A character who is a species unto themself, the Sole Survivor of some calamity that has wiped out their entire civilization. If this civilization used to be important in the power balance between civilizations that still remain, it's now considered missing.
This might mean that they're the last survivor of a particular society or secret order, but for full effect they are actually the last of an entire civilization, or even biological species.
Such a character is liable to manifest some profound Survivor Guilt, and the prospect of avenging their kind may develop into an obsession that acts as an Achilles' Heel. It will also provide an excuse for them to be substantially different (read: "better") in skill, abilities, or morality than the rest of the characters. However, the writers still need to be careful as to how they construct this Survivor Guilt: owing to Angst Dissonance, even something as traumatic as this can still degenerate into Wangst if the character seems determined not to get over it and eventually move on, or if the character's pain is written in an unconvincing fashion.
Since this kind of loneliness is the sort of thing that could easily drive you mad, evil versions are about as common as good ones, particularly of the Straw Nihilist strain. In general, being the last of one's kind is a polarizing experience: the only folks who tend to survive the death of their species are either the very best examples, or the very worst. The evil version will often carry a thematic notion that their very existence is an affront to the natural order, as they "ought" to have died with the rest of their kind, and it's rather rude of them to keep hanging on to life well past their time. Some really evil versions might even be responsible for the deaths of the rest of their race in a way (see Lobo below), as may The Atoner every once in a blue moon (see Tetrax, further below). Not-quite-as-evil versions may have survived because of some evil act such as cowardice, betraying their race to the enemy, being exiled for crimes, or morally questionable ways of prolonging their lives. In either case, if it was an engineered genocide, it just backfired. Or, the "last of his kind" character could be evil just because the "kind" itself is Always Chaotic Evil.
Very often, at least for the heroic sort, it will eventually be revealed that There Is Another.
It is fairly uncommon for such a character to be the lead character, even if they are an important member of the regular cast. Perhaps that level of isolation is just too much for the audience to really wrap their minds around — with most characters who are cut off from their own kind, there is at least the prospect of an eventual reunion. This character lacks even that prospect. However, a common Aesop (for the heroic ones at least) they learn is that, even if their race is gone, they aren't truly alone, having people with them who still love and care for them.
Compare End of an Age, Fling a Light into the Future, Humanity's Wake, Uniqueness Value, Genocide Survivor, and Living Relic. Genocide Backfire and Genocide from the Inside can both cause this trope. Endangered Species and Dying Race are not as extreme versions, although they may lead to this eventually. Sometimes paired with The Aloner for truly horrifying angst. Occasionally Played for Drama or Played for Laughs with Only You Can Repopulate My Race. Occasionally the Last Of His Kind is of a previously extant Barbarian Tribe of some kind. If There Is Another, see Adam and Eve Plot. The Collector likely wants to put him in their Fantastic Nature Reserve.
Contrast with Monster Progenitor and The Chosen Many. Compare Racial Remnant. Overlaps with Single Specimen Species. If this is taking place in an After the End setting or such, don't be surprised if The Last Man Hears a Knock.
When adding Real Life examples, please only list the last recorded individuals of non-human organisms.
- Anime & Manga
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- Live-Action TV
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- Western Animation
- Bloom County: Rosebud is the last remaining basselope, a crossbreed of a basset hound and an antelope. (The others died out due to high blood pressure from clogged arteries because they were fond of Pop Tarts and ate them with too much butter.) In a later storyline, she and Hodge Podge sire a litter of young, but seeing as Hodge is a jackrabbit (which is clearly defying the laws of nature again), the young are referred to as "jack-basselopes" leaving Rosebud still the only true basselope.
- The Far Side: A couple of strips play with this: a dinosaur stands alone among a bunch of caves all labelled "extinct" ("Suddenly Bobby felt very alone") while The Last of the Mohicans fruitlessly calls out for his fellow tribesmen. ("OK fellas, joke's over!")
- The Sea Hag, Popeye's arch nemesis, is the last witch on Earth.
- Lone Wolf: The titular character is the last surviving Kai Lord after the Darklords massacred the rest of the order at their monastery. He would later repay the favour through the genocide of the Darklords and rebuilding the Kai Order to the point where it has five Grand Masters. Becoming the first Kai Supreme Master is just a nice bonus.
