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Dr. Joffries had the equipment at CHESAPEAKE to do something that would have come very naturally to any researcher: he could sequence the worm's DNA. Shortly after receiving the results from the DNA sequencing he sent a very short email to his colleague and EFRE head Dr. Paul Two-Horses.
"Paul, it's us."

These are cases where a strange or fantastic creature eventually turns out to actually be a member of Homo sapiens — a human being — or a human subspecies.

Since humans make up the majority of fictional characters, and being a human isn't (normally) regarded as a strange character attribute, this is often used as an inversion of traditional reveal tropes (such as Not Even Human).

Often, the humans initially appear inhuman because of a Forced Transformation, or because of being some form of transhuman. Compare Actually Not a Vampire (though not all instances of Actually Not a Vampire are human; they're just not vampires), Mistaken for Aliens, and Unrobotic Reveal. The opposite of Human Alien Discovery. A subtrope of Was Once a Man, where an individual monsters turns out to be human.

Not to be confused with Daft Punk's third album, Human After All.

As this is a form of The Reveal, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The titular Titans from Attack on Titan. All were members of the Eldian race, a group of humans that possess a unique trait allowing them to be transformed into a Titan. What makes this discovery even more horrifying are the revelations that the characters are themselves Eldians and that all the Titans they've been fighting are poor souls that were transformed as punishment by an oppressive enemy nation.
  • In Berserk, it turns out that the demons are all former humans who reached a Despair Event Horizon and made a Deal with the Devil. In the apocryphal "lost chapter" of the manga, it is revealed that the "devil" in question is a godlike being born of humanity's collective unconscious, so we can't even blame it on demonic interference.
  • Yoruichi of Bleach appears to be a Talking Animal but is actually a human (soul) disguised as such.
  • In Claymore, the youma turn out to be humans infested with parasites born from the flesh of the Descendants of Dragons.
  • The DRAGONs in Cross Ange are revealed to actually be humans who underwent extensive genetic modification in order to survive in a wartorn Earth's ecosystem.
  • In Eureka Seven, Anemone's appearance and role (and possibly her name) seem to imply that she is a Coralian. It turns out she's just a human whose appearance and abilities have been modified by horrible military experiments.
  • Fabricant 100: Ashibi was prepared to take down Roxy assuming she's a Fabricant. She's only an accomplice, and Mortsafe knew about it, but wanted him to experience facing human enemies and how Fabricants treat them. Her not having stitches is an early hint.
  • In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, the Hideauze/"whale-squids" aren't aliens, they're humans who used genetic engineering to survive the coming Ice Age, with some of them traveling into space along with the proto-Galactic Alliance. Whether or not this still "counts" as human is an ethical debate that the characters engage in.
  • This is the basis of Interviews with Monster Girls, when monsters of the folklore were found to be just mutant humans some time before Present Day.
  • The Jovian lizards in Martian Successor Nadesico turn out to be humans.
  • The UE from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE are actually members of Vagan, a human nation formed by colonists who were abandoned by the Earth Federal Forces 150 years before the start of the series.
  • The final episode of Odd Taxi confirms that the characters are not actually animals. They are just shown that way to the audience because the main character is suffering from a brain injury that makes him see people as animals.
  • In One Piece, it turns out that the living toys in the Dressrosa Kingdom were actually human before the Donquixote Family transformed them.
  • Takeshi Hirokawa from Parasyte actually turns out to be a normal human who is leading the parasite colony in East Fukuyama City, using his power as mayor to help them to kill and feed undetected. He is an extreme misanthrope who believes that humans need a predator to cut them down for the harm they've done to the environment.
  • Witches from Puella Magi Madoka Magica are terrible-looking surreal beings who rouse death and destruction... and they are the final form of Magical Girls. Oh shi...

    Comic Books 
  • The title character of Pug Davis looks like a pug Beast Man wearing a spacesuit. He turns out to be a human who was in a horrible spaceship accident: his head minus the brain was replaced with that of a(n inexplicably oversized) pug, while much of the rest of his body above the waist (including both arms) are prosthetics.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Anthropology: Lyra. Princess Celestia turned her into a pony to hide her true identity, which explains her obsession with humans.
  • Five Score, Divided by Four: Inverted. It turns out that the reason why some humans turned into ponies is because they were ponies all along.
  • Left Beyond: True of both Dwarves and Angels — both come about as a mutation upon the human genome, aided by Narrative Causality (accidentally in the first case, by Yahweh's hand in the second). By the time of the Last Battle, and in the Tripocalypse continuity, allografts are common and available enough that the furry subculture has quietly died down due to having become nothing special.
  • In the Pony POV Series, it's revealed that the Changelings aren't a separate species, but a lost tribe of ponies descended from the Flutterponies. Even the Changelings themselves were unaware of this.

