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Human Aliens
aka: Human Alien

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Pop Quiz! Which of these is a human?Answer 

Amy: But you look human.
The Doctor: No, you look Time Lord. We came first.

When a creature from a planet other than Earth looks like a human, sounds like a human, acts somewhat like a human and gets confused for a human.

Their internal physiology may well be different, whether a little or a lot or just none, but otherwise they appear to be the genuine article.

In-story, this occasionally leads to a handwaving story about how all the races have some common ancestor. Other times, it gets justified by using a Transplanted Humans story. Out-of-story, this is often explained by the fact that there are remarkably few non-humanoids in the Screen Actors' Guild or Equity, and by the fact that believable-looking, wildly-different-in-appearance aliens are incompatible with low budgets. Other explanations include the idea that a humanoid form is the natural result of any evolutionary path (Humans Are Special on Evolutionary Levels).


This trope also covers shape-shifters who budget-savingly stay in human form around humans.

In 1950s movies, this also could be used as an actual part of the theme of the story, as the idea that these sorts of aliens could pass completely for humans made a rather handy metaphor for Communism.

In Anime, on the other hand, the trope is often invoked to show that humans and their alien enemies aren't all that different.

In stories involving alien cyborgs, the aliens are often human-looking in their original form, to emphasize that the conflict of the story is between their biological and cybernetic natures, and not mainly about the fact that they are aliens. Examples include the Kaleds who became the Daleks, the original Cybermen, the Galadorians from Rom Spaceknight, the Nebulans from The Transformers, the GoBots, and Star Trek's Borg.note 


The bottom rung of the Alien ladder, below Rubber-Forehead Aliens and Intelligent Gerbils. Note that, for this trope, the alien must be visually indistinguishable from a human. "Human, but with blue (or purple, orange, green, etc.) skin" falls under Rubber-Forehead Aliens. Aliens with cultural rather than biological similarities fall under Inexplicable Cultural Ties.

Technically there could be another rung below this one on the Alien ladder: White Aliens. There are many fictional planets where the aliens not only look human, they are all white-looking. This is rife with Unfortunate Implications. The opposite situation, where the alien race is genuinely alien, but they are all African-looking, or Asian-looking, etc., is vanishingly rare (and would probably carry a different batch of Unfortunate Implications). Naturally, this varies by the location of production: Japanese science fiction has planets full of Japanese-looking aliens, Indian films have Indian-looking aliens, Doctor Who depicts an entire universe full of people with British accents, and so on.

Reasons for using this trope may vary. Sometimes it may make audience relate to the character better (because people aren't going to like a character who looks, you know, "different") or to have the character live among ordinary humans without undue complications, or to make a human-alien romance more plausible and less squicky. Or it might just be because they can't afford the makeup and rubber foreheads. Or sometimes, well...

Contrast with Starfish Aliens (where the aliens are nothing like humans), Humanoid Aliens (where aliens have a similar shape, but not quite human), Ambiguously Human (where it isn't made clear in-canon whether a culture are human-like aliens or human-descended), A Form You Are Comfortable With (when gods and other metaphysical beings take human form) and Human Subspecies (biologically "alien" yet related to humans). In the case one of them had been Raised by Humans, may lead to Human Alien Discovery. Hugh Mann is the Played for Laughs version when an obviously nonhuman creature still fools humans in a Paper-Thin Disguise. Not to be confused with Humanity Came From Space, which are actual alien humans from places other than Earth.


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    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy
    • The final episodes of the original series revealed that Fang was a Human Alien all along when his older brother paid a visit to Earth. Their only distinctions from humans are their red irises and raven-colored spiky hair. Gopal and Lahap lampshade this:
    Gopal: Hey, why do you look like a human?
    Lahap: Why do YOU look like an alien?
    • BoBoiBoy Galaxy introduces more human aliens as the main gang take the fight to space. Some introduced in the first season alone are Sai, Shielda and Ramenman, who all appear just as human as Fang and work with the heroes.
  • Happy Heroes: Certain inhabitants of planets Xing Xing, Gray, etc. (such as Doctor H., Miss Peach, and Big and Little M., to give some examples) look and act so much like humans that they could otherwise easily pass for them if not for the show's space setting.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman, Supergirl, and all other Kryptonians are outwardly indistinguishable from humans, despite obvious biological differences. Exactly how close or distant humans and Kryptonians are can vary depending on the work:
    • According to some Silver Age stories, Kryptonians were descendants of humans plucked from Earth by a more technologically advanced race. Some Post-Crisis stories imply this as well.
    • One Superman/Flash story has the duo facing a mysterious alien race that apparently seeded both Earth and Krypton with life, at around the same time, serving as a possible explanation for this trope.
    • In depictions of Superman's origin story, Jor-El and Lara are shown choosing to send him to Earth precisely because humans look exactly like Kryptonians, thus Kal-El can live among them and blend in with little trouble.
    • Lampshaded in an issue of Starman where Jack Knight's journeys through space and time land him on Krypton before its destruction. He is promptly arrested by the authorities, who suspect him of being a member of a Kryptonian rebel group. When Jack tries to argue that he's an alien visitor from planet Earth, his interrogator refuses to believe him, pointing out that he looks no different from any Kryptonian. Jack wonders whether God was feeling unoriginal.
    • Other stories suggested that the human and Kryptonian species actually were directly related.
    • Krypton dodges the White Trap via "Vathlo Island", home to "a highly developed black race" of Kryptonians, first mentioned in 1971. Later depictions of Kryptonians such as the one in New Krypton depicts the species as being much more diverse than their Pre-Crisis counterparts.
    • Double subversion in Krypton No More. Supergirl tells her cousin they look like Earth people because they were actually born in Earth, not Krypton. However it turns out that she was being coerced into lying to him about their origins.
    • The Elseworld story Superman: Red Son provides a distinctly non-canon explanation: Kal-El didn't come from a distant planet, he time-traveled back from Earth's very distant future following Luthor's victory. In fact, the House of El is a bastardization of "L", from Luthor, making him a direct ancestor of Kal-El.
    • Subverted by alien villain Xviar in Who Took the Super out of Superman?. He looks human because he is a shape-shifter whose real shape is unknown.
  • In Superman Smashes the Klan, Clark is terrified of his alien heritage and begins freaking out when he sees visions of figures who claim to be his parents but are grotesque and lizard-like. When he finally resolves himself to confront his alien heritage and accept it, they appear as they actually did on Krypton.
  • There's a very strong tendency for aliens in The DCU to look exactly like humans:
    • Most inhabitants of New Genesis and Apokolips resemble humans. In one issue where Doomsday arrives on Apokolips, the aliens crewing the ship that brings him there look human.
    • In Legion of Super-Heroes, most of the alien races are perfectly humanoid in appearance, although they possess various additional abilities. Post-Crisis, this was handwaved by having them be descendants of humans who were given superpowers in alien experiments (this explanation was later retconned out of existence by the 2010 "New Krypton" storyline, which tells us they were, in fact, alien races to begin with.)
    • Post-Crisis, it was established that Mon-El's people, the Daxamites, are descended from Kryptonian colonists, explaining the similarity of both races.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): A Daxamite is not only the most human looking of the extraterrestrials to aid Diana, she's also the only person in the entire Sangtee Empire to speak English.
    • Natives of Rann seem to be entirely indistinguishable from humans. Indeed, human hero Adam Strange had a child with his Rannian wife Alanna.
    • Blackest Night revealed that Earth was really the place where life began, which might help explain all the humanoid life in the galaxy.
    • The planet Bellatrix from the Green Lantern series has a very human-looking population, but with a refreshing amount of diversity. One of the planet's two Lanterns, Zale, fits this trope, looking like a human of African descent.
    • Tamaranians like Starfire are nearly indistinguishable from humans, save the solid green eyes, usually exceptional height, and spray-tan color skin, yet are specifically stated to taxonomically be descended from something more feline than ape.
    • In the Supergirl storyline Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl found several human-like races such like Graxians (blue-skinned humanoids with cow-like ears) and Primeenians (orange-skinned, pointy-eared humanoids).
    • A number of the extraterrestrials introduced in Superboy and the Ravers are rather humanoid, such as the Qwardians who look like pink hairless humans with odd eyes, and the race of the man running the rave looks human outside of their orange skin and pointed ears.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Most of the aliens Diana met in the Golden Age were rather humanoid with little tweaks like those from Venus having butterfly wings, but the Saturnians were pretty much visibly indistinguishable from humans save a handful of their number with green or blue hair.
  • The Marvel Universe also has a number of examples:
    • The Kree are divided into two races: the pink Kree (who look just like white humans) and the blue Kree (who look just like humans, save for their blue skin).
    • The Shi'ar, who are basically humans with avian forefathers, birdlike physiology (yet Non-Mammal Mammaries), and enhanced physical abilities. For most Shi'ar, the only visible sign of their avian ancestry is that they have feathers instead of hair... and Depending on the Artist, it's not even always obvious that it's not just oddly-shaped hair. This is lampshaded in Excalibur when the Shi'Ar warrior Cerise first arrived on Earth and encountered Nightcrawler and Excalibur's alien frenemies the Technet, a team of bounty hunters composed of various alien members who do not fall under this trope, and Nightcrawler is a mutant with an inhuman appearance. Cerise demanded to know which one of them best resembled the dominant lifeform on this planet, to which Nightcrawler replied, "Ironically fraulein, you do."
    • The Xandarians and the Spartoi all look exactly like humans.
    • Asgardians, which are basically much stronger and longer living humans with access to mystical powers. If you believe some questionable sources (namely Loki) they are actually something much weirder; namely, living myth and metaphor. They look human because, well, they originate on Earth where Most Writers Are Human.
    • The Eternals, being Jack Kirby's Marvel expies of the New Gods, all look like humans, with the exception of Thanos, who is a mutant to his species.
    • Karolina Dean of Runaways looks exactly like a normal human as long as she wears a bracelet made from a special material that dampens her powers. When she takes the bracelet off, she looks more like a human-shaped rainbow . It turns out that her parents come from the planet Majesdane.
    • The title character from Omega the Unknown, who was created by another alien race to be the perfect Übermensch.
    • The Galadorians of Rom Spaceknight.
    • The people of Homeworld in Micronauts. It was eventually explained that they and the Rubber-Forehead Aliens of the Microverse are descended from humans from the future.
    • Nebulans from The Transformers.
    • The people of Zenn-La look the same as humans. The men are all bald, but that could be cultural.
    • This is all explained by the fact that the Celestials based all dominant life forms on the same template
  • In a similar manner to Superman, the Viltrumites of Invincible, of whom main character Mark is a human hybrid, are basically humans with superpowers, and, if they're male, mustaches. All of them. And that's it. It's later revealed that Viltrumites are almost 100% biologically identical to humans, and in crossbreeding the Viltrumite powers are so heavily dominant Mark himself is nearly pure Viltrumite. Facing extinction, the surviving Viltrumites relocate to Earth to breed.
  • The Wildstorm Comics 'Verse has Kherubim, super-powered humanlike immortals who can even interbreed with Homo sapiens. It's eventually revealed that this is because Earth and other planets were seeded with devices designed to spread the Kherubim genome across the universe in a form of bloodless conquest. Not that they were averse to the bloody kind on occasion either, being a Warrior Race.
  • The many worlds of the CrossGen universe seem quite prone to humanity as a dominant population. Possibly explained by Geromi in Crux, who mentions a mass exodus from Earth at some point that led to many other worlds being colonized, and that nobody's a true human any more. Discussed in the world-hopping storylines of Sigil and Mystic, when Sam and Giselle encounter humans on a variety of strange worlds (in fact, it initially takes Giselle a while to realize she's not on Ciress any more). It is worth noting that Solusandra apparently created many of the worlds depicted and populated them according to whatever theme had struck her fancy at the time. Whether she actually created the human inhabitants as well or simply transported them from elsewhere in the diaspora is unstated.
  • The title character from Superlópez.
  • Examples from girl's comics include "Mindreader Mina" from Bunty, "Stella Starr" from Mandy and Xenia of "Almost Human" from Jinty.
  • The Therns in Warlord of Mars physically resemble humans the closest out of all other Martian races, who either have exotic skin coloring or are straight up monstrous. So much so that the main protagonist, a human from Earth, is mistaken for one by other people. The Tarids from Thuria also qualify.
  • Khaal: The Chronicles of a Galactic Emperor: The main protagonist and the human-like beings from Empyreon call themselves "humans", but its made clear they do not come from Earth, but rather they belong to a very ancient and long destroyed civilization that spanned over the galaxy.
  • Vampirella was originally presented as an alien from the planet Drakulon, which was populated by a human-like race that subsisted in blood that flew like water in their world. Dracula was revealed to have been from the same race as Vampi until he was banished, instead of being native from Earth. Later publications retconned Drakulon being a place inside of hell instead of an alien planet, though recently the comic has overlapped between the two.
  • Mekkans from ManTech.
  • Star Trek: Early Voyages:
    • In "Our Dearest Blood", the Rigellians are physically identical to humans.
    • In "Immortal Wounds", the Neydans are likewise identical to humans.
  • The Image Comics adaptation of Battle of the Planets explains the Spectrans' human appearance. Apparently the original Spectrans are extinct, and the Energy Being who ruled them decided to grow a new race of Spectrans from human genetic material. Those weird animalistic uniforms they wear are meant to resemble the long-dead original Spectrans.