- "Last Man On Earth" by Mike Candys is a song about the last man who decides to leave earth in a spaceship to start a new life.
- "Last of My Kind" by Alice in Chains
- "The last Unicorn" By America.
When the last eagle fliesOver the last crumbling mountainAnd the last lion roarsAt the last dusty fountainIn the shadow of the forestThough she may be old and wornThey will stare unbelievingAt the Last Unicorn
- "Sole Survivor" by Blue ÷yster Cult is about the sole surviving human on earth after an unspecified apocalyptic event.
There walked a lonely man,Silent, mute, the only manNot knowing how, not knowing whyWas he the sole survivor
- "The Last of Our Kind", Rykka's song for Switzerland in the 2016 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- "Last of the Steampowered Trains" by The Kinks from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society:
"I'm the last of the good old renegades.
All my friends are all middle class and grey,
But I live in a museum, so I'm okay.
I'm the last of the good old fashioned steam-powered trains.
Like the last of the good ol' choo-choo trains,
Huff and puff 'till I blow this world away,
And I'm gonna keep on rollin' till my dying day."
- "Deuteronomy 2:10" by the Mountain Goats, is about the Last Tasmanian Tiger, the Last Dodo, and the Last Golden Toad.
No brothers left, and there'll be no more after me.
- "The Last Leviathan" by The Fisherman's Friends is about The Last Whale.
Last night I heard the cry. of my last companion.Then came a blast from a harpoon gun,and I swam alone.
- Nautilus Pompilius: The main character of the song "The Last Human on Earth" is the one. He is surrounded by some foes, but that foes are, apperantly, not humans (either literally ó or they just so cruel they can't be called "humans" anymore).
- "Viimeinen Mammutti" by Hevisaurus. The title translates to "The Last Mammoth," and the lyrics heavily imply that the titular mammoth is going to sleep for the last time and looking forward to being with the other mammoths again.
- Kevin Von Erich: He became the last of the Von Erich brothers in the early 90s, after five of the six Von Erich brothers died young.
- Memphis was the last of the traditional wrestling territories to still function as an independent entity, unaffiliated with WWE or WCW. Financial woes and a lack of marketable talent caused the USWA (a merger of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett's CWA and Fritz Von Erich's WCCW) to fold in 1997. USWA's successor, Memphis Championship Wrestling, was conceived as a WWE developmental territory, like Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). The last pre-Monday Night Wars territory to be established was Jim Cornette's SMW in 1991.
- Ric Flair was the last World Champion of the classic NWA territory system. When Flair first won the belt in 1981, his schedule was set by a national Board of Directors who split his time among several regional promotions, including overseas trips to promotions in Japan, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. This was the business model that professional wrestling had followed since 1948. During Flair's time as champion, that system broke down, and by the time Flair left that title behind in 1991, he was an exclusive employee of WCW.
- The Undertaker picked up the nickname "The Last Outlaw"note during a feud with Triple H and later promos played up his status as one of the last remnants of the 1980s era high-concept comic-book-style gimmicks. (Really, the only other one is his storyline half-brother Kane.) If you want to get technical, it's really Kane who's left from that era, because 'Taker can no longer wrestle on a regular basis, so much so that his appearances in recent years have only been during the lead-up to WrestleMania and the actual pay-per-view itself.
- In 1997, Bret Hart, shortly after his FaceĖHeel Turn at WrestleMania 13, reformed the Hart Foundation as an Anti-American stable, reuniting with Jim Neidhart, and recruiting Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Brian Pillman in the process. Now, Bret is the only surviving member, as Jim passed away in August 2018.
- With the departure of James Storm in 2015, Abyss is the last wrestler in Impact Wrestling to have appeared in the company's very first broadcast. And of the TNA Originals themselves, only he, Bobby Roode, and Eric Young remain. As of March 2016, it's just Abyss.
- Cheerleader Melissa was the longest lasting of the SHIMMER originals, talking about the Heart Of SHIMMER tournament and how it described her, who had seen every woman who had failed in the company. However after giving this speech another original would return on the next volume.
