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Uplifted Animal

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Armies of super-genius giant-brained simians: further proof that Chemistry Can Do Anything.

"(Earthworm Jim!) The soil he did crawl!
(Earthworm Jim!) A super-suit did fall!
Jim was just a dirt-eating chewing length of worm flesh!
But all that came to a crashing end!"
Earthworm Jim theme song

A more Sci-Fi oriented version of the Talking Animal, where the creature's ability to think and communicate with people on an equal level isn't typical of their species, but instead the result of some Applied Phlebotinum at work. Perhaps the animal's intelligence has been artificially increased (or inversely, people can communicate with them in their Animal Talk) and/or their physical voice structure altered so they can pronounce human words, or they have been fitted with a Translator Collar; but these animals have come to be more or less equals to human in terms of ability, but their acceptance and status in human society can be questionable.

This rarely becomes an actual plot point; it's usually just an unspoken, world-building background detail so that the author can place a Talking Animal in a setting that wouldn't ordinarily allow for them.


See also Transhuman, Polly Wants a Microphone, Anthropomorphic Transformation and Artificial Animal People. Contrast Formerly Sapient Species.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha series, this happens individually to animals with whom mages form a Magically Binding Contract with to become their familiar. They gain the ability to take somewhat human forms and easily communicate with humans. This lasts for the duration of the Contract, but when it runs out, the familiar ceases to exist. For a familiar with an open-ended contract like Arf, this makes her a lifelong companion for Fate (and a longer lifespan for her), but giving a familiar a short contract like performing a single task is a good way to Kick the Dog.
  • The final episode of GunBuster shows a dolphin as one of the crew of a human ship. All There in the Manual: Noriko explains in one of the "Science Lesson" shorts that hyper-advanced human ships utilize cyborg dolphins as part of their navigation systems, alongside psychic humans.
  • Mars Daybreak shows that among the human colonists of Mars are a small number of porpoises/whales wearing Powered Armor that allows them to move on land and translates their speech. A talking cat also happens to be a member of the crew, which is not considered too unusual.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Because Boota's constantly around Simon, he has absorbed a great deal of Spiral Energy and became much more aware than the average pigmole. Near the end, he actually taps into it and temporarily gains a humanoid form. Due to Evolutionary Levels, this means he also becomes spontaneously Kemonomimi, also revealing that he was the strange man beside Simon over in the prologue of the first episode, acting as the second in command.
    • While the rest of the Generals are Beastmen that look pretty human, Guame looks the most like an animal, in this case, an armadillo. One of the musical OVAs revealed this was because, rather than an artificially-created lifeform, Guame used to be a regular animal. He was with Lordgenome back when the latter was a child, being the Boota to Lordgenome's Simon.
  • IGPX has a dog for Team Edgeraid, and Luca the cat for team Satomi. This did not physically give them the ability to talk; we only hear either of within the mech cockpits and their lips don't move, implying the interface functions as a Translator Collar.
  • Ein from Cowboy Bebop is a "data dog", a product of highly illegal animal experimentation that wound up on-board the Bebop after a botched bounty hunt. None of the Bebop crew are aware of Ein's true nature, with the possible exception of Ed, later on. Exactly what a "Data Dog" is was never explained, but he's certainly more intelligent than your average mutt (and in fact may be the smartest member of the crew). Aside from a keen understanding of the world around him, he's shown an apparent ability to read, play chess, and even hack computers. He can't talk, however.
  • In Outlaw Star two super-intelligent cats help a human pilot a Combining Mecha.
  • Iggy from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a hyperintelligent dog who can't speak, but can understand humans perfectly. Whenever he "talks", it's his internal monologue. He is also the user of a Stand — whose name is The Fool, ironically enough. It's generally displayed that giving Stand power to an animal automatically upgrades their intelligence to or near human levels. Examples include the aforementioned Iggy, a bird of prey, an Orangutan, a rat, and even a colony of plankton. While readers aren't privy to the thoughts of any but the first and the last, they all display very human tactics.
  • One Piece:
    • Tony Tony Chopper was a normal reindeer ostracized by his herd because he was born with a blue nose. He then ate the Hito Hito no Mii (Human Human Fruit), and gained sapience along with the ability to take on a half-human/half-reindeer form and a human form. This also caused him to be abandoned by his herd and hated by humans, resulting in him growing bitter towards all humans save two until he met Luffy.
    • Onimaru is a fox introduced in the Wano Country Arc, who is capable of human speech and is able to transform from a fox into a giant human. It was revealed in one of the One Piece Vivre Card Databooks, that Onimaru is able to do this because he ate a Devil Fruit similar to Chopper. In this case, unlike Chopper who ate a regular Zoan fruit, he ate a Mythical Zoan, the Hito Hito no Mii Model: Onyudo. (An Onyudo is a Japanese Yōkai that takes the form of a giant Monk)
    • This also applies to the animal Homies of the Big Mom pirates, who have been infused with a human soul by the power of Big Mom's Devil Fruit, the Soru Soru no Mii (Soul Soul Fruit).
  • In Psychic Squad, we are introduced to Igo (Literally 'Number 9') who is a telepathic, prescient dolphin genetically engineered by the 'Comericans' for combat purposes during ZKC's version of WWII. It's revealed in flashbacks that Igo is part of a trio of dolphins who defected to Japan. The two who survived, Igo and Hachigo (Number 8) were integrated into the Japanese 'Imperial Esper Unit' and were ultimately responsible for the future prediction that drives a great deal of the story. ZKC also contains Momotaro, a flying squirrel who was engineered and cybernetically altered by the Japanese government to have telepathy and telekinetic powers, again for WWII.
  • While it's a bit unclear how common this is, in Geneshaft the main female protagonist routinely exchanges e-mails with her dog which while it apparently cannot speak English has no problems with using a keyboard and writing responses back to her and understanding what she sends him.
  • In Mary and The Witch's Flower, Doctor Dee turns animals into humanoids and has them do menial work in Endor College.
  • My Hero Academia: Principal Nezu is an anthropomorphic animal of indeterminate species with a Quirk, "High Specs", which gave him Super Intelligence (by human standards).
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What? it's eventually revealed that the main character's past life was not a human girl, but a house spider in Japan. When it was reincarnated with the students, the goddess D grafted a part of her soul and a set of modified memories onto the spider.
  • Bond from Spy X Family is a dog was created as part of a secret government project to create hyper-intelligent dogs for covert operations. While he can't speak, he can understand human speech and complex instructions, picking up on things before even humans can. He also has the power to see the future, though his visions aren't set in stone.