    Fan Works 
  • In Child of the Storm and its sequel, Asgardians and the mostly extinct Kryptonians (who are stated to have previously interbred) are the most prominent examples of this, as are the Kree - the Shi'ar and Skrulls are mentioned, but like other species like the Jotuns, they are at last humanoid. The classic Marvel explanation of 'the Celestials did it', since the entities in question make a passing appearance, likely holds true.
  • The humans from Pokémon - referred to as "Pokérinians" - are described as "humanoid but decidedly not human" in Intelligence Factor.
  • In Keepers of the Elements, everyone from the magical planets Alma, Spectra, Erendor, Wispera and Nadir resemble humans, with few exceptions.
  • The Angels, Jews, and Muslims in the Sonic X: Dark Chaos universe. Humanity was originally descended from them, and they look very similar to humans with only a few minor quirks.
    • Ethnic Angels closely resemble Tolkien elves. They are often tall and fair.
    • Jews are short, dark-skinned tribal people with Badass Beards. Jesus, although he's the leader of the whole Federation, is one of these.
    • Male Muslims are generally quite similar to Jews. Female Muslims are always completely covered up, and for good reason.
  • Jason Shepard from Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm is suspected to be this. At the very least, he's extremely old and used to have powers, but whether or not he's an actual alien is up for debate.
  • The Last Daughter subverts and plays this straight. According to Jor-El, they had to remove Taylor's ancillary thumbs and re-add her canine teeth back, among other things, in order for her blend in on Earth. Amy notes that humans genetically have more in common with sea sponges than with Kryptonians. However, the end product means that virtually no one, including Taylor for most of her life, can tell the difference.
  • Alex Harris, the heroine of Origin Story, is a Kryptonian, and thus nearly identical to a human female. There is a discussion between Alex and her human lover that details some of the physical differences between the two species (specifically, the Kryptonians in this story have hearts on the opposite side of the chest than a human, Kryptonians don't have anything that corresponds with the human appendix, female Kryptonians only ovulate four times a year and thus only menstruate four times a year, they have less body hair per square inch of skin, their eyes can't differentiate as many separate shades of color as the human eye, and so on), but none of them are readily obvious to the casual viewer.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku is Kryptonian. His appearance and bodily functions are close enough to a human's that he has no problems passing as one even after the government discovers him. The fact that his powers manifested when he was four years old only adds to the illusion that he's just a kid with a ridiculously powerful Quirk rather than the "big green monster man" the public believes him to be.
  • Shinji Ikari in Alpha and Omega is completely identical to humans on a biological level but vastly different on a metaphysical level, being the last of the Lilum. Unlike humans of the Mass Effect universe, Shinji can pilot an Evangelion and utilize an AT field. It's eventually revealed that Shinji is older than the last trillion universes.
  • Discussed by a pair of Peruvian llama farmers in If They Haven't Learned Your Name who find Barnes and the spaceship floating near their farmlands. After Barnes asks them for directions and then takes off, the two farmers debate if Barnes is an alien- obviously thinking of Asgardians -a drunk, or just a gringo, or if they're the ones who got drunk enough to hallucinate a white guy and an ugly-ass spaceship. They also realize that if Barnes is, in fact, an alien sent to take over Earth Loki-style, they're the idiots who just pointed him to the nearest town.
  • Tales of the Otherverse: Discussed. Sherri finds hard to believe the fact that there were humanoids and dog-looking animals in Krypton, although Mon-El points there is a thing called convergent evolution.
    Mon-El: "Dog? White? Named Krypto?"
    Sherri: "Yes. Supposedly he came from the same planet Superboy came from, though I find that hard to believe. It's hard enough to imagine that evolution followed similar paths with humanoids on other planets."
    Mon-El: "Depends. If you give credence to the theory that many worlds were seeded with similar life forms, then it stands to reason that those life forms might evolve along similar paths."