- Crossed with Four Is Death: Taz was the fourth and last wrestler (after Johnny Hot Body, Sabu and Mikey Whipwreck) to hold the NWA ECW/ECW World Heavyweight Title, the NWA ECW/ECW World Television Title and the NWA ECW/ECW World Tag Team Titles during the promotion's 1992-2001 existence.
- As pointed out by the book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams, The Nasty Boys were the last team from the territorial system to make it to the national level.
- The Barbarian and Dick Slater were the last-ever WCW United States Tag Team Champions.
- Terri Power (WWE's Tori) was the last LPWA Champion, winning it in the main event of LPWA Super Ladies Showdown, which was their lone PPV and their final event ever.
- "The Laughing Man" Hugh Morrus was the last member of the Dungeon of Doom who was introduced in a vignette in the Dungeon itself.
- Reckless Youth won the GLW (Great Lakes Wrestling) Heavyweight Title in the final match of the promotion's final show.
- Jazz is the last female ECW alumnus still active in the business, currently performing for Impact Wrestling.
- With the untimely passings of Luke Harper in 2020 and Bray Wyatt in 2023, Erick Rowan is the last surviving founding member of The Wyatt Family.note
- They pop up from time to time in Magic: The Gathering, almost exclusively with the Legendary supertype. For example, Thrun was the sole troll to survive the first Mirrodin block (and God knows how close any other species on Mirrodin has come to it with the Phyrexian takeover), while Momir Vig on Ravnica was supposedly the last of his particular subset of elves (and given that he was also a megalomaniac who unleashed a Blob Monster on the world For Science! it's not like anyone particularly missed them). Subverted with Niv-Mizzet, though; he was supposedly the last dragon on Ravnica, but it turns out that there are actually a bunch of dragons on Ravnica and Niv-Mizzet just doesn't consider them worthy of the title because they're kind of stupid.
- Played for drama with Samut. Samut is the last refugee of Nactamun, the only inhabited city on the desert plane of Amonkhet. Her entire life — as well as the lives of everyone on Amonkhet — was to succeed at the Trials, an endless series of challenges both competitive and cooperative reminiscent of The Hunger Games. Then God-Pharoah Nicol Bolas revealed that the purpose of the Trials was to create an undead army, which was now complete, rendering Amonkhet obsolete...so he destroyed the magic keeping Nactamun from turning to desert and left with his army. Only Samut escaped, but was then forced to battle with said undead army on Ravnica. Some cards note that Samut recognized faces among those of the Dreadhorde.
- Mutant Chronicles: Sean Gallagher, the Wolfbane warleader, is the last living member of the Gallagher family. The Gallagher home was attacked by the Dark Legion during a clan meet, and Sean was the only member of the Chief family not present.
- Deadline, a villain from Sentinels of the Multiverse, became the last of his kind during a catastrophe on his home planet. When he was approached by the being known as the Terminarch, he accepted her offer of immortality to preserve his race's memory.
- By extension, the Endlings, the group Deadline became part of, also have the same backstory: The last of their kind given immortality.
- Haka is also this, at least in the far distant future of The Final Wasteland, where he is the last human. He spends most of his time collecting books and other knowledge he can find.
- Shadowrun: One of Harlequin's aliases is "Last Knight of the Crying Spire".
- Parodied in Toon: the Cartoon RPG. The Foogle Bird from the sample adventure "I Foogled You!" is the last of its kind... but there are many kinds of Foogle Bird, all the last of their kind, and all obnoxious and mischievous.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Titus Germanicus' letters in Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth describe Brennus, the last White Howler chieftain. After his warriors fell in battle, he was probably the last White Howler left in Caledonia. Black Spiral Dancers later captured and beheaded him.
- By the third act of the play R.U.R. (a.k.a. Rossum's Universal Robots), the only human left is Alquist who was the Clerk of the Works at the factory and was spared during the robot uprising because he "works with his hands like the robots".
- Westeros: An American Musical: During "Small Council", Daenerys is called "the last dragon", the dragon referring to her family sigil. Daenerys's brother Viserys is dead by the time she's first seen onstage, and the two of them were the last known survivors of their family at the beginning of the original story.
- In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Astaroth exterminates the population of the planet Gal. Gargouille is left the only survivor, and she vows to avenge her people by killing Astaroth.