    Comic Books 
  • Jack Kirby's Myth Arc series The Eternals revealed that humanity itself is one of many species which were Uplifted by the Celestials, who not only modified fallow hominids into basic sentience, but also created two other groups which came to be known as the Eternals (a species of 'perfected' hominids with near-immortality, Psychic Powers, and Heroic Builds) and the Deviants (a constantly mutating 'species' which on Earth ended up Always Chaotic Evil). It is later learned that the Skrulls were similarly uplifted, but that early on one Skrull Deviant developed their signature shapeshifting trait, and unlike with others if their kind, the trait bred true; the result was that this specific sub-group exterminated all of the other Skrull sub-types. While this was mostly ignored by other Marvel writers for the next few decades even in stories featuring various Eternals, it would become a key part of The 'Verse's mythos later, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Quality Comics had Gabby, a monkey surgically given mind and speech indistinguishable from a human's, who became the first companion of masked mysteryman Midnight (as his new "secret weapon against crime") after the secrets of the procedure were lost. He can still communicate with his non-uplifted brethren and, provided special stilts to reach the pedals, he's even a capable driver.
  • 2000 AD:
    • In Judge Dredd, genetic experiments resulted in a group of monkeys as intelligent as humans that speak English, and who were eventually given human rights and their own ghetto in Mega-City One. Some of them went on to form a criminal gang. Uplifted apes also appear in the Dreddverse series Insurrection. Originally a servile class in an ex-terrestrial mining colony, they join the mutants and robots (also slaves) alongside the human Judges in rebellion against Mega-City One.
    • Tharg's Future Shocks: A bunch of scientists try to increase the intellect of apes so that they can be used as manual labor. It looks like it didn't work, until one of the apes slips up and reveals that they have been Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Kingdom is all about a group of genetically engineered dogpeople who keep fighting a race of giant insects after their human masters disappear.
    • In Nikolai Dante, at some point in the past, a group of endangered species were given human intelligence in the hope of preserving them. They rose up and overthrew humans, with the result that Africa is now ruled by the houses of Numa (lion), Tantor (elephant), and Kong (gorilla).
  • Mr. Tawny in Captain Marvel started this way. He was an ordinary tiger raised from a cub as a child's pet and accused in adulthood as a man-killer. A Hermit Guru type lived nearby, who apparently was also The Professor; he had invented a drug that would allow Tawny to speak so he could defend himself. Tawny not only retained the ability to speak, he became very civilized and took to wearing elegant clothes, making him a Funny Animal. He got a job at a zoological museum and his stories dealt with everyday problems while the Marvels were off saving the universe.
  • Grease Monkey, a sci-fi graphic novel, has the uplifting of gorillas as part of its premise. The main character is such an uplift, who serves a space fighter mechanic on a space station. The almost Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that visited Earth had a pattern of this: to bolster the chances of other races to resist a separate alien menace that follows them across the galaxy, the benefactor aliens uplift animals suited to the task. Their standard process is to uplift one individual, allow him to learn about the dominant species (humans in this case) and then decide on behalf of his race. The gorilla said yes, and now all remaining gorillas are as intelligent as people (they found out about a lot of our bad points after the choice was made). The dolphin said no. He went with the aliens, and the rest of his species were left unaltered.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy features Cosmo, a golden retriever who's mysteriously uplifted when he was blasted into orbit during early Russian Cosmonautical testing. When he's eventually found in a colony in deep space, not only has he gained the ability to talk via telepathy, he does it in thick, Soviet era broken English. They also have Rocket Raccoon, another example of this trope. They don't like each other. When asked why, Rocket mentions that he can't stand freaky–deaky talking animals. They give him the willies.
  • Rex the Wonder Dog was presumably a normal puppy before the experiments which led to his near human intelligence. Though he originally couldn't talk since a dog's mouth isn't designed for such he knew English and Japanese, can read, and could find other ways to communicate. After a drink from the Fountain of Youth the wonder dog developed the ability to talk as well, though he doesn't use it terribly often.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the title turtles and their master, Splinter were all once ordinary pet turtles (and a rat), but were all mutated into their current forms after exposure to radiation coming from a leaking can full of mutagenic ooze. (In a couple of the adaptations, Splinter was originally human, but the turtles are consistently turtles.)
  • Brute Force was a short lived 4 issue series about a scientist who uses cyborg enhancements to makes five animals intelligent and speak, and fight evil. Mostly people trying to destroy rainforests and polluting the ocean, and a team of evil cyborg animals. Pretty much a badass version of Captain Planet, though despite a few notable excellent fight scenes, it is notably (to quote Linkara) "So mind-boggling stupid that it's awesome" and says it's a true guilty pleasure.
    • In 2014, they got a one-shot revival in a crossover with Deadpool, via Deadpool Bi-Annual.
    • Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus not only brought Wreckless (A.K.A. Bear) Back for the Dead (with the rest of the team being kept in stasis), but also revealed Brute Force to be part of the Weapon II project (of which the only other known test subject was a Wolverine-esque squirrel that appeared in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl).
  • In The DCU, Gorilla Grodd and Solavar were uplifted by aliens, making them the first two talking gorillas. They would eventually found an entire city of other talking gorillas. Then Grodd turned evil.
  • DC also has Monsieur Mallah, a gorilla uplifted by The Brain. Decades later the two would fall in love.
  • Dr Dinosaur in Atomic Robo is either an uplifted dinosaur clone who happens to be completely insane, or a dinosaur given intelligence by the time-travelling disaster that caused the K-T event...who happens to be completely insane.
  • In Marvel Comics, there's the New Men, most of whom became the Knights of Wundagore. They were once ordinary animals before the High Evolutionary subjected them to his experiments; some are more or less human than others; Sir Porga is basically a rotund human with pointed ears, Sir Ram has a humanlike face and has feet rather than hooves, Lady Ursula looks like a human-sized (and -shaped) bear, and Lady Vermin is just an ordinary-looking rat who can't even speak without an electronic translator device.
  • An old rumor goes that Wolverine was intended to be one of these. A few Marvel staffers have denied it, but a couple lines in his early appearances do refer to him as "a talking wolverine"... Another rumor in the 1980s tied Logan in with the origin story of the Eternals, with him and some other unaging 'mutants' actually being the original group of experimental subjects that the Celestials tinkered with; supposedly, this was to be revealed by the Eternal known as The Nameless Hero stating that they'd met several times over the millennia, and that Logan had been both Enkidu and Achilles.
  • Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) was indisputably intended to be an uplifted spider, but this got retconned. Apparently Stan Lee thought this idea was too wacky. For the Marvel Universe.
  • Carl Barks: Gyro Gearloose once invented a 'think box' device that could make any animal as smart as a person. He ended up creating both a superintelligent rabbit and a superintelligent wolf, the latter of whom he only barely stopped from stewing Donald alive.
  • In Drowntown, Genetic engineering has resulted in "chimeras", animals with human-level intelligence. A wide range of animals have been subject to this — we see gorillas, hyenas, rats, pandas, and others. They seem to function as normal citizens.
  • The Herder Witch: Yanna used to be a common sheep until she met Morie the witch and was transformed into a human-like girl. That same magic allows her to shift between both forms, while still retaining her intelligence and speech ability.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) says that the planet Mobius is actually Earth in the future. The alien Xordas dropped gene-bombs on it intending to devolve humans. All they did was give humans Four-Fingered Hands and uplift the animals into Funny Animals.
  • One of Reginald Hargreeves' most famous accomplishments in The Umbrella Academy is uplifting chimpanzees.
  • Ape X in the Squadron Supreme universe is an ape uplifted to sentience by experimentation that became a criminal super genius.
  • The Beasts of Berlin were six gorillas uplifted by a fluke by an experimental ray reared in Communist Berlin. The ray itself had a reverse effect on humans, making them mindless beasts, but in both cases it was temporary.
  • Sometimes, Fantastic Four enemy the Red Ghost has his Super Apes uplifted into speaking intelligence. They always try to take over from him in short order and attempt to either kill or enslave all humans, starting with him.