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Barbarella: All the intelligent aliens that Barbarella meets on the uncharted Planet 16 look entirely human.
  • In Captain Berlin Doctor Sind, his henchman, and his mutant are said to be from outer space while looking like normal people.
  • All the alien races in The Chronicles of Riddick series. This gives the superficial illusion of Absent Aliens, but there are a few here and there revealed to be aliens. Such as the air elemental, who looks like a normal old lady Dame Judi Dench, but can turn into mist as she chooses. And there's some ambiguity concerning the Furyan race and its most famous member, the protagonist, Richard B. Riddick.
  • Ella was an alien who took on human form in order to blend in among humans in Cowboys & Aliens.
  • Godzilla:
    • The OG example of this trope in the series are the Showa era version of the Xiliens, also known as the People from Planet X, who appear outwardly human and don’t seem to have a hidden beastly form. This is averted in Godzilla: Final Wars, where their human appearance is merely a disguise for their true appearances, being grey and black eyeless humanoids.
    • The Kilaaks from Destroy All Monsters have two forms. Their first form looks almost exactly like a human, as long as the temperature is high enough. Should it fall below a critical point, the Kilaaks will show their true colours, taking on the form of metallic slug-like creatures.
    • Averted in the case of the Seatopians in Godzilla vs. Megalon, who are just as earthly as us, being a race of sophisticated humans who live deep Beneath the Earth.
  • Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is identical to a human being. It's been said that the filmmakers cast a British actor virtually unknown in the United States so audiences would have an easier time believing he was an alien than if he was a familiar face.
  • The three aliens in Earth Girls Are Easy look human.. after all their fur has been shaved off and their primary-colored skins have been dyed different shades. (The leader of the aliens is played by a swarthy Jewish-American actor, while the other two are a light-skinned African-American and a pale Anglo-Canadian.)
  • Most of the aliens in the Kingdom of Mongo in Flash Gordon.
  • The squid-like Thermians in Galaxy Quest use appearance generators to look human. Somewhat justified: they based their entire society and technology on a human TV show, and they were trying to fit in with their human guests. Since they have no concept of deception, it isn't meant to let them pass for human or even to make the humans ease into the whole alien thing; it's just their version of Cosplay.
  • Practically all alien races in the Godzilla movies. (Although sometimes this is just a disguise for space gorillas or cockroaches.)
  • The immortals from Zeist in Highlander II: The Quickening.
  • The History of Future Folk: People from the planet Hondo look exactly like humans and can interbreed with them. They are, however, immune to pepper spray and can make their hands glow blue to use various abilities as the plot demands.
  • Centauri puts on a human face, the Xandoxan assassins take on human form, and the Rylans look basically human in The Last Starfighter.
  • Leprechaun 4: In Space features an alien princess who teams up with the Leprechaun (only to reveal at the end she's been secretly working against him the whole time). She looks exactly like the sexy blonde human woman who's portraying her; her only real difference from us is that she has green blood.
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra used this trope with the "Marvans" as part of an Affectionate Parody of low-budget sci-fi horror movies from the 50s.
    Lattis: It's interesting how different people from different planets differ.
  • Kryptonians in Man of Steel, as always, look perfectly human despite their alien biology.
  • Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth is actually a Rubber-Forehead Alien, but appears human (as human as David Bowie is capable of looking, at least) throughout most of the film through the use of contact lenses and stage makeup, as well as a few prosthetics for other parts of his body. Without his cosmetics, his bright golden skin and eyes with vertical, ovular pupils would give him away. Biologically his people are similar to humans, but among other things have longer life spans (Newton remains the same age while other characters in the movie go from college age to their late 50s) and are extremely sensitive to X-rays (even more so in the source novel, in which they prove blinding).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: Asgardians are physically indistinguishable from humans, but you can usually tell when you're talking to one. Their main difference is that Asgardians are far more durable than humans, even when Thor was de-powered he takes more damage than a regular man and was able to easily make a bunch of elite SHIELD agents look like mall rent-a-cops. The other races in the Thor films like the Jotuns, Dark Elves, and Light Elves are mostly Rubber-Forehead Aliens.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Xandarians are visually identical to humans (but apparently have differing DNA because they are able to identify Peter Quill as half-Terran by scanning him). The Collector and his brother, the Grandmaster, are also very human-looking, though they have rather bizarre fashion sense. Other Human Aliens of indeterminate species are mixed with Rubber-Forehead Aliens in various background shots, such as in Knowhere and many of the Ravagers that make up Yondu's crew. Although given Rocket calls Peter "humie", it would seem that "human" in the MCU is not limited to "Terran".
    • Zig-Zagged by the Kree in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel: Some of them have blue skin, purple eyes, and occasionally Pointy Ears, while others are indistinguishable from humans, to the point where Carol Danvers, whileamnesiac, believes she is Kree. Likewise, Mar-Vell is able to live on Earth as "Dr. Wendy Lawson" and only gets outed as Kree after she and Carol are shot down in a dogfight because Carol sees her bleed blue. Notably, unlike in the comics, where the human-looking Kree are officially classified as "Pink" and can only pass for Caucasian humans, Korath (Djimon Hounsou) resembles a man of Sub-Saharan African descent.
  • He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Blade and Evil-Lyn in Masters of the Universe.
    • Interestingly, the original ending would have revealed that they were from the future and the planet Eternia was settled by stranded space travellers from Earth.
  • In Plan 9 from Outer Space, Eros, Tanna, and the Ruler of the Galaxy all look perfectly human.
  • Queen of Outer Space. When our heroes realise they've crashlanded on Venus, they speculate on what form of intelligent life might inhabit it. Insectoid beings? Little Green Men with eyes on stalks? They're later captured by a society consisting entirely of hot babes in miniskirts and high heels.
  • Race to Witch Mountain. The aliens look exactly like humans... but then there's the superpowers. When Dwayne Johnson's character points this out, they respond with "What's an alien supposed to look like?" He responds with his idea that they were supposed to resemble little green men.
  • Dr. Frank N Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta, and the other Transylvanians from The Rocky Horror Picture Show look like normal (well, normal except for their sexual practices) human beings. Considering that the film is an Affectionate Parody of old B-Movie science fiction films, it's no surprise.
  • Common when aliens turn up in Masked Luchador films such as Santo contra la invasión de los marcianos (Santo vs. The Martian Invasion, 1966). Typically, the alien invaders are fair-skinned and platinum blond haired, not unlike the "Nordic Aliens"/"Space Brothers" of UFO mythology.
  • Star Wars, of course, features Human Aliens as the protagonists alongside Humanoid Aliens and Serkis Folk, with the occasional Rubber Forehead such as Twi'leks or Darth Maul. There's no sign of Earth, and what connections or differences exist between the totally-human-looking races of different worlds remain unknown. (One must wonder if there are other planets with, say, Wookiees that are completely unrelated to the ones of Chewie's homeworld of Kashyyyk...). The Expanded Universe explains that multiple races are evolutionarily connected to humans and are thus categorized as "near-human." These races include, but are not limited to, Twi'leks, Zabrak, Chiss, Miraluka, Sullustan, and the possibly-extinct Red Sith. Some of them are close enough to produce viable half-human offspring.
    • Most sources which dwell on the subject imply that Coruscant is the human homeworld, but no one knows for sure. The other humans are the result of sleeper ships launched before the founding of the Galactic Republic, or of Precursors moving them around as slaves. Some were separated long enough ago and/or ended up in sufficiently divergent environments that they evolved into what are known as "Near-Humans", basically different enough that they'd be considered new subspecies, but still close enough to interbreed with "normal" humans. After the founding of the Republic (most of whose members were the result of the sleeper ships) widespread colonization ensued using the hyperdrive.
    • Knights of the Old Republic implies that the human homeworld was actually Tatooine. The originals were the ancestors of the Sand People as well, who abandoned technology after a (technically) successful rebellion against the Rakatan that also led to the world being turned into a desert by orbital bombardment. Alternately, the Tuskens might be just another human or near-human race.
    • When C-3PO introduces himself, he always adds, "human-cyborg relations". It seems they are human after all. Then again, he's not a cyborg, and neither Darth Vader nor General Grievous, who really are cyborgs, need an interpreter to speak with humans.
    • A novel was planned that would have explained the humans as arriving through time and space from a troubled future Earth, but the project was scrapped before release. The Expanded Universe did include a couple of theories along the way, though.
  • Shep Ramsay in Suburban Commando.
  • Most of the aliens in Teenagers from Outer Space look human.
  • The alien visitors to Earth in What Planet Are You From?? look completely human. Then again, they can shoot rays of light out of their nostrils, so obviously they aren't.
  • In the Russian film Attraction, the alien that crash-lands in Moscow not only looks very much human but actually receives a blood transfusion (something that can be harmful between humans) from Yulia without any side effects. On the other hand, the aliens are The Ageless, which appears to have always been the case.
  • In the Soviet two-part film Moscow — Cassiopeia, the aliens turn out to look almost identical to humans, with the difference being that they're completely bald until they hit puberty. They do have a Starfish Language though, which involves a series of whistles that appear to contain a lot of information. When one of the teens first sees the aliens, she has an I Knew It! moment and proclaims that all intelligent life in the universe must be this trope. When another teen rightly points out that she can't possibly know that from the two examples, she gives him a look and tells him that he's ignoring the evidence right in front of him. Care to take a guess as to which of them is the better scientist?
  • The Girl From Monday: Nobody, an alien traveler, appears to be a lovely young human woman. It's explained her species lacks a corporeal form however, so she took one on to blend in among humans. As with most examples, she's also white. Jack turns out to be one too.