- In Olympia Soiree, The main character, Olympia, is the last remaining member of the White clan and the plot revolves around her finding a partner to continue the lineage.
- Brackenwood: Bitey is the last of a race of swift, satyr-like creatures known as the Dashkin.
- RWBY: Salem (and if you count reincarnation, Ozpin and Oscar) is revealed to be the last of the original humans, who were wiped out by the God of Darkness for their attempted Rage Against the Heavens, which Salem instigated. The second and current humanity came about through evolution (The first humanity was created by the Gods).
- In True Tail, Doh-Li the priestess is the last Kirin alive, since then, her race has been known as a lost ancient species and she wants to avenge her race.
- Bosun's Journal: The entry on the thinking buildings is narrated shortly after the death of the last living specimen of their kind, who was by that point also the last sapient human on the Nebukadnezar. Their death marks the end of the Broken Age and the beginning of the Wild Age, a period of tens of millions of years over which the Bosun AI will be the last mind left on a ship of wild animals.
- The Gamer's Alliance: For the longest time, Daven is seen as the last surviving member of the Lefein race... until he finds out that in fact There Is Another.
- Hamster's Paradise:
- When the Glaciocene begins, it is marked by harsh ice ages the whittle many families down to a single surviving species such as the mison, seavers, leviahams, girats and boingos. However, these species end up becoming the first of entirely new familes.
- Alone Again, Naturally: An Unlikely Friendship goes over the Odd Friendship of Last Bloom, the last of the splinsters, a peaceful species of sapient trunked omnivores and Boulder, the last thorhorn, an intelligent and empathetic ox-like creatures after both of their species were destroyed by the Pyromaniacs, a fire obsessed culture of the sadistic harmster species.
- Last Stand: Final Stronghold of the Rockcookers goes over the last group of surviving Rockcooker Harmsters holed up in a fortress against the hordes of harmsters that have been infected by a zombie-like transmissible cancer before they eventually burn themselves to death to be spared the same fate when the infection finds its way inside the fortress.
- The derelict seaver, as the name suggests, is the only species of the whale-like seavers to survive the reign of the Harmsters. It was able to survive by virtue of being both small and by inhabiting remote arctic waters that the Harmsters had difficulty reaching. It still remained small even after the Harmsters died out due to the warmer climate of the Temperocene being less conducive for plankton growth and competition with hamatees.
- In the original sketches, the very last species on the planet long after all other life has perished are the omegahams, small rodents closely resembling the original founding hamsters.
- The Onion: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will eventually be whittled down to one man on each side by the year 2137.
- Serina: This turns up several times in the setting, as the dwindling and extinction of species and lineages is a recurring theme:
- One of the entries detailing the beginning of the closing stages of the Ultimocene describes the last stormsonor, the last living specimen of a species of immense birds that slowly went extinct as the growing ice age covered their feeding grounds in ice and caused their egg-like pupal sacs to freeze to death before they could hatch. The last one was born in a freak warm year, from a clutch deposited by an ancient hen who died after laying, and was the only one to hatch successfully. She never met another member of her kind, and instead imprinted on a flock of a much smaller related species with which she spent the rest of her life.
- One entry aptly titled The Last Woodcrafter goes over the extinction of the woodcrafter people. When the planet becomes too cold for the trees the woodcrafters depended on to survive, they become malnourished and are unable to reproduce as a result. The socialized gravediggers they lived with are eventually forced to migrate to the coast to stay alive while some woodcrafters chose to stay and die in their old forest home while others chose to leave with the gravediggers, these ones discover that they can feed on the coastal seaweed and return to health but there were far too few of them at that point and they were all past their reproductive age so they decide to spend their last days helping and guiding the gravediggers. The last woodcrafter is an elderly female named Ember who peacefully passes on surrounded by the Gravediggers her kind came to view as their children.
- Rivals ends with a description of the last living sea rex, a massive marine predator, after his species was gradually whittled down by the collapse of the open-ocean food chains and a bitter conflict with the pelagan daydreamers over what little prey remained in the shrinking ice age seas. Ultimately, the last great leviathan is left to wander the oceans for nearly a century after the death of the last female specimen and for forty years after the death of the second-last male, his mind just complex enough to be puzzled at why his mating calls are never answered, but not enough to understand his species' fate.