    Fan Works 
  • In Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space our heroes travel to Antarctica and meet Gneelicks, a human-husky hybrid who gripes about the problems with this trope.
    "That's just those damned penguins stirring up trouble," growled Gneelicks. "They claim we're an 'introduced' species. Hah! We huskies have been here for generations — my ancestors were eaten by Amundsen on his way to the South Pole! But the price of sentience is eternal politics — it's enough to drive you mad. Seals don't want to be tagged because it violates their civil liberties. Whales demanding compensation for attempted genocide. Emperor penguins with delusions of grandeur, complaining that the solar mirrors are interfering with their pattern of life..."
  • Lupine Tree has the protagonist, Lumber Jack, as this thanks to Discord and a damaged human soul that Discord saved. Technically, as a timberwolf tree, he is a plant, but he can still hunt and move his puppets as if they were real wolves.
  • The Parselmouth of Gryffindor has an unintentional example in the person of the Boggart (a non-sentient magical shapeshifter) who, by pure luck, turned into an accurate enough copy of a human being that he started to think… He hasn't stopped since.
  • Oogway's Little Owl: According to ancient legends, all animals on the Kung Fu Panda world were once like they are on Earth, non-sapient and preying on each other, before they gained sapience somehow.

    Films — Animation 
  • Iago is implied to be this in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. Word of God is that Jafar moved a part of himself to his normal parrot to become less irritable. Thus Iago is essentially an angrier and more abrasive Jafar.
  • April and the Extraordinary World has this happen to a cat and a couple of lizards unintentionally when they are used as test subjects for a serum that is intended to make its subject immortal.
  • Gus from Cinderella is actually made sapient by receiving clothing like the other mice in the film. And possibly all of the other mice.
  • In Help! I'm a Fish, there is both a fish potion and a fish antidote. The fish potion turns humans into fish, and the fish antidote not only reverses the fish potion, but can also make regular fish more human, granting them the power of speech and sapience. The Big Bad ends up stealing the antidote and uses it to make his own metropolis of sentient, uplifted fish.
  • Franny's singing frogs in the future world of Meet the Robinsons.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: Thanks to a mishap involving Fluttershy's magic and Human Twilight's device, Spike the dog is given the ability to speak, as well as causing his behavior to be less dog-like. Slightly unusual in that the past two films featured a different talking Spike the dog which was originally a dragon.
  • The rats from The Secret of NIMH that escaped from the National Institute of Mental Health after being used as test subjects for an intelligence-enhancing treatment, actually take this one step above the standard procedure in the evolutionary ladder since most animals of their world are sapient on a basic level already and it was the way of great scientific and mystical knowledge (even greater than humans!) that they were led to, that distinguished them from the rest of their fellow creatures.
  • The dinosaurs from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story are all made sapient by being fed intelligence-boosting cereal. Later, the villain devolves said dinosaurs back into their primitive selves to frighten everyone, and the only way for them to become sapient again is to have their children friends hug them.
  • According to the Opening Narration to Rock & Rule, World War III on one hand, wiped out humanity, but on the other created their successors by mutating animals into humanoid form who would soon follow through their predecessors footsteps (barring hopefully their last ones).
  • White Snake (2019):
    • A downplayed version: Blanca gives Dudou the ability to talk but he still acts like a normal dog despite that.
    • The snake demons themselves are a version of this. At their lowest level of strength, they seem to just be normal snakes, and it takes a great deal of time and effort for them to gain speech, shapeshifting and other powers. Taking on a fully human form is noted to be something only their most powerful individuals can do, said forms being sought after for the various advantages they bring. When Blanca saves Xuan's soul it takes so much power from her to do so that she is reverted back to a regular snake and it takes her centuries to regain her powers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Booga in Tank Girl (in the comics, Booga is a mutated kangaroo):
    Booga: I was a dog, but because I was really good, they upgraded me to human. Uh, sort of.
  • The Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets kicked off when this accidentally happens during the testing of an Alzheimer's treatment. Planet of the Apes in general may be the Trope Codifier. Primates get this treatment in the franchise prior to its Continuity Reboot as well: the original novel features modified apes replacing humans as menial servants, a notion carried through in the original film franchise. The 2001 re-imagining features a space station where simians are being modified to carry out routine space piloting and other technical tasks.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket is the result of "illegal genetic and cybernetic experiments on a lower life form", specifically a raccoon. He is not aware of this, as he doesn't know what a raccoon is, instead believing himself to be an entirely artificial lifeform.
  • Super Mario Bros. says the meteor that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs actually sent them to Another Dimension where they evolved to be like humans.
  • In the Kim Possible cartoon, Rufus' anthropomorphic behavior is not deemed anything unusual. In the Kim Possible film, it is mentioned that he was a lab experiment. This explains his high intelligence, ability to talk (if only in short mumbles), and his general anthropomorphic behavior compared to a normal naked mole rat.
  • In the 1988 film Watchers, a super intelligent golden retriever that can communicate through writing escapes from a classified research laboratory. Meeting a young man named Travis, who takes the dog in and tries to protect it.
  • In Color Me Perfect, the intelligence-boosting gene therapy is tested on two chimps named Laverne and Shirley, who are raised to the intelligence level of a school-aged human child.


By Author:

  • David Brin:
    • Uplift is the Trope Namer. Major characters include uplifted dolphins and chimps. Technically, every sentient species has records of being originally uplifted from animals (or plants, or fungi, etc.), except for humanity and the original prehistoric Progenitors. And the tradition of Uplift is so ingrained in 2 billion years of Galactic society that many clans refuse to believe that Humans, ul-Dolphin-ul-Chimpanzee, could be anything but "wolflings" abandoned by their patrons mid-Uplift. The mere suggestion that we might have evolved sapience on our own is usually considered a preposterous, laughable superstition, as impossible as claiming a deity sculpted us out of clay. At worst, the claim is blasphemy of the highest order.
    • In Existence, a rich kid is saved from drowning by some partially uplifted dolphins who were abandoned when the project lost its funding. He makes sure the project is resumed and completed.
  • Andre Norton:
    • In Catseye, the animals are of human intelligence, though they can communicate mentally only with Troy and with whoever has the controller.
    • In Storm Over Warlock, the wolverines are part of program that introduces mutated and highly trained animals to Survey Teams. The wolverines are the first fielded from their species, and Shan thinks they are more intelligent than they guessed.
  • Alastair Reynolds:
    • There are "hyperpigs" in the Revelation Space series. Their origins are obscure - no one now knows who gave them intelligence and language, or why. It is suspected that they were a side effect of genetically engineering pigs to be human organ donors... though whether the final uplift to sentience was deliberate tinkering or just an accident is never mentioned. In a more common variation of this trope, there are also many species of uplifted primates.
    • On the Steel Breeze has Tantors, who are very insistent that they're not elephants.