  • Alterien series. The Alteriens, aka homo alteris, are this. In their concealed form they look like any normal human with the usual exception of being highly attractive. As this particular trait can sometimes make them stick out in situations they may want to be more inconspicuous, they can shapeshift to look like a less attractive, more average-looking human at any time. Oberon and the other Alteriens of the first group were completely unaware of true nature of their "human" bodies until the Sisters of Orion reveal it to them later on in the series (The Orion Directive).
  • Robert Rankin shamelessly lampshades this in one of his stories (Armageddon, the Musical) where it is advanced as proof that there is a God who designs dominant species in his own image. "As any Science Fiction fan knows, the basic human shape, Head at the top, two feet at the bottom, wedding tackle about halfway down, is the standard for intelligent life the universe over. They often speak good English with a noticeable American accent, too. Facts that should serve up friend Atheist with a workload of eggs, faces for the use of."
  • Angels in The Bible are an interesting take on this. Usually they look near indistinguishable from humans. The ones who announce Jesus resurrection are a good example of this being described simply as men in white robes. On the other hand some angels can be a lot stranger.
  • In one Discworld book (though it was referring to gods, the spirit's the same), it's mentioned that if you ask someone to come up with an alien-looking being, it would basically be a man in an animal mask.
  • Older Than Television: Edgar Rice Burroughs did this all over the place.
    • Starting back in 1912 with A Princess of Mars. Everybody on Mars except the Green men looked human, but hotter, and have much longer lifespans. The earth born hero John Carter and his Martian Princess wife have two kids, despite massive biological differences including Martians being oviparous.
    • In the Amtor series, the people of Vepaja, a nation on Venus, slightly resemble Middle-Easterns on Earth.
    • This doesn't even begin to cover some of the wild biology that shows up in The Land That Time Forgot stories.
    • The ecosystem of Pellucidar is supposedly entirely convergent evolution from the outer surface of Earth, except without the asteroid-induced mass extinctions. Resulting in several sapient species ranging from pterosaur-descended Mahars to humans, though at least one tribe of humans are known to be descendants of Barbary corsairs who sailed through a passage at the North Pole to Pellucidar.
  • The Takisians of the Wild Cards series. In fact, that's what leads to the entire plot of the series; the Takisians note how biologically similar they are to humans, believe they must be the descendants of a "lost colony," and drop the wild card virus on Earth to test out its purpose as a biological weapon. Humans and Takisians can even have children together.
  • The various biological species of The Culture are mostly human-looking, although they have various additional internal glands and bits. Given the degree of casual genetic modification in the universe though, it's anyone's guess as to whether they were all always like that.
    • Use of Weapons:
    • Shias Engin asks Zakalwe "I know that all the outworlders aren't humanoid, but a lot are. How come?". Zakalwe replies jokingly that it is the universe's way of getting rid of alcohol.
    • Some of them are human, a result of the Culture grabbing some of them to spread out across the universe.
    • The essay A Few Notes on The Culture deliberately sidesteps the issue:
      Now, in all the above, there are two untold stories implicit. One is the history of the Culture's formation, which was a lot less easy and more troubled than its later demeanour might lead one to expect, and the other is the story which answers the question; why were there all those so-similar humanoid species scattered around the galaxy in the first place?
      Each story is too complicated to relate here.
    • Played with somewhat, in that while the Culture's main species are called "Human", they're not quite what we think of as "Human"; A character in The State Of The Art needs cosmetic surgery to fit in on Earth.
    • It's also implied that while human is a recurring body plan, it's not the only one — the various races of humanoid are called "pan-human", but a race of bouncing monopods are referred to as a "pan-hopper" species in Surface Detail.
An interesting variation on First Contact occurs in The Algebraist, another of Iain M. Banks's sci-fi novels. It is mentioned that humanity - (perhaps just human genetic material) - was transplanted from Earth to a number of nearby worlds in 4051 BC. These humans were raised in an interstellar culture while Earth itself was declared off-limits. Result; by the time Earth discovered interstellar travel, Human Aliens, or aHumans outnumbered the remaining humans or rHumans by an order of magnitude. First Contact was less We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill than What Kept You? As a method of preventing every First Contact boondoggle ever theorized, it worked. It also annihilated all terrestrial human culture.
Encyclopedia Exposita: Prepping. A very long-established practice, used lately by the Culmina amongst others, is to take a few examples of a pre-civilised species from their home world (usually in clonoclastic or embryonic form) and make them subject species/slaves/mercenaries/mentored. So that when the people from their home world finally assume the Galactic stage, they are not the most civilised/advanced of their kind (often they're not even the most numerous grouping of their kind). Species so treated are expected to feel an obligation to their so-called mentors (who will also generally claim to have diverted comets or otherwise prevented catastrophes in the interim, whether they have or not). This practice has been banned in the past when pan-Galactic laws (see Galactic Council) have been upheld but tends to reappear in less civilised times. Practice variously referred to as Prepping, Lifting or Aggressive Mentoring. Local-relevant terminology: aHuman & rHuman (advanced and remainder Human).
  • In Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle, this is because all the humanoid races are spawned by a precursor race from the planet Hain (including the humans of Earth). Despite a common ancestry, they do not all look like us. Some of the differences are subtle: some are shorter, some are hairier, some are green-tinted. Some of the differences are profound enough to qualify as a Human Subspecies, as in the case of a people who are hermaphrodites.
  • In James Patterson's The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, the aliens on Daniel's home world, Alpar Nok, look exactly like humans. The planet even looks like Earth.
  • From the Kadingir series: The Ziti are genetically identical to humans, despite coming from a different world. Many have crossed dimensions into Earth throughout history, so much so that they even have their own government Hidden in Plain Sight posing as a Mega-Corp, the Kadingir Corporation.
  • In the Perry Rhodan universe, the ancestors of the most prominent 'human alien' races of our galaxy actually came from Earth. (Extra irony points for one of those species later coming back and, quite unaware, claiming 'Larsaf III' as a colony of their own for a brief time.) Humanoid life in general seems to have some common ancestors in the distant cosmic past, and can also be partially justified by the fact that Sufficiently Advanced Aliens have been known to meddle in the evolution business as well.
  • Justified in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, whose premise is that The Bible is true: ever since The Creator became a man, the human form became His favorite, so any intelligent beings created after Christ's time will also have human form. So while Mars (which is older than Earth) has several races of sapient non-humans, Venus (which is so new it is still in its "Eden" phase) has green humans.
  • InThe Chronicles of Narnia:
    • God in this series has created earthly animals on other worlds. This results in such things as Bear Aliens and Mouse Aliens.
    • The beavers in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe claim the Witch, Jadis, was descended from Lilith, which just raises further questions. Of course, they aren't exactly experts on Jewish apocrypha.
      • There is also the claim that she is descended from the Djinn on one side of her family, and the Giants on the other, and to have no human blood at all. One of the themes in the books is that being that look like humans but aren't are, invariably, wrong in ways that make them inimical to humans. This is not her true heritage so much as Malicious Slander but Jadis claims to be an Earth human, which is equally untrue.
      • The truth is revealed in The Magician's Nephew that Jadis is the last member of a human looking but nonhuman species from a third world separate from earth and Narnia making her a straight example of this trope. She fled to Narnia because her world was rendered an empty ruin by her magic.
  • The Noon Universe novels of the Strugatsky Brothers feature a lot of Planet of Hats Human Aliens civilizations, though their cultural, technological and historical development is rarely 100 % identical to that of the Terrans. Among the most inventive examples are the people of the planet Saraksh, whose entire philosophical and religious system has been heavily influenced by the immense optical refraction phenomenon present in the atmosphere of their homeworld. From the surface it looks like the horizon is above the observer, which makes the Sarakshans think that they actually live inside a hollow cave in an endless piece of rock, rather than on a round planet floating in space. They call all who claim otherwise "Massaraksh" ("of the world inside-out"), a term which is also an Unusual Euphemism for "insane".
  • Enchantress from the Stars has all the alien civilizations be different types of humans to make it ambiguous which civilization is Earth. The Torisians of its sequel, The Far Side of Evil, are also pretty human.
  • Justified in Sergey Lukyanenko's A Lord from Planet Earth trilogy, where all races in the Milky Way (except humans) have been seeded by a mysterious precursor race. Played straight with Human Aliens from a faraway galaxy.
  • Thomas in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
  • In Sergey Volnov's Army of the Sun trilogy, there are three alien races who are dead ringers for three of the major human "sub-races" (the term used in the books): whites, blacks, and Asians. Nobody knows why that is the case, although there are plenty of other humanoid races. The leading theory is that they have been transplanted to other planets from Earth by Precursors. This theory is partially supported by several ancient records of the "Asian" race that look eerily similar to Ancient Chinese. To top it off, the name of their legendary ancient leader is very similar to "Genghis Khan". In any case, during the centuries of galactic domination of the EarthStella Empire, these three races were shown preferential treatment due to their, at least external, similarity to humans. After the aliens rebelled (justified, as Imperial humans were bastards), they killed off many humans and enslaved many others. Those who survived and were not enslaved are still treated as second-class citizens (if that). As such, most traveling humans tend to pass themselves off as members of one of these human-like races, as aliens have no beef with them.
  • This is the whole point of Zenna Henderson's The People. They may be from another world and have paranormal abilities, but they look exactly like us. (In one story, "Deluge", there's a hint that they may have changed some to match Earth's environment.)
  • The Elyins and the Kin in Geary Gravel's 1984 novel The Alchemists.
  • Parodied in The Star Diaries by Stanisław Lem, where a group of Starfish Aliens living on an extremely hot planet discuss a possibility of an intelligent species living in a lower temperature; the oldest one explains that the existence of such creatures is impossible, and any other sapient species must be exactly like them. While Lem used the trope in comedic works, he criticized its use in serious ones.
  • The people of Ginen in The Shadow Speaker look like black Africans.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels, we meet the Pitar, a race that by chance resembles beautiful, perfect humans (albeit with some slightly odd hair and eye colors in the mix).
  • Played almost completely straight in Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series. While there are some Starfish Aliens and Lizard Folk, most races are of humanoid nature and some are even capable of interbreeding with humans (although this is a rare case). Several are sexually compatible but are not capable of producing offspring together. There is also a race of Space Elves who are specifically referred to as "pseudo-humanoids", as they have 4 sexes and reproduce telepathically. It should be noted that the Lizard Folk still have a basically humanoid shape with the only addition being a tail. However, they are hermaphrodites. The Trevelyan's Mission series, taking place in the same 'verse but much later, introduces other humanoid races, mentioning hundreds of others that have been found in-between the series, most of which are on primitive development levels.
  • In The Clan Chronicles by Julie E. Czerneda, the only way you'd know a mated adult female Clan from a human is because their hair has a mind of its own. Men and unmated women look exactly like humans.
  • In Adaptation by Malinda Lo, the Imria look exactly like humans but have biological differences such as the ability to heal quickly.
  • In Wen Spencer's Ukiah Oregon series most of the Ontongard and Pack are indistinguishable from humans unless they're injured, because they are a virus that took over a human, and they look like their host.
  • In the science fiction novel Nation of the Third Eye by K.K. Savage, there are both "good" and "bad" human aliens. The "good" ones are similiar to the Nordics in UFO lore, while some of the negative aliens used to be human and transformed somewhat as they entered a higher dimension.
  • Archvillain: Mike, although even he doesn't know it, being an Amnesiac Hero. Only Kyle saw him beam down from space. Subverted as of book three: Mike's not an alien, he's an artificial human created by Future!Kyle and sent back to help his past self.
  • The History of the Galaxy features a number of different alien races, including Insectoid Aliens, Starfish Aliens, and even Energy Beings. It does, however, feature two humanoid races: the billion-year-old Emulotti and the 3-million-year-old Harammins (they're blue, though).
  • In Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, Martians are identified by wearing checkerd sweaters and black-and-white polo shoes, but otherwise look like humans. Turns out Alan Mendelsohn, who looks like a normal boy, really is from Mars. Also the Nafsulians Manny, Moe, and Jack, who just look like short men.
  • In Solar Warden, the first alien race to contact the US look like the stereotypical "Nordic aliens": tall, incredibly beautiful, white-haired, with eyes slightly larger than normal. They offer to share their tech in exchange for the US to disarm all their nukes. Naturally, since they show up at the height of the Cold War, Eisenhower refuses. They later turn out to be humans from the distant future (about 11,000 years), who have colonized their past. This makes their concern over nukes understandable: if modern-day humans nuke themselves to extinction, the "Nordics" will disappear as well.
  • The aliens in Young Wizards generally go for a more Humanoid or Starfish design, but the inhabitants of the planet Wellakh such as Roshaun and his family look completely human. At one point Roshaun insists that he's the human and the Earth characters are the humanoids, but it's not made clear if there's an actual relationship or if he's just blustering.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Watery Place": The aliens from Venus were careful to assume human shapes. Unfortunately, this meant the person they chose to meet for First Contact thought they were humans playing around with him, and he was already annoyed from doing his taxes, so he told them to "Get the hell out of here".