- The pelagic daydreamers are gradually done in when the shrinking oceans kill off all the animals that could sustain them. The last members of their species were too old to reproduce and believed themselves to be the very last of the daydreamers until the mixed gravedigger-daydreamer civilization from the shallows find them, allowing their people to symbolically live on the stories and histories they tell them.
- The scissorjaw is the last of the circuagodogs in the Late Ocean Age, the others having been outcompeted by other, smarter predators such as the sawjaws who are better adapted to prey on the thorngrazers that have become Serina's most common terrestrial herbivore, and their prey either going extinct or becoming too smart to hunt. The solitary nature of most circuagodog species also serves to work against them. Eventually, the trunkos get the idea to start systematically exterminating their predators, with the circuagodogs being too unintelligent to mount an effective enough defense, and the remainder either starve to death or meet their end at the clubs of the trunkos. Circuagodog Gone describes the last moments of the very last circuagodog, half-dead from starvation, as it calmly accepts its death at the hands - well, trunk - of a creature its kind once hunted.
- In Centennials, Neve is said to be the last Pionin, a species that is Half-Man, Half-frog and Neve is said to spend a lot of her time preserving her species' lost past. However, it is later revealed that more Pionin survived in the Nightlands
- The British Railway Stories: At the end of Episode 15, Day Of The Deltic, Stephen announces that he's the last LNER Class B12 in the world because of the Modernization Plan.
- The last Passenger Pigeon, Martha, died in 1914 at Cincinnati Zoo after outliving her two male companions as a very honored, but alone, bird.
- The last Carolina Parakeet, Incas, died four years later at the Cincinnati Zoo, coincidentally in the same cage Martha lived in.
- Lonesome George, the very last Pinta Island Tortoise, died on June 24, 2012.
- The last Pyrenean Ibex was an old female named Celia, who was killed by a falling tree in early 2000. Celia was successfully cloned in 2003, but the clone died after approximately ten minutes. This made the Pyrenean Ibex the first (and possibly only) biological taxon to go extinct twice.
- The last Tasmanian Tiger, "Benjamin" note , died in the Hobart Zoo in 1936. Only a few months prior, the species had received protection. The animal died of exposure to the elements because there was a strike at the zoo and he was locked outside with no shelter during a period of extreme daily highs and nightly lows because nobody remembered to open the door to his pen.
- "Booming Ben", the last known living specimen of Heath Hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido), was heard for the final time on March 11, 1932, on Martha's Vineyard, still hopefully drumming to try to attract a mate.
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recorded the song of the last Kauaʻi ʻōʻō bird before his death in 1987. The song was from a male, singing a mating call to a female that sadly, would never come. Most tragically, the recorded song was only half of the mating call: Kauaʻi ʻōʻōs mated for life and sang a duet— the conspicuous, empty pauses in the last recording were supposed to be where the female would chime in.
- Hyophorbe amaricaulis, the Loneliest Palm. This is a species of palm tree with only one known member in the world, in a garden in Mauritius.
- The Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog was reduced to a single known specimen in 2012. Named Toughie, his species had been wiped out by chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that has been devastating frogs throughout the Americas and Australia. He died in 2016, most likely taking his species with him.
- The last Golden Toad was a single male sighted in Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica In 1989.
- The last confirmed baiji (Yangtze River dolphin) was Qiqi, who died in 2002.
- Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, died on March 19, 2018, due to age-related complications, leaving two females —Najin (Sudanís daughter) and Fatu (Najinís daughter and Sudanís granddaughter)— who are living under constant protection from poachers and have health issues that prevent them from being able to become pregnant. In vitro fertilization (using genetically-similar Southern White Rhino females as surrogates) may be the only hope, as they did freeze his sperm and the sperm of other male rhinos, and the surviving females are still producing viable eggs that could be used.
- The last Aurochs was an old female that died in Poland's Jaktorow forest in 1627. She outlived the other last aurochs (three younger males) by over ten years.
- This tree had specimens first collected in 1835. Since then, a single mature tree was found at the Koonayil Ayiravilli Shiva temple in Kerala.