, it suggests interbreeding between these groups could be possible.
- Subverted with Oliver, a wild-born chimpanzee raised in a human household. Because of his bald features and preference for bipedal walking, he was long suspected to be a human/chimp hybrid, but DNA tests eventually determined that he's a chimpanzee from a wild population with slightly less fur and smaller heads than most. Walking upright is a behavior he learned by copying humans. Just to clinch the argument, he ended up with debilitating arthritis in his back and feet from walking upright, and had to spend his twilight years knuckle walking like a normal chimp. He just wasn't built for that stunt, and it wore his body down like ballet wears a ballerina down.
- State Representative William "Tracy" Arnold R-MS attempted to introduce House Bill 819, the Protection of the Human Person Act, to prevent this trope. The response from anyone in Congress who actually knew anything about science amounted to "You're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist." Apart from human+animal sperm+egg nonsense, it broadly outlaws genetically engineered embryos and intelligent nonhumans.
- Most people from northern Europe can trace up to 4% of their DNA to Neanderthals, and it is believed that there was interbreeding in the past. So technically, an entire population of Half-Human Hybrid people did actually exist in the past, crossing back into the human population to dilute the genes. Not that that amounts to much. Humans are still 99.9% identical genetically when you get right down to it, and since Neanderthals were virtually identical to humans anyway, most of that DNA was identical to the DNA we already had just came from a different source. The few new genes we got from Neanderthals still fall into that one-tenth of a percent that makes us distinct. Or rather, Neanderthals were humans, just a separate subspecies from the Cro-Magnons who were the first "modern" humans. The ancestors of Neanderthals were the first humans to leave Africa, while the Cro-Magnons evolved and left Africa later. Interbreeding was apparently relatively common when they met, as all humans of non-African descent today have at least some Neanderthal DNA.