  • The music video for Hot Chocolate's "No Doubt About It".
  • Meghan Trainor invokes the trope in "Your Lips are moving" with lines like "I come from outer space", and "I can smell her on your collar"
  • The fictionalised version of Rezz is a young alien from Neptune with the power of hypnosis through music
  • Vitas has been known to invoke this trope in some of his music videos, particularly "Blessed Guru," and his more well known "Seventh Element."

  • Technically, everyone except Flash and Dale in Flash Gordon qualify for this trope.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has several examples, most notably Ford and Zaphod's unnamed species from the Betelgeuse system (the latter's extra head and arm are due to surgery). The only known differences are biological incompatibility with humans and multi-centennial lifespans. This resemblance is explicitly only through human eyes; when the two are with Arthur (a human) other aliens can tell right away that he's a different race and usually assume that he's their pet monkey.
    • The Asgoths of Kria (writers of the second worst poetry in the universe) are also likely to be this way on account of how precise Douglas Adams tends to be with his language - after all, their poet's small intestine throttled his brain in 'a desperate attempt to save humanity'. In the very next episode, Arthur compliments the 'humanity' of a Vogon poem, which Ford hastily corrects into 'Vogonity', decreasing the likelihood that this was a mistake.
    • Possibly Justified by the reveal that Earthmen are a designed species created by aliens... and by the still later reveal that they are in fact descendants of Ancient Astronauts from Golgafrincham.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu. The secretive inhabitants of the subterranean city of K'n-Yan are almost completely indistinguishable from humans.
  • Pathfinder. Humans, or something close enough to be called Human, apparently evolved on three different worlds, Golarion (the main world of the setting), Earth (visited in Reign of Winter), and Androffa ( the source of the spaceship which crashed in Numeria on Golarion millenia ago.)
  • Ankur: Kingdom of the Gods. A scifi rpg based on Sumerian mythology. Ancient Astronauts visit Earth and create humans (and other subspecies) as slaves to mine for gold. The aliens look very similar to us because we share two-thirds their dna.
  • Heroes Unlimited: You can easily create an alien superhero who looks indistinguishable from an ordinary human.

