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1 Million B.C.

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"Come with us back to the days of the caveman, when every woman wore furs, every man had a private club, and backyard barbecues were truly mammoth!"
Kermit the Frog, The Muppet Show

The days when gruff, thickbrowed club-wielding cavemen and sexy cavewomen in body-baring fur teddies roamed the earth alongside dinosaurs. Most humans were of low intelligence and communicated primarily in grunts, but this didn't stop them from inventing a sophisticated system of Bamboo Technology, most of which incorporated rocks, sinews, and small dinosaurs who really didn't seem to mind the fact that they'd been locked under a counter and forced to serve as a primitive garbage disposal for the vast majority of their waking lives. ("It's a living," after all...)

Real "cavemen" were quite different — although of course, it entirely depends what point in prehistory you're focusing on. They (at least in the last 100,000 years or so) were as intelligent as modern humans (and maybe more) and had complex language. They used bows, spears, slings, and knives as well as clubs. They lived in tents or huts, sometimes structures built of mammoth bones, and maybe the mouths of caves but never deep inside. Most prejudices about cavemen were originally applied to Australian Aborigines, pygmies, Native Americans, and black people.


This setting is nowadays a Dead Horse Trope. If any serious attempt is made to explore what prehistoric cultures might have been like, it could be considered to fall into the category of Xenofiction.

Named after the movie of the same name, which is quite well-known for its gratuitous usage of the trope.

See Prehistoria for a Video Game level or setting set here, and Age of Reptiles for this time period's typical rulers. Contrast with Lost World, another setting full of dinos and cavemen, but separated from the modern world by geography rather than time.


Popular tropes from this time period are:

Works set in this time period are:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Perman: One episode is almost entirely comprised of an Imagine Spot Mitsuo is having where he imagines he and his friends live in the Stone Age.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Season 6 introduces the planet Guling, which has several features making it much like a prehistoric setting (it has inhabitants resembling cavemen who live in caves, and there are also lots of dinosaurs living alongside them).

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Jund, one of the five Shards of Alara, is pretty clearly based on this trope, though it gets away with it by being pure fantasy. Actual dragons replace the dinosaurs, brutal reptilian humanoids lord it over tribes of primitive humans and ratlike goblins, and the land itself is dominated by ever-present, smoke-spewing volcanoes looming over chokingly dense jungles and festering tar pits.

  • Otto employed this trope when he said that the Neanderthals started walking upright because they wanted to get their hands away from all that dinosaur shit.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics did a series of "Caveman Archie" stories with prehistoric versions of Archie and the rest of the Riverdale gang.
  • Cherry Comics: "Clan of the Care Bear" in Cherry #5 features Cherry as a sexy cavegirl in prehistoric times.
  • Garfield: His 9 Lives: Garfield lived his first life as a sabretooth cat in a world of barren soil and volcanic peaks. The animated special takes one step further with a parody of creatures emerging fully formed from the sea.
    Narrator: In those days, the first everything was crawling up out of the sea: the first snake. The first chicken. Crab grass. The first real estate salesman.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Devil Dinosaur is certainly one of the most awesome uses of the trope. Marvel took a good many years after the book ended trying to figure out how to hammer Devil and Moon Boy into continuity, since even in the Marvel Universe, prehistory wasn't like that. The current idea (usually) is that the series is set on an alien planet that just happens to resemble popular depictions of Earth's prehistory.
    • The Savage Land partly justifies and partly averts this trope. It's a preserve created by aliens that has various proto-human and humanoid tribes mixed with mammals and dinosaurs drawn from various past eras, mixed together in an artificial, mostly subtropical environment... in present-day Antarctica.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW): In "From the Shadows", when Shadow Lock's magic traps the main characters in miniature worlds based off of museum exhibits, Pinkie and Applejack are sent into one based on Equestria's prehistoric era. There, they find a jungle-covered, volcanic landscape where dinosaurs and thick-browed, slow-minded cave-ponies live together.
  • Tor: A foreword in the modern collected edition apologetically says "Although it was already known to anyone who cared that men and dinosaurs had never dwelt on Earth at the same time...."
  • Tragg and the Sky Gods: The setting features cavemen battling dinosaurs and alien invaders.