    Film — Animated 
  • Kenai from Brother Bear would be this at the end of the movie if one was to view the movie's plot as being told from Koda's perspective.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Animal Planet has the gang visiting a World of Funny Animals whose animal denizens speak of legendary demons known as the Nimuge; savage demons from another planet who terrorized their ancestors until the god of animals assists an exodus from the Nimuge's world to an uninhabited new planet several millennia ago, allowing the animals to evolve and develop. The Nimuge turns out to be humans, who had destroyed their home planet with nuclear weaponry, with the "god" spoken from the animal folk being a good human scientist that believe the animals still have a chance, thereby using his gadgets to allow a mass evacuation of animals.
  • In Rock-A-Doodle, Edmond was a Forced Transformation victim who had been turned into a kitten, but none of the animals really believed him until he turned back into a human at the end of the movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The 13th Warrior, the protagonist gains some courage in battle when he discovers that the Vikings' monstrous foes the Wendol are just men dressed up in bearskins. Later in the film, he and the rest of the band stumble upon a cave filled with the skulls of the Wendols' many victims. He says he was wrong earlier, and claims that the Wendols are not men.
  • The Asylum's Alien Vs Hunter ends with the Predator Pastiche boarding his ship removing his helmet and revealing himself to be human. He makes a video call back to Earth, showing that he was hunting Human Aliens on another planet all along.
  • One of the twists in Pandorum is that the creepy alien mutant cannibals are descended from humans who've evolved to survive in a foodless spaceship over a thousand years. It helped that their ancestors were dosed with a treatment that caused accelerated evolution.
  • The Big Bad of Star Trek Beyond turns out not to be an alien, but a human officer from Earth's pre-Federation military who found alien Lost Technology that mutated him, extended his lifespan, and gave him control of an army of automatons.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The Wizard of Oz seems to be some sort of smoking, magical behemoth, but he turns out to just be an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain, operating a machine.

  • In Dragonback, the long-lost original hosts of the K'da were called the Dhghem. Turns out that's actually "Human" in a really old language.
  • In Girl: "Who are you?" Alien: "Er, I'm an alien.", this is inverted with the girl, who's technically the real alien by our standards. However, this is played straight with the alien, who's actually a human in a distant future where humanity has developed drastically, and can now explore space.
  • Happens occasionally in the Land of Oz series:
    • In Rinkitink in Oz, King Rinkitink's talking goat steed is revealed to have been a Forced Transformation victim that was previously a prince.
    • In Kabumpo in Oz, the living doll Peg Amy is revealed to have been the lost princess of Sun Top Mountain, and the princess that the protagonist was supposed to marry to release his kingdom from a spell.
  • In the Alastair Reynolds short story "Merlin's Gun", the Absolute Xenophobe fleets that swarmed out from Dyson Spheres near the galactic core millennia ago and have since then been eradicating every human ship and colony they come across are revealed to be human, albeit heavily modified with cybernetics.
  • The koloss and kandra from Mistborn both turned out to be transformed humans.
  • Played With in My Best Friend is Invisible. The "best friend" is human. The other characters aren't.
  • In Pact, Rose Thorburn is introduced as a vestige of Blake Thorburn, her Distaff Counterpart, a version of himself who was created artificially, lives, in mirrors, and is doomed by her nature to slow decay. It's later revealed that It's Blake, not Rose, that's the vestige-he's a bogeyman loaded with Fake Memories to make him think that he's human, and Rose is the real human of the pair. And then it turns out that neither is more 'real' than the other. Blake and Rose are the soul fragments of the real Thorburn heir who was split apart by The Barber.
  • The monster from The Relic is actually the missing scientist from the prologue, mutated beyond all recognition.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: In The Hobbit, Gollum is described as a strange and nasty creature of undefined origins. In The Lord of the Rings, we get to know he's in fact a hobbit whose appearance and personality were twisted by centuries of exposure to the One Ring.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The series 3 finale ("Utopia"/"The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords") has two examples:
    • The Toclafane who appear in the latter two episodes were the last surviving humans from the first episode, who turned themselves into Psychopathic Manchild Cyborgs to escape the universe's final collapse.
    • The Face of Boe is actually a human after eons of Age Without Youth, specifically Captain Jack Harkness. (Probably.)
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it's rather Elves all along. The Orcs led by Adar are former Elves from the lost subcontinent of Beleriand, enslaved and experimented by Morgoth.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Realm of Fear", transporter-phobic character Barclay, when forced to travel via the transporter, sees some strange virus-like creatures in the matter stream. After suffering greatly due to his fears, he eventually figures out that those strange beings are actually humans, stuck in the pattern buffer.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Invaders", a woman is getting unpleasant visits from tiny alien invaders. But those people turn out to actually be human beings from Earth: the woman's world is the alien planet, and she is a humanoid alien giant.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002): In "Hunted", a group of soldiers were hunting down a monster known as the Kreetor. Turns out that the Kreetor is a human being, and the people we thought were humans are actually robots. We also initially assume that "Kreetor" is a linguistic devolution of "Creature". Turns out it was actually from the word "Creator".