    Video Games 
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation reveals that all the Human Aliens are actually humans, who left Earth long ago voluntarily. The Mysterious Lovecraftian Aliens refer to Earth as the "Land of Beginning", where sentient life first evolved.
  • Galactic Civilizations has a race called the Altarians, who are essentially Humans With Psychic Powers. The Altarians even call the Terrans their "lesser cousins." It's implied in the backstory, however, that the two races might have a common origin.
    • That being said, the game makes it clear they are two separate species, and unlikely to be compatible for reproduction (no one has really tried). Furthermore, everyone in the game notes that the physical similarities between the two species are very strange and seemingly fly in the face of science.
      • Specifically, certain Altarian research options with Dark Avatar notes that a) Altarians and Terrans are two separate species, b) Altarians are more genetically similar to Terrans than they are to any species on their home planet.
    • The resident Precursors, the Arnor, are also noted to look similar (though at the same time they are clearly a separate species) to humans. The only known Arnor still around are the Dread Lords, however, so humanity is rather disturbed by this revelation. It turns out that this is because the Arnor's creator, the Mithrilar Draginol, is himself an ascended time-travelling human. The heavy Arnor presence on early Altaria (as demonstrated in the backstory of the Elemental fantasy spinoff series) is probably significant to that planet's natives' resemblance to humans as well.
  • Star Control II is mostly pretty good about making its aliens different from humans, though there are still a suspiciously large number of bipeds with heads on the top. However, one species, the Syreen, are your typical blue-skinned space babes - and they comment on the perplexing similarity between their species (the big difference being matriarchal rather than patriarchal). They're so close, in fact, that they're apparently sexually compatible, capable of producing fertile offspring. It is implied in the game's rich backstory, however, that it's because a certain other alien species transplanted some ancient Syreen to Earth as part of an extremely long-term experiment.
  • Touhou's Gensokyo is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink inhabited by a variety of mythological creatures that all look quite human, even at their most bizarre. A lot of the youkai themselves could qualify for this trope, but The Lunarians are the closest the humans there are. But then again, they might be merely ascended humans after all, and the ending of Imperishable Night describes them as having aspects of both humans and youkai.
  • Similarly, the Lunarians in Final Fantasy IV don't look too different from humans other than slightly different skin tones and hair colors. They can even interbreed with humans and the two major characters are Half-Lunarian.
  • Final Fantasy X/Final Fantasy X-2: With few exceptions, the Al Bhed are virtually indistinguishable from the other human races on Spira. The only way to recognize them, is by the unique spiral pattern of their irises, which is how Auron confirms his suspicions about Rikku. The game also uses this as a minor plot point, since Wakku hated the Al Bhed, yet failed to realize she was one of them. Yuna herself is half Al Bhed, and is in fact Rikku's cousin.
  • The vast majority of the alien races in Star Ocean are human or Beast Men.
  • The D'ni in the Myst series count, as their ancestors (the Ronay) evolved on a different planet. However, this is further complicated by the fact that that planet was in an Alternate Universe, since the Ronay (and their descendant cultures, D'ni included) invented the use of Linking Books as a means of access to The Multiverse (originally to evacuate their dying homeworld). Up until the Uru spinoff games introduced the (humanoid, but non-human) Bahro species, all sentient inhabitants of D'ni-linked worlds were hardly distinguishable from humans of our universe, suggesting that some part of their linking technology automatically avoids creating links to worlds with non-humanoid inhabitants for some reason.
    • There is some precedent for such an interpretation, even given the Bahro. D'ni law (although not any actual aspect of The Art) required all ages to conform to certain environmental conditions, for safety reasons. Since these conditions fostered the evolution of the human-like D'ni, it stands to reason that they would foster the evolution of biologically similar races, especially if they were sufficiently constrained.
    • This also explains why they look human; D'ni itself is underground on Earth, but is itself a colony from a forgotten homeworld.
  • Going along with Star Wars above, Knights of the Old Republic has several. The Handmaiden (and by extension the entire Echani species) look like humans but with a tendency towards being very pale, sometimes with white hair (they also have the quirk of extreme familial similarity: looking like twins is the norm — so long as the age difference isn't too large — to the point that Handmaiden looking subtly but visibly different from her five sistersnote  is a clear sign she had a different mother). Echani NPCs in the first game look entirely humannote . The Miraluka are also functionally indistinguishable; it's not until they take off their wrappings that they're revealed to be eyeless. (Visas, your Miraluka party member, is never seen unveiled.) Note that many Star Wars species are actually 'near-Humans', meaning that they are descended from Humans but evolved into something else because of long-term genetic isolation. This is because before the Hyperdrive was invented, people traveled around in generation ships or sleeper vessels; some limited interspecies contact occurred, but no organization on the scale of the Republic or Empire was possible. Also, not all isolated Human populations diverged genetically if their new environment was benign enough; for example, the inhabitants of Naboo stayed well within the Human genetic range, but diverged from mainstream humanity culturally. Apparently, Indians are an aberration.
  • While not referred to as aliens, many of the demons from Disgaea fall under this, since we see that they do inhabitant different planets throughout space. In the second one, it's an even a major plot point that Adell is a demon indistinguishable from humans.
  • Escape From St. Mary's: You first think you're looking for a shriveled green man, for your search's actual result turns out more like this.
  • Waka from Ōkami looks very human, yet he's acquainted with Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Eventually, he's revealed to be a survivor from the Moon Tribe
  • Universe at War mostly plays this straight with the Masari, though there are implications that it may be the inverse as the Masari had been "guiding" humanity for at least ten thousand years. Alien humans anyone?
    • There is also Mirabel, who plays it straight (baring similar Masari influence on Novus' creators)
  • If you put it this way, the Kingdom Hearts series resolves around space travel, though all the worlds were originally one. Many of them contain humans (with some exceptions), and the human characters you control can be considered aliens. Though the only one ever called that, indirectly, was Terra, when he was "saved" by Gantu and shown, unconscious, to the Grand Counselwoman.
  • Homeworld has the Hiigarans (consequently their descendants, the Kushan and Kadeshi), Taiidani, Vaygr, apparently the Bentusi and possibly everyone else (given that their ships, once captured, instantly can be fielded against them).
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has the Homs, inhabitants of Bionis. At first they appear to be Humans by Any Other Name, being the only 100% human-like species around, but they have some differences, such as being affected by the presence (or lack thereof) of the local "ether" around them.
  • Body Blows: The second game in the series, Body Blows Galactic, introduced a multitude of extraterrestrial fighters, of which three, named Azona, Kai-Ti, and Lazer, looked exactly like humans. The rest of the newcomers were either beings with a humanoid body shape or other kinds of creatures altogether.
  • Hat Kid from A Hat in Time looks entirely human, but is from space, identifies as non-human in her personal writings, and regards a toy model of a UFO abducting cattle as an offensive stereotype. The only physical proof that she's not a human comes from an X-ray that shows her ponytail has vertebrae-like bones.
  • Possible in Stellaris. Create a custom species and use the human portraits, and voilà, an alien species that look like humans but not named as such, evolved on a planet other than Earth, and have entirely different traits from "standard" humanity altogether.
  • Polaris Sector has the Magellans, who look extremely similar to humans, except for purple skin, vertical pupils, and certain other physiological characteristics. Moreover, humans and Magellans are able to interbreed, even though human-Magellan males are sterile (female hybrids, though, are fully capable of producing offspring). Hybrids tend to take the best of both races: human physical strength and Magellan intelligence. Genetic testing has confirmed that they are, in fact, distinct species, but they do share a 98.735% genetic similarity (that's less than chimps, by the way, who share 99% of our DNA), suggesting a common ancestor in distant past, which seems odd, considering that they have come from the Magellanic Clouds. Magellans are generally slow breeders. While it's common for a female to bear 2-3 children at once, their male-to-female ratio is astoundingly skewed towards females (1 male per 1000 females). They practice neither artificial insemination (against their religion) nor cloning (too much risk of genetic errors). It's not clear why they don't practice polygamy, though, since that would help alleviate the problem.
  • Tamagotchi: Most Tamagotchis avert this by being Humanoid Aliens at most. However, Rolatchi, who is a Tamagotchi version of the Japanese model Rola, actually does look exactly like a human.
  • AlexKidd is a large-eared humanoid alien.
  • DOOM Eternal has the Sentinels, also known as the Argenta, who appear completely identical to humans in almost every way. They had a vast galactic empire millions of years ago and even made a (failed) attempt to form a colony on Mars, though there is no suggestion that they are Advanced Ancient Humans; they are treated just like a completely alien species.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Gargouille, Haqua and Pandagraph are aliens from three different species. All three of them look like humans apart from their exotic eye colours. Haqua’s a particularly odd case, as her father Astaroth is a Rubber-Forehead Alien and they both come from the Andromeda galaxy.

  • Eerie Cuties: Jeffery, the groundskeeper at Charybdis Heights purposely tries to scare humans away and Layla does what she can to scare them off as well. Yet, no one finds it strange that there's a human science teacher working at their school... or is she? The cast page even list Proff. Twiggit's species as "(human?)", suggesting she may not be what she appears.
  • In The End, most aliens are portrayed as being well and truly alien (huge six-eyed birdlike humanoids, Ugly Cute slug-people, etc.) The Ith, however, stand out.
    Henri: Those are Ith? You said they were similar to us.
    Ethma: Are they not?
    Henri: No! They're exactly the same!
  • The Narvans, and the Amazons Tripp & co. encounter in their first attempt to vortex-jump.
  • In Sev Trek, the Enterprise is making First Contact with the Obscuricons. Kirk asks Spock what type of beings they might be. After long speculation on Starfish Aliens types, a human looking alien beams up instead.
    Kirk: What were you saying, Spock?
    Spock: I see; you visited this planet too.
  • The Superman example is parodied in a (SFW) comic by Stjepan Sejic, when Lois Lane and Superman prepare to have sex. It's not shown to us, but apparently Kryptonian males aren't identical to human males everywhere.