    Comic Strips 
  • B.C. , which also seems to be taking place in a bizarre Alternate Universe filled with modern humor (if you can call it that) and Fundamentalist Christianity. Johnny Hart is a (young-earth) creationist, so he may actually believe dinosaurs roamed the earth with cavemen. Many feel that the fundamentalism didn't really work in a strip named for the abbreviation of "Before Christ"; Word of God had it that the strip was actually named after a college in Hart's hometown, but whether this was originally the case or just a Retcon dreamed up after Hart's conversion is unknown.
  • The Far Side: Gary Larson occasionally depicted tail-dragging dinosaurs and neckless, hulking, heavy-browed cavemen together, typically in barren, rocky landscapes and the occasional jungle, and not without some shame on his part, even though it was for the sake of humor. In "The Prehistory of the Far Side" anthology, he suggests that "there should be cartoon confessionals where we could go and say things like, 'Father, I have sinned — I have drawn dinosaurs and hominids together in the same cartoon.'"
  • Prehistoric Peeps, an 1890s cartoon series drawn by Edward Tennyson Reed and published in Punch, may be the Trope Maker. It depicted cavemen living with dinosaurs in a primeval imitation of contemporary Victorian society. It must be said that even in the 1890s, paleontologists were perfectly aware that dinosaurs and humans never lived together, but Rule of Funny obviously applies here. The comic received a cinematic adaptation in 1905, but it's now a lost film.

  • GEICO: The "caveman commercials" feature stereotypical-looking thick-browed Neanderthals with Genius Bruiser personalities from this era, somehow still living in modern times and acting like an oppressed minority, as does Cavemen, the short-lived TV series based on the Neanderthals from the commercials.
  • The 90s Nissin Noodles commercials with ridiculously tiny cavemen hunting various prehistoric beasts like woolly mammoths and giant pterosaurs in a wasteland.
  • This FedEx Super Bowl commercial shows a caveman trying to send a delivery by Pteranodon... which promptly gets eaten by a T. rex. The caveman's manager then suggests the titular mail service, only for his subordinate to complain that "FedEx doesn't exist yet".

    Films — Animation 
  • The Croods takes place in the fictional Croodacious period, where a family of cavemen meet a Cro-Magnon inventor with fairly modern ideas and gadgets. There are no dinosaurs, but there are bizarre Mix-and-Match Critters implied to be missing links of modern species.
  • Early Man is about a tribe of Stone Age cavemen fighting against villains from the more advanced Bronze Age. It's a huge Anachronism Stew, with the plot hinging on a soccer match. A prologue featuring their ape-like ancestors is set in the "neo-Pleistocene" era, the very day dinosaurs went extinct.
  • Ice Age follows the exploits of Talking Animal versions of Ice Age megafauna, including some creatures already long extinct by then, in landscape of glaciers, ice fields and rugged hills. It manages to sneak in dinosaurs and Mesozoic sea reptiles, although these at least have the decency to live in a Lost World and emerge from within blocks of ice respectively. Somehow the onset of the ice age and its ending are only a sequel's width apart, and continental drift is a major plot point in the fourth movie.
  • The Missing Link (known as B.C. Rock in the US) is the story of the first human born among apemen, and naturally it is set in this era. To be precise, the first scene takes place on May 25th, 196,303 B.C.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the seventh film, Weslie, Paddi, and Wolffy all end up stuck in prehistoric times after Paddi messes with Mr. Slowy's time camera, and the others have to go find them. While there, the three meet various prehistoric goats who live in a village, and Wolffy, who has had his body swapped with Paddi's during the mishap that got them trapped there in the first place, accidentally ends up engaged with one of the prehistoric goats, Miss Lotus.