By Work:

  • Travis Corcoran's Aristillus series has four uplifted dogs as central characters, and each one carries a very unique personality, while each being very 'dog-like' in sensibilities and all of them being smarter than humans. Their role in the Lunar Colony of Aristillus is a central question examined by the book and the dogs, respectively.
  • Babar, due to him spending his entire childhood living in Paris, France ever since his mother was killed by hunters actually started to become more and more sapient over time. Eventually he makes all animals sapient because of this.
  • The progenitors of the Galaxy of Funny Animals in Barsk The Elephants Graveyard were "raised mammals" genetically engineered by humans to be capable of language. According to the appendices, eighty-seven mammal species in total were raised, but the novel mostly focuses on the titular elephants. Secondary characters include an otter, a bear, a yak, and a cheetah.
  • In Beware of Chicken a number of animals are accidentally uplifted through eating magic herbs.
  • Draffut in The Empire of the East and the Book of Swords series was a dog who was altered into an intelligent, bipedal, super-powered giant by advanced medical technology. Paradoxically, he was later worshiped as a god by human beings.
  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Borgel, Fafner, an ordinary dog, becomes able to talk after traveling to Another Dimension.
  • The talking dog Ralph Von Wau Wau from Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is an unusual case. He was born a mutant, possessing human-level intelligence, but was artificially uplifted by a scientist who surgically altered his larynx and mouth structure in an experiment that would allow a dog to mimic human speech. Ralph would later "adopt" a mute man and act as his ventriloquist, cooking up a "my dog can talk" shtick to hustle a few bucks.
  • In Will Shetterly's Chimera genetically engineered animals are somewhere between slaves and second class citizens, the Heroine is a Jaguar Woman named Zoe Domingo created to be a sex slave.
  • The divine lion Aslan does this a few times in The Chronicles of Narnia. Note that Narnia contains a mixture of Talking Animals and non-sapient critters, and Aslan himself is explicitly Jesus in a form more appropriate for that setting.
    • In Prince Caspian, Aslan explains that he didn't initially create any sapient mice in Narnia. All Talking Mice are descended from a group of ordinary mice that Aslan rewarded with sapience for freeing him after the Heroic Sacrifice detailed in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (which is ancient Narnian history by the time of Prince Caspian, even though it's only been a year on Earth for our English heroes).
    • The prequel The Magician's Nephew details the creation process itself, including how Aslan created both Talking Beasts and ordinary animals. During the process, a horse from our world ends up in Narnia, so Aslan uplifts the horse and even bestows him with wings for good measure.
  • City by Clifford Simak has three distinct cases:
    • The dogs were surgically altered to have human-level intelligence and to speak. Somehow the surgery was made to be inheritable. This was done to provide a different point of view for problems humanity might face. The dogs got no hands, since there are robots to help them. When humans left Earth, sentient dogs remained there.
    • The ants were given ant-sized tools like carts and kept several years in a greenhouse, allowing them to pass experience to next generations.note  When the perpetrator discovered how far they got, he tried to destroy the anthill, but that didn't stop the ants' progress.
    • Other animals of dog-dominated Earth evolved on their own.
  • L. Neil Smith's Confederacy universe has intelligent great apes as part of the Confederacy, along with dolphins, porpoises, and orcas. In-universe, they were always intelligent, we just needed to learn how to communicate with them. In 'The Nagasaki Vector', we meet G. Howell Nauhautl ("the G. stands for Greenriver"), a cybernetically uplifted coyote.
  • Michael Swanwick's Darger and Surplus stories are set in a post-Utopian, post-A.I. rebellion future and uplifted animals feature quite often, including main character Surplus (an uplifted dog who's a swindler and lady's man)
  • W. Michael & Kathleen O'Neal Gear's Dark Inheritance uplifts chimps and bonobos in a modern setting. The authors are anthropologists so it goes into a lot of technical detail of how it was done, differences in psychology, various problems with zoonotic diseases, issues with uplifted chimps dealing with un-uplifted chimps, difficulties with something with the raw physical power of a chimp and the mentality of a human, and a lot of technical details. The chimps and bonobos in this cannot talk, only communicate via sign language or using a keyboard. It also shows various stages in the uplift process with different levels of change.
  • Darkeye is about the trials of a motley pack of uplifted canines trying to keep two human children alive in a city populated by uplifted canines who have a taste for human meat. The bouda - hyenas who sometimes spontaneously turn into humans - sometimes stop the transformation at the brain, as is the case with Vimbo. The webnovel also includes a unique inversion of the trope: the screamers, humans who voluntarily gave up their intelligence generations ago.
  • Discworld:
    • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Sir Terry Pratchett. Some rats gained intelligence by eating magic-laden garbage left by Unseen University, the Discworld's school of magic. Maurice the cat gained intelligence by eating one of the rats.
    • In earlier books, Gaspode the Wonder Dog is uplifted twice, by two different mechanisms (the latter being the result of magical detritus). It appears that all dogs are sentient in some way, but Gaspode has human-level intelligence and can actually speak Morporkian.
    • There's also Quoth the Raven, who appears to be substantially brighter that most birds, and can also speak to humans. Of course, he's still not that smart by human standards, and his attention span is not great either, especially when eyeballs are involved.
    • The Camels are a borderline case... they're highly intelligent mathematicians, but it isn't clear whether they naturally evolved that way or were magically granted sapience. Either way, they're smart enough to know not to let humans know how smart they are.
    • And speaking of sapience, there's the Luggage, a malevolent animated item of travel baggage made from sapient pearwood. Given that it is ambulatory and capable of reproduction, it might be considered a sort of uplifted tree (though as happens so often in the Discworld, the trees themselves seem to be intelligent, after a fashion...). That said, Interesting Times suggests that whatever process allows the Luggage to dynamically react to its environment is more a facsimile of thought than actual thought.
  • In the Dragaera novels, the reptiles known as jhereg were rendered intelligent and psychic as a sideline-experiment by the Jenoine.
  • Dragonriders of Pern has genetically engineered dolphins, though the human colonists of Pern forget that they're sentient for several thousand years. And the dragons themselves were engineered from native fire-lizards. Both species are telepathic but fire-lizards can only send feelings or images, dragons think in words.
  • The Eldraeverse has several uplifts, of which the dar-bandal (canids) are most prominent, but also mentioned are cetaceans, corvids, octopodes, rat swarms (rather than individual rats), and at least one outright alien species. No apes, though, aside from the Precursor-engineered eldrae themselves.
  • In David Weber's Empire from the Ashes Trilogy, cyborg cybernetic implants are standard issue for everyone, with advanced equipment for the military. Dog-adapted cybernetic enhancements are paired with genetic tinkering to make dogs smart enough to play chess, talk with an implant and the strength to hew Imperial Marines to shreds. Oh, and they have undying loyalty to the Imperial family.
  • The residents of Santa Chico in Fallen Dragon prefer Transhumanism and this trope to terraforming; Instead of replacing the original climate, fauna and flora with Earth equivalents, they exchange traits until they can coexist.
  • One otherwise extremely intelligent race in A Fire Upon the Deep relies on an archaic piece of cybernetics to give them a long-term memory, a device they're still so grateful to their ancient benefactors for that they consider tampering with its design tantamount to heresy. This turns out to have been a Really Bad Idea when its revealed their mysterious benefactors were actually the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination of the novel, using them as part of a Thanatos Gambit through a Mind Control back door feature of the devices.
  • Forest Kingdom: Book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon) introduces Chappie, a dog who was experimented on by the High Warlock as a pup and gained human intelligence and the ability to speak as a result. He still has all the same concerns as a normal dog though, and is less worried about things humans would care about.
  • Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music features several. Most notably, the uplifted kangaroo, Joey Castle.
  • Mikhail Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog involves a certain Doctor Preobrazhensky who implants human testicles and pituitary gland into a dog as part of his experiments in rejuvenation but accidentally turns the dog into a human instead. It becomes an issue because the new human takes so strongly to revolutionary ideas that he refuses to adapt to normal human standards of politeness and considerateness out of the assumption that they are too "bourgeois."
  • In John C. McLoughlin's novel The Helix and the Sword we find a Cheetah by the name of Pantolog Five engineered to serve as an encyclopedia and companion for the protagonist Dyson Tessier.
  • The Heralds of Valdemar setting has multiple prominent nonhuman sentient races aside from the divinely-created Companions. Kyree and dyheli are essentially wolves and antelopes, both very psychic but easily mistaken for normal animals visually. Hertasi are anthropomorphic lizards, tervardi are fragile-boned bird-humans, and then there are the gryphons. Gradually through the series it's revealed that millenia ago, when magical science was at its peak, mages just worked in teams to uplift animals, with the most extravagant alterations being made to the tervardi, which were literally large songbirds. The gryphons were simply created whole.