    Web Original 
  • Almost all characters in Chaos Fighters are this. The exceptions are Irtial and Muranyl, who are from Earth.
  • In Dad, It's heavily implied that Dad and his family came from space; not only does he mention he used to live under the "Kepler rays" note  and claims that his family is several eons old. He also tells the viewers to "move [their] human limbs" in "Dad Is On", calls his audience "Earthlings" in "Dad Feels Good", and claims to have "left his planet" in "Dad Bod". ACT II PART I shows a younger Dad, in an astronaut suit, laying in the desert. In spite of this, they all look like ordinary humans, and even manage to pass as such while in public.
  • hololive:

    Western Animation 
  • Most episodes of The Backyardigans that take place in outer space have the kids playing characters who live in space but look exactly like them: "Cops and Robots", "Garbage Trek", "Ranch Hands from Outer Space", "Los Galacticos", "Pablor and the Acorns", and "The Big Dipper Diner". Played with, as they are Funny Animals, not humans.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Alan is a Pyronite crossbreed who looks human except for when he's using his powers, and it's revealed that Gwen (and of course Ben by extension) is a Half-Human Hybrid and gets her powers from her alien grandmother (the logical extension is, of course, that anyone without an Omnitrix strapped to their wrist who has powers is an alien or part-alien. The fans have had fun with this).
    • Hex and Charmcaster are humans from an alternate dimension, making them literal Human Aliens.
  • WordGirl is an alien from the planet Lexicon, but looks nothing remotely exotic.
  • Just about everyone in Winx Club are from different planets throughout the Magical Dimension. Technically they're aliens, but other than their ability to do magic, they're exactly the same as humans.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan has the Gallalunans, who seem to blend in with the Earthlings very well. Interestingly, one episode showed they have equivalents to multiple human ethnicity instead of all looking like white people.
  • The GoBots looked completely human before becoming a race of cyborgs. The only two remaining Gobotic humanoids are the Last Engineer and the Master Renegade, who were discovered in suspended animation.
  • Comet Guy in Darkwing Duck is from the planet Mertz, where he and his people all resemble humans instead of anthropomorphic animals.
  • The main character of Star vs. the Forces of Evil looks human, but is from another dimension. The human equivalents mostly live in a kingdom called Mewni, and so are called "mewmans". While Star and her mother are Human Outside, Alien Inside, going through a bizarre form of puberty that eventually makes them Winged Humanoids, this seems to be exclusive to their royal lineage. It eventually turns out they really are humans that wandered from Earth to Mewni but lost their memories in the process.
  • Fangbone!'s eponymous character looks human but is from a dimension called Skullbania. Skullbanians are a Proud Warrior Race look exactly like humans but distinguish themselves from humans in their speech, while also possessing Super Strength (Fangbone can break rocks with his head without flinching).
  • In Futurama, the Harlem Globetrotters are an entire species of genius-intelligence basketball players. Also of note are the Amazonians (muscular women twice as tall as a normal human) and the Vincians (identical to humans but smarter).
  • In Ready Jet Go!, all Bortronians look like humans. This helps the Propulsion family to blend in with the Earthies and keep their alien identity a secret while on Earth.
  • Averted in Young Justice with the Rannians from Adam Strange. Usually they're this trope, but in this continuity, they look more elvish with green-tinted skin.
  • Eternians in general in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are this. The only exception is Adam's mother who is from Earth.
  • The Jammbonians from Jelly Jamm, aside from their brightly-colored skin, look a lot like humans.

  • According to some UFO enthusiasts, New Age religions and alleged contactees some Real Life alien races are human aliens like the Pleiadians, a.k.a. Nordic Aliens.

Aversions and subversions

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Prot in K-PAX explains this by saying that it is the most energy-efficient form to take on Earth. Of course, he may or may not be an alien.
  • In the earlier film which might have inspired the novel, an Argentinian production called Hombre Mirando al Sudeste (Man Looking Southeast), Rantes explains to the doctor that though they came in a ship, he and the others are actually physical projections from a distant, doomed future on another planet, and that they naturally adapt to whatever the observer expects to see. Of course, he may not be an alien, either — though he does have Psychic Powers, and his equally-alien (?) female friend does leak blue liquid from her mouth when excited, and then again, he also claims to be a Messianic Archetype... yeah, it's one hell of a Mind Screw.
  • Subverted with the Ultramen and Ultrawomen of Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Series, and an interesting case given the amount of humanlike alien races encountered by the Ultras over the course of the series! In the lore of the franchise, the Ultras started out looking very much like humans, but after their star died and the Plasma Spark was activated, their species was transformed into the first Ultra Warriors. That being said, most Ultras can 'become' humanlike again via a host or human form, which is vital when operating on planets such as Earth where the atmosphere blocks out the cosmic rays needed to stay at full power.
  • Both the Transformers & the Brave Series have a weird variation on this, wherein there are several planets besides Cybertron/whatever planet the heroes come from that are inhabited by intelligent Transforming Mecha. Sometimes explained as being colonies of the main characters' race, sometimes not. While it may be reasonable to assume that a sufficiently advanced civilization would discard their weak organic bodies for more durable mechanical ones, the whole transforming thing is pushing it. The weirdest example being the Japanese Beast Wars II series, where there is a planet of highly evolved Funny Animal-like aliens who have developed to the point of Trans-funnyanimalism, where they have upgraded themselves with cybernetics. This allows them to turn into humanoid robot forms that look uncannily like the Maximals & Predacons, despite having no prior contact with them, for no apparent reason other than Rule of Cool.
  • Mostly averted in the Star Wars series. It does feature a few human-looking (possibly) aliens. In some cases those may just be human colonies. It also features plenty of Rubber-Forehead Aliens. The long history of humanity in the Star Wars galaxy allows for the possibility of so-called "near-human" races that are evolutionary descendants of mainstream humanity, but which have evolved to adapt to different planetary environments. Then there are also many species that are very non-human-looking. It's a richly diverse galaxy.
  • Subverted in Galaxy Quest, as the aliens initially appear human, but are using technology to change their appearance because their true form is... unsettling.
  • Subverted in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008); Klaatu's human form is implied to have been grown inside his initial containment suit to allow him to be compatible with the Earth's environment. The opening shows a genetic sample being taken from a man (also played by Keanu Reeves), implying that Klaatu's earth form is a clone of that man.
  • In Lifeforce, when the astronauts explore the vampire spaceship they are astonished to discover a humanoid crew in stasis pods. Subverted when it's discovered that they're actually shapeshifting monsters who assumed human form to more easily find and seduce human victims to snack on their Life Energy. Their real form is some sort of extraterrestrial, winged bat creature.

  • Averted in the novel Quest by Andreas Eschbach, when it is explained that: 1.All human races originated on earth and just evolved differently due to different environments. 2.All of the galaxy's life originated on one planet and cells of it have been spread by comets.
  • Averted in the novel Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday (a prequel to the film), where Starscream claims that any sufficiently advanced race would naturally build machines that were similar to Cybertronians, as the Decepticons believe that they are the most perfect lifeforms in the galaxy. However, he also may have been simply trying to explain away the fact that the human spaceship Ghost 1 seemed to be built using Cybertronian technology (i.e. that Megatron, the Decepticons' true leader, has been found).
  • Conspicuously and consciously avoided in Wayne D. Barlowe's illustrated sci-fi novel Expedition. Barlowe, a noted fantastic fiction illustrator who darn well knows his biology, openly despises this trope and so he invented an alien race who is very like humankind in their attitude and culture - but they look a bit like a cross between a hot air balloon and an airborne octopus.
  • In Larry Niven's Ringworld series, and the prequel, Protector, there are various humanoid races who all turn out to be descended from the Pak, the same race of Precursors who are the ancestors of Earth humans.
  • The Martians and Venusians of S.M. Stirling's The Lords of Creation novels look human because they are (more or less); the eponymous beings, in prehistoric times, Terraformed Mars and Venus and seeded them with Earth life (repeating the process several times, so that on Venus you have humans sharing the planet with dinosaurs and mammalian megafauna).
  • The aliens in Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land consider themselves the humans, and the Earthlings merely 'proto-humans'. Given their superior senses, telepathic ability, superior physiques, and superlative hygiene, they're probably right. However, they themselves originated on Earth, about twenty thousand years ago.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a subversion in the book version with Trillian. When she's introduced, she's built up to be one of these. She's from Earth. There's also a Running Gag that Ford Prefect looks exactly like a human to humans, but to other aliens the species are different enough that his human friend Arthur Dent is repeatedly mistaken for his pet monkey. Golgafrinchans are so close to humans that their colony displacing the cavemen in 2 million BC went unnoticed, even by the higher-dimension beings running the planet.
  • In the Young Wizards series, two of the four alien species involved in the wizardly cultural exchange program look human. And there's a guest appearance by a Time Lord. A few of the Mooks are Rubber-Forehead Aliens. All the rest of the aliens are definetly not human, with a few of them being Starfish Aliens.
    • An inversion as well as Roahaun, the human alien staying at the Callahan house states that he is actually the human and the humans are humanoids.
  • Some of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels have the Doctor come across as mildly not-so-human, to generally creepy effect. Anji seems to be particularly prone to noticing this. In one scene, when he does strike her as a convincing human, she considers him "a fake" and refers to him as "the alien" and "it" before she remembers he is, after all, her friend and a nice guy. In another scene, they'd have really run up the special effects budget if it were TV, just to make people go "Ewwww" at the protagonist:
    In Hugo’s arms, the Doctor hung bonelessly limp, as if he might suddenly flow to the floor in a puddle. Anji had never seen a human body sag like that; no human being had that sort of muscular-skeletal frame. For a frightened instant, she felt more kinship with the man with no limbsnote  than she did with the Doctor.
  • Played with in the Sector General series. Sure, they have one species of Human Alien, but they have seventy species total, so that is to be expected eventually. There are also species which look nothing like humans but look a lot like each other, inverting the trope. On a more interesting note, every species' language uses a word equivalent to "human" as the species' name for itself, meaning actual Homo sapiens have to specify "Earth-human" (or their body shape and chemistry classification DBDG, which they share with at least two species of Rubber-Forehead Aliens).
  • Animorphs pointedly averts this trope. The most humanoid alien ever mentioned in the series is a species of amphibious monkey. Also, the Hork-Bajir feature basically the same head/two arms/two legs body shape, but otherwise go even beyond Rubber-Forehead Aliens (in fact, they more closely resemble dinosaurs). The torsos of Andalites look fairly humanoid, and the head has a Rubber-Forehead Alien quality to it, but otherwise they are very different (having a basic body structure like a Centaur). Aside from those three, none of the alien races/species portrayed or mentioned in the books look anything even remotely human. Some of them even stray into Starfish Aliens territory. Elfangor reflects that humans are the only bipedal species he's ever seen or heard of that can balance without a tail.
    • Played straight with the Inspector. He is a Yeerk Controller whose host body looks exactly like an Andalite, except it has no tail blade, and moves extremely quickly.
    • In one book, Aximili lampshades the trope, complaining that Star Trek aliens are completely unrealistic and make no sense. He's particularly confused by Worf (they apparently saw Star Trek: Generations), whom he says resembles an Ongachic female.
  • Discussed and Averted in H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. The narrator, as well as most others present when the Martians first emerged from their vessel, expected to see "a man", or something near like it, not the Tentacled Terror they got.
  • In Many Waters, Sandy and Dennys spend the first 100 or so pages assuming that they've been teleported to a desert planet with inhabitants who look exactly like Ambiguously Brown humans, save that they're only about four feet tall. Eventually they realize that they're still on Earth, but shortly before the Biblical flood.