    Films — Live Action 
  • 10,000 BC: Replace cavemen and dinosaurs with cavemen, Ice Age beasts, and pyramid-building Egyptians and you get this movie. It's an obvious homage to One Million Years BC, and adopts the same "eh, whatever" attitude towards accuracy.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: This is one of the eras visited by the duo. The cavemen don't appear until the group is about to take off, though. They're carrying burning torches.
  • Brute Force (a 1914 Silent Movie by D. W. Griffith, also known as The Primitive Man, In Prehistoric Days, and War of the Primal Tribes) is probably the earliest surviving film to depict cavemen and dinosaurs living together. This mainly consists of a brief scene with a Ceratosaurus, which is announced by an intertitle reading, "one of the perils of prehistoric apartment life." The majority of the film's plot concerns two primitive tribes fighting over women. Notably, the women are clothed in grass dresses rather than the now-customary Fur Bikinis, which probably wouldn't have met with 1914 standards of female modesty. Besides, bikinis hadn't been invented yet.
  • Carry On Cleo had previously depicted the Britons as dinosaur-hunting cavepeople at the time of the Roman Empire. Rule of Funny applies, obviously.
  • Caveman, an open parody/comedy take on the genre, is set in "One Zillion years ago". October 9.
  • History of the World Part I: The opening scenes, during which the cavemen, um, "discover themselves".
  • Noah suggests there were dog-sized dinosaurs with dog-like behavior that coexisted with humans before being wiped out by the flood.
  • One Million BC is the Trope Namer, and both this film and its 1967 remake titled One Million Years B.C. may be the combined Trope Codifier. The 1967 version is chiefly remembered for the mind-blowing sight of Raquel Welch (Ms. Fanservice incarnate) in a Fur Bikini. Ray Harryhausen, who animated most of the dinosaurs in the remake, comments that he did not make One Million Years B.C. for "professors... who probably don't go to see these kinds of movies anyway."
  • Quest for Fire, one of the more accurate depictions of the Stone Age, focusing on a group of neanderthals encountering cro-magnons for the first time. In a piece of truly inspired casting, Ron Perlman was one of the neanderthals.
  • When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) is also a good example. A loose remake of One Million Years B.C., the movie features a love story across different caveman clans and tons of stop motion dinosaurs.
  • Year One features Hunter Michael Cera and Gatherer Jack Black as cavemen gatecrashing Biblical-narrative events. The problem is that while the story of Cain and Abel could be set at 1 Million B.C., early Israelites like Abraham are much less so. And then there's those Romans showing up. Anachronism Stew all around!
  • Yor: The Hunter from the Future starts this way, complete with dinosaurs, giant lizards, women in furskin bikinis and barbarian heroes, only for it to be subverted with it being in fact a future world After the End, not a prehistoric one.