    • There are also partially uplifted animals, the Tayledras' bondbirds and the Shin'a'in battlesteeds. The former are birds of prey given greater size, intelligence, and psychic powers, the better to bond with people. The latter are huge, ugly horses with behavior so altered that they're in many ways more like dogs.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy people came to the conclusion that it was unethical to kill animals and eat them, so they genetically engineered creatures so that they would A) want to be eaten and B) be intelligent enough to verbally express this fact, thus removing any guilt one might feel while eating meat. Arthur Dent is horrified, of course, and opts to have a salad instead. The creature in question is extremely offended by this rejection.
  • In Cory Doctorow's short story, I, Rowboat, one of the hobbies of members of the transHuman race (and some robots) is uplifting individuals of a species to see what happens. The main antagonist of the story is an uplifted coral reef. By the end of the story, we find that the reef has been uplifted several times in the past and each time manages to kill itself off before regenerating in a non-sentient form.
  • Cordwainer Smith's 'Instrumentality' series features the Underpeople, and their struggle for equal rights.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau is probably the Ur-Example of "uplifting" in sci-fi, albeit not a particularly successful variant of the procedure.
  • Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse has a variation, where aliens start uplifting Technically Living Zombies and have to reconstruct a language for them. "Cured humans" still have black blood, are very difficult to kill, are not as intelligent as their natural human ancestors, and still have a chance of reverting back to animals under the right circumstances. The galactic community tends to think of them as pitiable creatures at best and barely-controlled flesh-eating monsters at worst, and within a couple months of uplift the Krakau "curing" them put them to work as shock troops and menial workers in their military. Some humans are happier about this than others.
  • L. Sprague de Camp wrote a series of short stories about "Johnny Black", a black bear given human-level intelligence by an experimental process that increased the efficiency of his synapses.
  • Journey to Chaos: This trope is the difference between the animals of Eric's non-magical homeworld (Threa) and the animals of the magical world that he finds himself in (Tariatla). There's a certain level of mana saturation that increases the intelligence of animals to a human level. While they still can't communicate with humans, this is more of a language barrier than anything else and in any case it is resolved by Zaticana, the goddess of languages.
  • A variation of this occurs in Garth Nix's fantasy series The Keys to the Kingdom. The Raised Rats were brought to the House by the Piper, who gave them speech, intelligence, and made them much bigger. They are a rather mercantile people who trade their services for information (although they also remain loyal to the Piper), and their Steampunk technology is damn impressive.
  • The Maximum Ride books have Total, a genetically engineered black Scottish Terrier who turns out to talk in the second book, and who eventually becomes a seventh member of the Flock.
  • Played with in The Migax Cycle. Skeefers were altered to make their brains function more closely to a human's, but they were sapient before and don't consider it uplifting. On the other hand, the same traditions of Uplift also force them to give humanity a modicum of respect, as patrons of not one but two sapient species. Had humanity not by sheer coincidence started uplifting dolphins and chimps before First Contact, we might have been forced to become clients of another (likely abusive) species or even exterminated for ecological mismanagement.
  • S. Andrew Swann's Moreau Series where animals are second-class citizens in the mid-21st century.
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and related books have the eponymous Rats, as well as a group of mice. Notable in its merely modern setting. A series of injections, one mentioned to contain DNA, both increased their intelligence so they could read and understand, and increased their lifespan so the scientists would have time to see what that intelligence could do. The scientists found out what happens when you don't properly secure tools around intelligent rats.
  • In Nexus Nine humanity uplifted dogs and cats, and a few thousand years later the Tri-Galactic Union humanity's clients founded has contacted animalistic aliens that they believe were also seeded by their patron race.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles:
  • In the climax of Perelandra, Tor announces as part of his plans for the new civilization of Venus that they will raise up the brighter species of animal until they become hnau — Old Solar for "sapient beings".
  • Perry Rhodan - Genetic modified apes. The terran government wants to give them the right to vote, but they refused repeatedly.
  • Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis had man's best friend uplifted to child-like sapience.
  • In the Rats, Bats and Vats duology, the titular animals are genetically engineered slave-soldiers granted human-like intelligence by means of cybernetic brain implants provided by the alien Korozhets. Both were created to help humanity defend itself against the insectoid Magha, and are considered less than optimal, due to their inherently Blue-and-Orange Morality — this further causes them to be treated as property. Their "soft-cyber" implants also compel them to obey orders given by the Korozhets, who are secretly masterminding the whole war with the intent of conquering the planet and taking humanity as slaves. They also mean that both species can engage in Brain Uploading, allowing for a kind of Resurrective Immortality by having their soft-cybers retrieved and installed in new bodies.
  • Most of the GELFs in the Red Dwarf novels are humanoid Mix-and-Match Critters;
    • Dingotangs are dingos crossed with orangutans.
    • Dolochimps have the heads of dolphins, the bodies of chimpanzees and the legs of giant locusts.
    • Alberogs have the heads of albatrosses, the bodies of bears and the legs of giant frogs.
    • Snugiraffes have the heads of cobras, the bodies of giant slugs and the legs of giraffes.
    • There's also another unnamed race of uplifted pigs.
    • In the Smegazine comic story, Evolution, the E-accelerator turns a bacon sandwich into a pig, then into a humanoid woman. In disgusted response to Lister trying to eat her when she was a sandwich and flirt with her as a woman, she goes into stasis until the rest of the pigs evolve to her level.
  • 'Superchimps' or 'simps' (an in-universe misnomer - they're uplifted monkeys, not apes) appear in some Arthur C. Clarke works, including Rendezvous with Rama. Clarke also used this theme with respect to humanity itself in 2001. The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens took a tribe of apes and manipulated their intelligence, planting the seeds of modern man. They then took a modern man, and uplifted him to create a Star Child.
  • Rivers of London has a society of talking foxes, who have been magically enhanced to have enlarged brains and human larynxes. They also, for some reason, are highly trained in spycraft and tend to view everything as a spy mission. This presumably has some connection to the reason they were created, but they refuse to discuss this with the main characters because it's classified.
  • Sirius, by British philosopher-turned-SF-writer Olaf Stapledon, was one of the first attempts to seriously imagine what it might be like to be an uplifted animal—to try to get inside the head of such a creature. In this case, the first of its kind, a dog, named after the "dog star", Sirius.
  • The Choblik race from the Star Trek Novel Verse. Choblik today are cyborgs; they were previously merely smarter-than-usual woodland creatures. The "Great Builders" installed their implants, artificially giving them sapience. This unknown race of Builders are considered the Choblik equivalent of "gods". Torvig Bu-kar-nguv from Star Trek: Titan is a Choblik.
  • In Star Trek: Vanguard, it's revealed that the Tholians were also originally this, gaining sapience after being "domesticated" by the Shedai.
  • In Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: a polar bear commands a space station
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Taken trilogy, one of the main characters is a dog named George who has been abducted by aliens and given human-level intelligence and the ability to communicate.
  • The Tortall Universe has a fantasy version thanks to events in The Immortals. As a side-effect of her immensely powerful wild magic, Daine makes any animal that spends an extended amount of time in her company more intelligent even if she doesn't interact with it. If she does, it gets smarter faster—and since she lives in the Palace for a while, every animal there is spookily intelligent (and very helpful to Page Keladry.) She can do it deliberately but on the whole dislikes this happening because it just makes life more difficult for them. The intelligence can range from full sentience (her pony Cloud is on this level thanks to biting her once and ingesting a bit of blood) to just smarter than average.
  • The novel Tuskers has the descendants of an escaped javelina (an animal related to pigs that's found from Arizona to Brazil, also known as a peccary) become human-hating genius killing machines who lead an army of their kind on a small Arizona town.
  • The Dean Koontz novel Watchers features an uplifted golden retriever with near-human intelligence. He can't talk, so he spells out words using a few games worth of Scrabble tiles.
  • In Simon Hawke's Wizard series, thaumagenes are augmented pets created by Magitek-powered genetic engineering. All are sentient and capable of speech, and some also exhibit Mix-and-Match Critter or Mechanical Lifeform traits.
  • Word of Mouse: Isaiah and his family are all lab animals who have been subjected to experimentation. One of the side-effects of it is being able to read and write words, and communicate with humans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The eponymous character of the PBS children's show Zoboomafoo (a sifaka lemur) is sapient, but won't talk until after he's had his snack.
  • VR Troopers: Jeb, Ryan's pet Redbone Coonhound, gained human intelligence and speech when he was accidentally caught in a power surge in their base in the series opener.
  • Subverted by Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch who is a human transformed into a cat as punishment for past misdeeds.
  • Subverted by Fiji's cat on Midnight, Texas. In season 1 we're meant to think he's her familiar. In season 2 we learn he's actually a human transformed by Fiji's aunt, his former lover, to protect him from a dark curse.