    Video Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order: Throughout the Camelot story chapter, Chaldea has been fighting alongside Sir Bedivere, the only Servant among the Knights of the Round Table to defy the orders of Altria, who in this singularity has evolved into a Divine Spirit as the result of overusing her holy lance. However, Bedivere possesses several abilities that he never had in myth, such as the shining silver artifical arm Airgetlam, which originally belonged to the Celtic god Nuada. At the very end, Bedivere approaches Altria and reveals that his arm was actually a disguised Excalibur. At the same time, the members of Chaldea discover that Bedivere was never a Servant in the first place; he came from an alternate timeline where he failed to throw Excalibur into the lake upon his king's death, and he was so haunted by it that he spent the next 1500 years (thanks to Excalibur prolonging his life) trying to track down her spirit and return it to her. But after all that time, his soul was strained to the breaking point, and every use of his Noble Phantasm made it worse, so that when he returned the sword, his life ended on the spot and his soul underwent a Cessation of Existence. Despite this, the Throne of Heroes made a record of his journey and turned him into a Heroic Spirit, then allowed him to be reunited with Chaldea as a proper Servant.
  • Haunt the House: Inverted. The Pharaoh ghost in Terrortown looks like he was just as human in life as the other ghosts, but because he's initially trapped in a sarcophagus, we don't see what he looks like until he becomes a ghost... until we see the family photo at the end, which reveals that he was actually a cat.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link grew up among the elf-like Kokiri and was believed by himself and the Kokiri themselves to be one of them, but eventually learns that he is a member of the human Hylian race.
  • A subdued version appears in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: all of the enemies Raiden fights throughout the game are cyborgs who, like himself, are practically entirely mechanical except for their brain. When he finally defeats Jetstream Sam, however, he discovers that his rival had virtually no cybernetic enhancements whatsoever. This is particularly prominent in the Japanese version of the game, where cyborgs bleed white artificial blood, but Sam bled red.
  • This is the big twist behind the Shades in NieR, though the backstory for it is rather complicated. The events of Drakengard's weirdest ending introduced a Mystical Plague to Earth that forced humans to separate their souls from their bodies and store them until an army of Artificial Humans cleaned up the planet. Unfortunately, these Replicants developed sentience, forgot their origins after completing their mission, and built their own civilization in the world's ruins. By the time of the game, the Replicants are slowly dying out due to complications like the Black Scrawl disease, while the humans' Shades have started going insane without their bodies, with many devolving into ravening shadow monsters. There was a plan to put things right and reunite the Shades with their Replicants, but by the end of the game, Nier kind of kills it.
  • In the end of Phantasy Star II, the creators of Mother Brain are revealed to be an alien race who were planning to conquer the planets of the Algol system. Their homeworld? Earth.

  • "Tengu" of El Goonish Shive is an eight-foot-tall flying monster. Diane refuses to use pronouns other than "it" to refer to him, but Nanase insists that "him" is the correct pronoun, not out of respect, but because he's a human abusing his magic powers.

    Western Animation 
  • In the pilot episode of Bonkers, Lucky gets into a scuffle with the defeated Toon villain named the Collector and pulls off one of his gloves, revealing that he has five fingers. Since Toons in this series all have Four-Fingered Hands, this clues in everyone — including the Collector's own unaware Toon henchmen — that he is not a Toon. Lucky pulls off his mask, revealing that the Collector is indeed human. Disturbingly enough, the Collector keeps insisting that he's a Toon afterward.
  • The protagonists of Code Lyoko, including Aelita herself, spent the first two seasons thinking that she was an AI, but the end of the second season reveals that she's not only human, but the daughter of Franz Hopper, the creator of Lyoko.
  • Futurama: Leela is a cyclops woman who claims to be an alien and has been trying for years to find her home planet, but she's wrong. She is actually a mutant born from mutated human sewer dwellers on Earth, who gave her up and attached an adoption letter written in alien language as a way to give her a better life.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, Beatrice only reveals halfway through the series that she's a human transformed into a bluebird, and that the reason she's going to Adelaide is to turn herself and her family back.
  • The second season of The Owl House reveals that Emperor Belos, a powerful witch who rules over the Boiling Isles with an iron fist, is actually Philip Wittebane, a human witch hunter from 17th-century Earth. Subverted with The Golden Guard/Hunter, as he's more or less of an Artificial Human who was modeled after Philip's brother to resemble a typical witch.
  • With the occasional exception, pretty much every last Scooby-Doo villain is actually a human criminal pretending to be a monster or supernatural creature — and they would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
  • Near the end of the final season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, it's discovered that the original Mewman settlers were actually humans that came to Mewni from Earth, traveling through the Realm of Magic. Since the Realm of Magic causes amnesia, they forgot their origins, and when Glossaryck came to them and gave the Magic Wand to the woman who would become the first queen of the Butterfly dynasty, he called them Mewmans.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) has two examples:
    • The green creature that plays a prominent role in a Breather Episode from season 1 later turns out to be a human, mutated by Ancient Astronauts known as the Y'Lyntians.
    • T9581 from "Dragon's Brew" is revealed at the end to be a former marine, who Agent Bishop turned into a monster as part of his experiments.
  • Dr. Victor Falco of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) says that his partner, with whom he was experimenting with mutagen and psychic powers on a chimpanzee, was captured by the Kraang. He's lying: Falco actually forcibly experimented on his partner and mutated his partner into said chimpanzee. The poor guy took a couple of seasons to get his intelligence back, and still looks like a chimp.