  • Before Adam, a historical novel by Jack London, is the story of a man who dreams he lives the life of an early australopithecine. The majority of the story is told through the eyes of the man's hominid alter ego, one of the Cave People. In addition to the Cave People, there are the more advanced Fire People and the more animal-like Tree People. Other characters include the hominid's father, a love interest, and Red-Eye, a fierce "atavism" that perpetually terrorizes the Cave People. A sabre-cat also plays a role in the story.
  • Bone From a Dry Sea, by Peter Dickinson, is partly set four million years ago in a culture based on the aquatic ape hypothesis, and partly following the archaeologist who's digging up its remains.
    • Also by Peter Dickinson "The Kin" series. Set in a later prehistoric era where modern homosapiens have evolved and are just beginning to leave Africa. But still live alongside other human subspecies.
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness YA fantasy set in Northern Europe just before the beginning of recorded history.
  • Earth's Children is a fairly well-researched attempt to construct realistic Ice Age cultures and involves clashes between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. Science has marched on concerning some of the material Jean Auel used, and Ayla and Jondalar's technological inventions can only be believed as allegories for the inventions of multiple generations of Real Life people, but for the most part these books are quite believable and realistic. Their biggest problem is the Anachronism Stew of Homo sapiens material culture, mixing multiple Paleolithic eras together, and arguably the near total lack of Values Dissonance in the prehistoric Homo sapiens cultures.
  • The Evolution Man is set in a fictionalized version of prehistoric Africa, following a family of early hominids who are in some manner aware of the fact that they are still relatively primitive and are actively attempting to evolve towards Homo sapiens. Among other things, the story features characters discussing their precise location on the geologic timescale, recalcitrant Uncle Vania who refuses to move past the ape-man stage, hominids running the gamut from largely modern people to hoary Frazetta Men, the invention of cave paintings, religion, fire, cooking and clothing, unsuccessful attempts at domesticating the dog and a running commentary on the evolution of humanity and the Earth.
  • Fartago, a blog novel, is set at around the time Homo habilis, the first Hominid species, gained awareness. However, much of the novel's references underscore the fact that most portrayals of these early Hominid species portray them as a lot like us, but minor references in the novel prove the writer, Tony Caroselli, actually knows what he's talking about and is only making stuff up for comedy's sake.
  • Ram, a Finnish children's book series by Maijaliisa Dieckmann, is about a girl called Ram living in prehistoric times, supposedly in what is now Finland. Her parents die on a long hunting trip and she is left to take care of her little brother alone with the grudging help of the neighbours who have too many children and elders to feed to care for two orphans. For emotional support, she turns to her dead grandmother who she believes is the family's spirit protector. The books also deal with discrimination as Ram's family is originally from another clan and they are thought of as outsiders in the village. In a later book she leaves the village with her brother to find her parents' original clan and rejoin her distant relatives. The author is a well-known and respected historical novelist so the depiction of the era is very accurate and life-like.
  • Stone Spring is set at the end of the most recent glaciation. The prehistoric inhabitants of the land that once connected Britain to the rest of Europe embark on an ambitious mud wall building to hold off the rising tide.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): The finale, which occurs 150,000 years before present day, veers into this. The proto-humans the main characters observe, however, seem to avert the traditional cavemen stereotypes with Baltar commenting that they use tools and have a primitive society but is unsure if they have a comprehensive language. It's an educated guess that this also becomes the way of life of the Colonials thanks to Lee Adama's decision to get rid of all technology and live a primitive, simple life.
  • Bones: Booth trolls Bones once by claiming that it's a "fact" that cavemen fought Tyrannosaurus rex. Bones is unable to tell if he's kidding or not, but hopes he is.
  • Doctor Who: "An Unearthly Child", the first story of the original series, sees the characters travel to prehistory and encounter a tribe of cannibalistic cavemen looking for the secret of fire. No dinosaurs, however.
  • It's About Time: Astronauts Captain Mackenzie and Lieutenant Canfield accidentally break the time barrier and get stranded in One Million B.C. Features dinosaurs, prehistoric flora and fauna, and cavepeople speaking broken English. Eventually, Mackenzie and Canfield go back to the future, bringing with them a family they befriended.
  • Land of the Lost (1974): Justified. The titular Land is an abandoned alien zoo, explaining the mix of dinosaurs from various eras and the Sleestak lost civilization.
  • Power Rangers Time Force: Played absolutely straight in the "search for the Quantasaurus Rex" arc, where Wes and Eric see Triceratops and Stegosaurus and get chased by an irate Tyrannosaurus, before Wes finds fairly advanced wall-paintings of the aforementioned Quantasaurus Rex.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS:
    • Lands Out Of Time introduces the "World of Banded Night", which includes dinosaurs, cavemen, ape-men, even lizard-men and the ruins of an ultra-tech civilization.
    • Big Lizzie pits cowboys vs. banditos and dinosaurs in an alien preserve.

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: 65,000,000 BC has all the expected features — bow-legged cavemen and a hot cavewoman who speak in You No Take Candle, who coexist with dinosaurs. The twist was that the dinosaurs are a civilized race who are in the middle of a stated war of racial survival with the humans.

  • Dawn of Time stars a cavegirl and her Triceratops companion, making it a natural example of the trope.
  • El Goonish Shive: In one strip, Nanase fantasizes about her current girlfriend bing jealous of her former suitors in the form of her as a club-wielding Nubile Savage in leopard pelts beating up other cavemen in a volcanic prehistory as a pterosaur flies overhead.