  • The title character in Seymour the Fractal Cat is granted intelligence and the ability to speak to humans (or, more precisely, to snark at them) by a sentient computer network, all as part of their somewhat quirky plan for world domination.

    Myths & Religion 
  • A particularly grisly variant is found in Thai folklore, where it is believed that a tiger can gain human intelligence and/or become a weretiger by eating human flesh.
  • In a similar vein, the Danish believed that ravens who ate the body of a chieftain became valravn, with human intelligence and supernatural powers.


    Tabletop Games 
  • After the Bomb features an apocalypse caused by a Synthetic Plague that wiped out most of humanity and accidentally spliced human genes into several animal species who have inherited the earth in the aftermath.
  • Dolphins and Orcas are considered somewhere along the lines of Noble Savages and allies by the Good seafaring civilizations of Rifts. Their governments actually produce Powered Armor that can be used by Dolphins and smaller whales, and assigned when they're working for them. The game also features Dog Boys, uplifted dogs created by the Coalition to serve as scouts and shock troops.
  • The Ringworld game by Chaosium (based on Larry Niven's book series) has dolphins as playable characters. They can move around using powered suits.
  • GURPS Transhuman Space has Doolittle Dolphins and K-10A Postcanines, amongst others.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3rd Edition has the awaken spell, which grants a normal animal human Intelligence and a Charisma bonus, and one or more languages. It also changes their type from "Animal" to "Magical Beast", so it no longer counts as an animal for most purposes. For example, a Friend to All Living Things druid can no longer order it around, he needs to use Diplomacy just like he would for a human. Although they are by default friendly toward the druid that awakened them.
    • In the Ravenloft setting, the darklord Urik von Kharkov began life as a black leopard, but was transformed into a human by an evil wizard for use as a shapechanging assassin. That was just the start of his troubles.
    • On the D&D Wiki, someone posted an Uplift NPC class. It's been called one of the worst classes ever made for D&D.
    • This is the backstory for the Thri-Keen in the Nentir Vale setting, uplifted from lowly sand beetles by a very powerful Primal Spirit.
    • The book "Savage Species" also has this in the form of a template a DM or player can apply to a "base animal". The template is even literally called "Uplifted Animal".
  • d20 Modern:
    • In this system we are given the Moreau, which are genetic/magically uplifted animals from tigers to rats to orcas used for military purposes.
    • In the Urban Arcana setting, it is possible to give sentience to an animal or plant, increasing his/her Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma, and even giving him the ability to speak. Doing so is a complex incantation, and serve little purpose except for the more creative players/game masters.
  • Exalted:
    • Haltan ata-beasts and san-beasts are an example of this.
    • Sidereals can uplift their animal familiars, turning them into little gods.
    • The Lunar exalts can achieve this through the medium of Power Perversion Potential... they turn themselves into animals, and then have sex with various other animals. The offspring can be rather more intelligent than at least one of their parents...
  • Eclipse Phase has uplifted apes of all kinds, dolphins, parrots, crows, octopi, orcas, whales, and pigs all of which are entirely common player character backgrounds. Though actual biological neo-cetaceans aren't too common after the Fall since there aren't very many oceans left, a lot of them had to re-sleeve in more common human morphs. There are also some morph designers working on synthetic bodies for various uplifts, such as the takko (a synthmorph shaped like an octopus), and whales who really want to swim in something can sleeve into a surya, which is designed to operate on the surface of the Sun.
    • Uplifted elephants are mentioned, but they went extinct during the Fall.
    • There are also "smart" animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and monkeys who tend to have vocabularies of less than a hundred words.
    • The TITANs had their own projects along these lines, which gave us the Ny'knikiin, captured and mutilated "pod" morphs (essentially a synthmorph/biomorph mix) inhabited by the minds of uplifted mantis shrimp. Unlike uplifted animals that are part of transhumanity, Ny'knikiin are Always Chaotic Evil and are deeply sadistic (although strangely not infected with The Virus).
  • Pugmire is a Humanity's Wake setting populated by multiple species uplifted by Man before their extinction/ascension/disappearance. The dogs of the Pugmire Empire have attained a roughly medieval state while treating salvaged human technology as magic, with the cats of the Monarchies of Mau in a similar state, and the beastiary also includes sapient rats, badgers, and lizards.
  • Traveller has uplifted apes and dolphins (though you hardly hear about them), and the Vargr were genetically engineered by the Ancients from wolves.
  • Feng Shui has primates that were given human intelligence by the Architects of the Flesh, a precursor to the arcanowave technology they would later develop. The apes Turned Against Their Masters and now work with the few humans of 2056 that are immune to the influence of Chi as the Jammers.
  • Mindjammer has "xenomorphs", not to be confused with the few actual aliens in the setting, which are produced from a variety of species and were originally created as slaves, on some worlds they still are. However they've established many colonies of their own such as the Sentience Alliance.
  • Thunderscape: Ferrans are a playable race. Wizards created them as slaves by giving traits of standard fantasy races to animals. Ferrans have won their freedom a century later with a bloody civil war. There are actually 3 branches of them: mammals (most common), birds (nearly wiped out) and reptiles (rare because of low birth rate), ferrans can only reproduce with ferrans of the same branch. However, they aren't the only Beast Folk on Aden, just the most human-like and outwardly diverse.
  • The Chronicles of Aeres: The beast-god Tolgamyr was unable to create his own race from scratch like his counterparts. He discovered a workaround and created his own race of followers, the Wilderkind, by voluntarily granting humanoid forms and intelligence to the beasts of the Gruncrist Forest where he dwelled. There are rumors of Talking Animals, the rare remnants of a Flawed Prototype of the ritual. He later discovered he could also transform humans into Wilderkind as well, granting this as a boon to the settlers of the Gruncrist so they would have the strength they needed to repel an army of orcs and goblins. Tolgamyr is known to continue to uplift animals into Wilderkind even in the present day, although both "origins" of Wilderkind are true-breeding.