  • Parodied in the Captain Kremmen radio spoof, when Kremmen first encounters the Thargoids.
    Kremmen: Except for their large transparent heads, three lips and sixteen nostrils, they looked just like you or I!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Subverted in CthulhuTech. The Nazzadi look like Rubber-Forehead Aliens, but that is because they are actually genetically engineered from humans by the very alien Migou.
  • Traveller Role-Playing Game both uses and subverts this; there are humans and humanoids spread by mysterious Precursors, and there are Starfish Aliens, some of them very alien.
  • Eldar from Warhammer 40,000 look like humans with pointed ears and angular features in art. However, it's made clear in descriptions that no-one would ever make that mistake in-universe due to the weird boneless way they move, their fingers being compared to writhing worms.

    Video Games 
  • Dead Space has an ironic subversion, since all the Necromorphs are made from human corpses and several of them look pretty damn close to a plain old human. In the third game, the remains of an alien civilization are discovered (along with some leftover Necromorphs from their civilization), and while they were humanoid, they didn't look remotely similar to humans at all. And that's not even getting into the Brethren Moons, the creators of the Necromorphs, who are closer to an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Ascendancy not only does not have Human Aliens, it doesn't even have humans. All aliens in the game are Starfish Aliens. The most recognizable are the Chamachies, being a race of Lizard Folk with chameleon (i.e. turreted) eyes. Then there's a race whose people are made up mostly of a giant eyeball (unsurprisingly, they're called Oculons).
  • The Last Federation, like Ascendancy above, does not have humans in it. Player character is a hydra looking alien, one alien race is a bug species, one looks like The Greys, two are robots, one we do not get a good look at all and one looks like a barn owl. The last one looks humanoid, but is red, seems to have a carapace and lacks visible mouth.
  • Schizm: Mysterious Journey, being an FMV game, shows the people of Argilus as mostly speaking in their native language and bearing a triangular marking on their foreheads to show signs of not being human.
  • The X-COM series have aliens that attempt to blend in with humans. The Snakemen in the original are...unconvincing, but the thin men are nearly perfect, and wear clothing specifically to cover the areas that don't look human (Specifically, their wrists and neck are greenish, and their eyes are clearly not human).
  • Assassin's Creed has the Isu, a race of god-like beings that created advanced pieces of technology known as the Pieces of Eden. However, they are native to Earth and can interbreed with humans, but as revealed in Unity, they had triple helix DNA which made them a related but distinct species from their creations.
  • In Earth Defense Force 5, the Colonist alien enemies are described as looking "almost exactly like humans", even though they clearly don't: they are building-sized Frog Men.
  • Warframe has the Grineer, Tenno, and Corpus, all of whom are humans with minute differences, but with a subverted variant of the Transplaneted Humans justification, being that they all originated from actual humans long after our multi-planet civilization collapsed; genetically engineered slave races made by the now fallen solar-system spanning empire of the Orokin; the original humans. In fact, most of the scifi elements in universe are the result of the actions of interstellar humans. Even the Body Horror inducing zombie parasite Infested, breathable atmospheres on planets like Mars and Venus, and the Starfish Aliens from another solar system that are the Sentients are human creations. Everything in the setting originated from earth.

  • Alien Dice has numerous examples of aliens who look similar to humans but with subtle differences, such as exotic Hair Colors or Cute Little Fangs. It also has a rather interesting subversion when it is revealed that the reason that the blueskinned Rishan look human is because they are human, having been created using genetic material taken from Earth humans generations ago.
  • El Goonish Shive. Aliens and magical beings get around by wearing T-shirts that say "Human" or some such. (One person notices that his coworker is an alien. Her denying it is enough to convince the others, and she and this coworker wind up sending silly notes back and forth to each other about it.) Of course, Uryuoms being natural shapeshifters and the creators of Transformation Ray technology, they could hide by simply becoming human. Of course, that wouldn't be funny.
    • Two of them hire Ted (seen in a flashback) to design human forms for them, and provide the technology for it - apparently there are legal/political/religious reasons why they can't do it themselves (because it requires the use of object-oriented programming), rather than an inability to do it themselves. Also, once they've been raygunned into humans, they can (implied) shift back and forth freely.
    • It gets better. Uryuoms don't consider themselves actual aliens—as one of the pair who hired Tedd said, he's a natural-born American! Hence the above argument—the other characters knew she wasn't human, but she's not alien. Wonderful thing, jus soli, eh?
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Except for the cameo crossovers with Melonpool, Zortic, and Zeera the Space Pirate, all aliens depicted have been nonhumanoid in their true forms—although the Nemesites will typically disguise themselves as humans when dealing with Earthlings.
  • The Darnathi in Isla Aukate modified themselves to look human in preparation for an infiltration-type invasion, their natural forms are more reptilian/amphibian. Unfortunately they crashed on an island populated by mythical creatures, so they kind of stand out.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted For Laughs in Invader Zim. Zim's species, the Irkens, are Humanoid Aliens at best, with solid-color eyes, green skin, antennae, and no nose or ears. But with a minimum of effort, nobody notices except for Dib.
  • Captain Crandall of Teamo Supremo claims to be from another planet, despite the fact that he looks too much like his "Earth-mom" to possibly not be her child.
  • Subverted in Monster Buster Club; Cathy seems like a Human Alien at first glance... but various lines indicate that this is just a human disguise like we see on other aliens in the series, and her true form hews closer to the Starfish Aliens trope.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series uses human aliens only for legacy species, illusion casters, and shapechangers. Otherwise, the aliens in the series are very alien indeed, taking full advantage of animation not requiring costly prosthetics or puppetry.
  • Mostly averted in Men in Black with its Starfish Aliens, albeit some examples do exist including Jeeb’s unnamed species (identical to humans save for being green inside and be indestructible) and Aileen’s unnamed species (very similar to humans save for the dark blue skin and the tentacle-like retractile fingers).
  • Darkwing Duck contains a planet called Mertz occupied by superpowered Homo sapiens. However, since Earth in this universe is occupied only by anthropomorphic animals, a visitor from that planet strikes Darkwing as a "bizarre-looking alien monstrosity."
  • The Bortronians from Ready Jet Go! look like red-haired humans and can catch and fight off human diseases normally, implying their biology is similar as well.
  • The SpacePOP girls are mostly human except for pointed ears and colorful skin, and Chamberlin and Captain Hansome look extremely human. While Geela has a more alien design, she also counts compared to other aliens who are clearly nonhuman.
  • The Alteans in Voltron: Legendary Defender appear mostly human, though have a few differences, such as pointy elf ears, small marks of color next to their eyes, and sometimes white hair.

  • Some conspiracy theorists believe that an alien/extradimensional evil race called the Reptilians take human appearance.

Alternative Title(s): Human Alien


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