    Western Animation 
  • The Backyardigans sometimes pretend to be cavemen, though the dinos are optional.
  • In The Brothers Flub, the eponymous brothers at one point end up trapped in a world with a prehistoric motif. This world is populated by prehistoric equivalents to the main and supporting characters of the show, including the brothers' boss Tarara Boomdeyay.
  • DuckTales (1987): In "Time is Money", Scrooge literally travels back to 1 Million BC to find a land in which caveducks coexist with dinosaurs.
    • Fridge Brilliance: It makes sense that in a world of intelligent anthropomorphic birds their ancestors did interact with dinosaurs.
  • DuckTales (2017) averts this in "Timephoon!" Louie and Launchpad go back to the time of caveducks, which is completely absent of Mesozoic reptiles. It's even pointed out by Huey that dinosaurs didn't live with cavepeople.
  • The Fairly OddParents: In one episode, Timmy wishes there was no such thing as technology, so Cosmo and Wanda turn the clock back to the stone age.
  • The Flintstones is one of the most iconic examples in western animation, with civilized cavepeople living in a world full of dinosaurs, mammoths, pterosaurs, sabertooth cats, and other creatures.
  • Goof Troop: "Clan of the Cave Goof" features the prehistoric ancestors of Goofy and Pete in a Flintstones-esque world of cave people, dinosaurs, and Stone Age equivalents of modern inventions.
  • Histeria! made this (and the time before it) the subject of the episode "The Dawn of Time".
  • Looney Tunes has three shorts of this type: "Prehistoric Porky", which takes place in One Billion, Trillion BC and shows Cavepig Porky's near-fatal chase with a saber-tooth tiger; "Daffy and the Dinosaur", which takes place "millions and billions and trillions of years ago" and shows a caveman hunting Daffy Duck; and "Pre-Hysterical Hare", where Bugs Bunny finds a caveman's documentary about life in 10,000 B.C.E.
  • Love, Death & Robots: In "Ice Age", after the fridge is unplugged and thawed out and its miniature world's development is reset, it becomes home to primitive, Australopithecus-like apemen sharing a tropical landscape with scaly dinosaurs.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): "Outta Time" has Mickey and Donald use a time machine (It's a Long Story) to visit this setting and rescue Goofy, who had accidentally used the same time machine earlier. The objective was to bring Goofy back to the present day before all life became descended from him, and it shows - thanks to Goofy's presence, the dinosaurs and cavemen all have Goofy heads.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "Tri-Stone Area" is set in 27,000 B.C., where "Phineagrunk And Gurb" invent the wheel. The wildlife, however, is strictly Cenozoic.
  • Primal (2019) is set at the vaguely-defined "dawn of evolution", with a caveman as the main protagonist. The Anachronism Stew and artistic license of this trope are gleefully embraced; dinosaurs and humans coexist, and there’s zero attempt to make the prehistoric animals look realistic, with most looking like something you’d see in an old Ruby-Spears cartoon. It’s basically a prehistoric world that runs on pure, undistilled Rule of Cool.
  • Sheep in the Big City: In one episode, General Specific and Private Public end up here while trying to chase Sheep through time. This being a Post Modern show, the first thing they encounter is a sign reading "Welcome to the most clichéd time portal of all." (which leads Specific to comment "We're in 1970s New Jersey?").
  • The Smurfs: Season 9 begins with the Smurfs traveling to the prehistoric past to bring a baby dinosaur home, and encountering an evil cave child that captures Clumsy and uses him for the "magic power" he possesses of being able to start a fire.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "Ugh" (aka, "Spongebob B.C. — Before Comedy") depicts a Flintstone themed version of Bikini Bottom where SpongeGar, Patar and Squag discover fire.
  • Super Mario World runs with the fact that the game is set in a place called Dinosaur Land and has the show set in the Stone Age, populating the place with lots of cavemen, including Oogtar the Not-Toad, and a variety of dinosaurs and dinosaur-like monsters.


Video Example(s):


The Modern Stone Age Family

A very fanciful depiction of caveman times

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneMillionBC

Media sources:

Main / OneMillionBC