    Video Games 
  • Crash Bandicoot, is along with all of the other seen and talking representatives of the (mostly) Australian fauna a result of the animals becoming (mostly) intelligent thanks to Doctor Neo Cortex's experimenting with the purpose of creating an obedient army to take over the world. Which means that they can all call him Pa.
  • You can hear two gangsters talk about Dogmentation in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
  • Dragon Age features the Mabari. A very large, muscular dog breed, they were bred by the Tevinter Imperium using magic and meant as war dogs. They have high enough intelligence to strategize and to understand complex human speech (but are ultimately still dogs in personality). When they were used to invade the Alamarri tribes (the ancestors of modern Ferelden), the dogs turned against their Tevinter masters and sided with the Alamarri. The Mabari has been a symbol of Ferelden ever since. In the second game, Varric has managed to teach the Hawkes' mabari how to play a card game, and the pooch is apparently quite good at it (except when he wags his tail when he has a good hand.)
  • Dragon Quest IV: Rosehill is full of beasts turned into sentient, talking animals, courtesy of Psaro's Secret of Evolution.
  • The Super Suit that made Earthworm Jim has its A.I. interact with the wearer's brain in an entirely symbiotic relationship. When it fell into the planet Earth it landed straight on the humblest of creatures, a common earthworm that like all earthworms spent its life crawling deep in the soil and avoiding birds of prey. As it didn't find much of a brain to begin with, some of its energy waves were passed on to the worm, leading to its body growing larger and it developing human-sized eyes, a mouth and a (basic) brain. Thus Jim the champion of annelids was born.
  • When the dolphins' most noble traits, among them Intelligence, are stolen in Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, they turn into dumb animals. Humans artificially uplift them in the Man's Nightmare levels. Well, the story was written by David Brin...
  • In Endless Legend and Endless Space, the Endless uplifted many species before their civilization was destroyed in a massive civil war. The Drakken of Legend are a race of dragon-like creatures that were uplifted, which has caused the Drakken to revere the Endless and study the artifacts left behind. Dust has the power to grant sentience, sapience, and emotions in animals, which is seen with the Necrophages of Legend and the Cravers of Space, both of which are normally unthinking killing machines. It can also uplift robots, as seen with the Automatons in Endless Space, which gained true sentience from contact with Dust in a derelict Endless freighter.
  • EXTRAPOWER: King Leo, a 200-year-old talking lion who owes his sentience to a blessing of the flame princess.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The Team Pet Fou reveals at the very end of the first storyline that he was Obfuscating Stupidity this whole time as he actually became sapient long ago via his power of Comparison. If humans are in conflict with another over something, envy each other, or denigrate their own shortcomings, he will instinctively leech onto that negativity to feed himself and eventually become sapient. However, if he gives up all that consumed power for an act like revival from the dead, he will revert back to non-sapience. It's later implied that this isn't as big of a sacrifice as it seems since he just starts feeding himself once he's around humans again and is becoming sapient once more.
    • Lü Bu's legendary horse Red Hare is eventually summoned as a Servant. Red Hare gains the ability to speak, and comments that he was an ordinary horse before the summoning.
    • The god Daikokuten granted mice intelligence and the ability to speak to serve him. The mice eventually get summoned as Servants.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Stormblood has the beings known as auspices, foremost among them the Four Lords: animals that somehow lived to be over a thousand years old, at which point they underwent a "change" that granted them increased intelligence and powerful magic.
    • In Shadowbringers, amaro who live a long time become known as tupaq amaro, able to speak in human languages. They were granted sapience by mages in ancient times to better serve them, but the enchantment went dormant over the ages, reverting them to mere animals; however, every once in a while an amaro reawakens their intelligence.
  • This is the backstory of Hatoful Boyfriend. In the fight against a particularly deadly breed of the Avian Flu virus, humans created a virus to annihilate birds, who were unwittingly spreading it. But while the virus killed plenty of birds it increased the intelligence of the survivors, doves and pigeons among the first affected. By the time the story begins, humanity has been vastly reduced and the society is now dominated by the entire columbidae genus, with other species having joined the uplifting - the Prime Minister of Japan is a shoebill stork and the first puffin to hold office has recently been elected. The phenomenon is still ongoing: there are still wild birds, but even those are changing too. Feather Fingers is in effect, the birds seem somewhat larger, and they live longer, though pigeons still have decidedly shorter lifespans than humans.
  • Inherit the Earth is set in a medieval world populated by Beast Men and set against the backdrop of a ruins of human civilization.
  • The cybernetic S'pht in Marathon were uplifted so long ago, they weren't even aware of being cyborgs, imagining their machine implants to simply be organs like any other. On examining naturally sentient creatures after first contact, they're horrified at the realization that the “birthing operation” may be all that separates them from from the brutish beasts of their homeworld.
  • In the Mass Effect universe these are mentioned as being regulated, though allowed in more permissible regions, where they blur the line between "property" and "sapient being."
  • Overwatch:
    • Winston is a genetically-altered super-intelligent gorilla, part of a troop of uplifted gorillas living in an experimental moon colony. The others revolted against their human masters, forcing Winston to flee to Earth and join up with Overwatch.
    • Hammond, AKA "Wrecking Ball", is a super-intelligent hamster who hitched a ride to Earth alongside Winston. He crash-landed in the Australian Outback, and spent some time fighting in mech battles using his modified escape pod.
  • Several characters in RuneScape are animals or fantastic creatures of animal-equivalent intelligence that have been uplifted to sapience by divine power. Some even got to skip human-equivalency and went straight to godhood themselves.
    • The Guardians of Guthix include the green tree python Juna, the gnomish war tortoise Valluta, the earwig Fiara, the automaton Cres, and the demonic Ocellus. All of these were granted sapience and powers by Guthix to maintain the banishment of gods from the world in his absence (he entered hibernation to abide by his own banishment); all but Ocellus were given precise roles in this mandate.
    • Zaros raised the vampyres from a pack-hunting animal to the civilized menace of Morytania. He also personally raised Nex from a barely-sentient Nihil (a race of Zaros's own creation, which he considered failures). If you ask him about Ocellus, Zaros is surprised to learn his old pet demon gained sapience and became another god's enforcer.
    • Of the desert pantheon, Tumeken the sun god raised three animals directly to godhood and adopted them (along with Het, who was originally human) as siblings to his own children. Scabaras was originally a scarab, Crondis a river crocodile, and Apmeken a desert monkey.
    • The non-sapient gorilla Marimbo became a goddess after a god of merriment challenged her to a drinking contest, and drank himself to death trying to keep up with her. It's implied that they were drinking from the Elder Horn.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future gives us "Subject 3" a rabbit who was experimented on to be able to walk bipedal and talk. Though this has not only given him a pissed off attitude 24/7 but a nasty outlook on life and hatred towards all humans. Though he's The Woobie if anything.
  • In SimEarth, it is possible to do this to any creature, including prokaryotes, carniferns, and trichordates.
  • The space stage in Spore allows you to use a Monolith item to uplift a species on a planet, causing that species to, after going through the creature, tribal, and civilization stages, become a new space empire that you can deal with.
  • Most of the space-faring species encountered in Starcom: Nexus are suspiciously similar to Earth animals. Later on, the player can find several separate pieces of information strongly hinting that the Morningstar was carrying several animal species from Earth when it went back 12 billion years to the early Milky-Way. Those animals were already subjects of rudimentary intelligence-enhancing tests carried out on the Morningstar; they apparently got loose in one way or another, and over a very long period of time afterwards managed to evolve into fully-sentient races and spread throughout the galaxy.
  • Uplifting nearly-sentient animals is a possibility in Stellaris. Typically it's so a xenophilic empire can integrate a pre-sentient with desirable traits or a planet preference opposite the uplifter's own, like an ocean world native uplifting a species from a desert world. Or uplifting anything hardcore enough to survive a Tomb World. Xenophobic and/or Authoritarian empires may also uplift near-sentient animals, although their motivations are likely far more nefarious.
  • The Sun at Night stars a heavily armed cybernetic talking dog from space who aids a rebellion against the Soviet Union.
  • Tekken: The series features several uplifted animals as part of the martial arts tournament: Kuma and Kuma Two are both brown bears that are the pets of Heihachi Mishima, Panda is a panda who serves as the bodyguard of Ling Xiaoyu, and Rodger the kangaroo, his son Roger Junior (and Rodger Jr's unnamed mother) as well as Alex the velociraptor are all the results of genetic experimentation.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Ethereals routinely go about the galaxy, pulling a Technology Uplift on sentient species to see if they can master "the Gift" without sacrificing their physical robustness, and drafting those who fail (i.e. every species to date) into their empire. With the Chryssalids, they tried to uplift a pre-sentient race... and failed spectacularly, resulting in a species of absurdly lethal Explosive Breeders. At that point, the Ethereals more or less gave up and used the Chryssalids as nothing more than living terror weapons.
  • Animals who become youkai in Yo-Kai Watch turn into Funny Animals. Jibanyan was a Nearly Normal Animal in life named "Rudy" ("Akamaru" in Japan) but is a bipedal, talking cat currently.

    Web Comics 
  • The rabbits of AntiBunny are a species born from escaped lab rabbits exposed to "U-cells." This caused them to rapidly evolve, becoming their own distinct species of sapient rabbits known as Lagosapiens. Almost no one knows about this. Every so often one of them also develops psychic powers.
  • An Uplifted cat and dog appear in Buck Godot Zapgun For Hire.
  • Epiphany has not only an entire world populated by Uplifted Animals, it shows that the gods uplifted said animals as a way to spite them.
  • Fifine: Eventually Fifine and company find proof of the existence of humans, only to discover that they are all the descendants of uplifts. Animals were uplifted to be the companion to the last human child.
  • In the Freefall setting, chimpanzees were the first to be uplifted, but it didn't work very well, since they turned out to be natural sociopaths. Main character Florence is an uplifted red wolf, part of an experimental breed — only 14 of them exist so far, out of an initial batch of 20 created. It has since been revealed that her creator, Dr. Bowman, is the last surviving chimp uplift. In the Freefall universe, it's not just animals that are uplifted. Dr. Bowman, Mad Scientist extraordinaire, used his design to uplift robots. Cue panic in three, two...
  • Girl Genius:
    • Krosp the talking cat was given human intelligence by a Mad Scientist who intended him to become the "Emperor of All Cats" and use his cat army as spies and saboteurs. This didn't work, because, despite understanding and accepting his authority just fine, normal cats can't understand complex concepts and have very short attention spans. This ultimately deemed Krosp a failure and he was slated to be terminated, but Krosp was smart enough to deduce his impending fate and escaped, and eventually became a follower and advisor to Agatha, the titular heroine.
    • The Sparkhounds, in service to Martellus Von Blitzengaard, count as well. Though they're nowhere near as mentally acute as Krosp was made to be, they're still smarter (and larger and stronger) than a regular dog. He also uplifts an as-yet-unnamed female cat, who annoys Krosp (on purpose), and serves Martellus as Agatha's weasel serves her.
    • The Bear soldiers are another group of intelligent animals, close to human, who were made by Martellus's mentor, Krosp's creator, who made them loyal to him as well.
  • In Kevin & Kell, it is suggested that birds were uplifted in our far future. When Humans ruined Earth, the birds went back in time and used an intelligence ray to uplift all animals, leading to animals evolving in the place of humans.
  • In Narbonic superintelligent gerbil Artie objects to the hierarchal implications of "uplifted".
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Uplifted gorillas feature among Earth's citizens and armies. Later, a couple join Tagon's Toughs.
    • Elephants have been uplifted at least twice. The first round got intelligence; the second round also got a decreased size, the ability to stand upright, and hands. A member of the latter signs up with Tagon's Toughs.
    • In addition, a couple of intelligent chimps have been seen (one of whom was a corrupt judge).
    • Uplifted dolphins have been mentioned, including as participants in the UN.
    • Landon, a polar bear, was an officer in an order of non-violent peacekeepers, and later worked as UNS embassy security.
    • According to the RPG the alien Polyflorians were uplifted by the Gzeaul.
    • The Frellenti have genetic markers suggesting genetic tampering long ago but nobody knows who did it.
    • Kreely had this happen completely by accident; they grow up sapient if they're infected with a certain bacteria soon after hatching, but they encountered the bacteria completely by chance when they were already spread around the galaxy as food animals (their culture sees no moral issue with treating the non-sapient ones as just animals, leading to Carnivore Confusion among other races).
  • Sheldon: One of Sheldon's early experiments resulted in his pet duck Arthur gaining human intelligence and the ability to speak.
  • Frog of Sluggy Freelance is one that was made accidentally. He was affected by a bug that would increase intelligence at the expense of social ability when it afflicted humans. One bug affected him, and it apparently just turned him into a frog with an average human's level of intelligence.
  • In Terinu Teri's race were uplifted from alien animals by the Varn for their ability to generate massive amounts of electricity.
  • UNA Frontiers has the G.E.M.'s, Genetically Engineered Morgans, a gene-tinkered breed of horses incorporating cetacean and wolf genes to boost their intelligence and alter their behavior from "herd" to "pack" mode. An unexpected byproduct was the eventual development of psychic abilities as well, allowing a few of them to draw on the brain power of associated humans.
  • Unity is centered around a generation ship populated by sapient descendants of terrestrial animals.

    Web Original 
  • Orion's Arm takes the idea of making unintelligent species intelligent (as in, human-level) to an extreme, with over 138,000 Earth species as well as alien species uplifted, including even plants, fungi, protists and colonial prokaryotes. The in-universe philosophy of pan-sophontism holds that all life should be uplifted to sentience.
  • The progenitors of the Canis family in Wonder City Stories were uplifted wolves created by a supervillain before they gained human forms.
  • In Sailor Nothing, Himei's normal kitten Dusty is given sentience and the ability to talk by Magnificent Kamen.

    Western Animation 
  • Centaurworld: Horse was a regular horse in her own world, but finds she's capable of not only speech in Centaurworld, but has multiple dimensions of movement (being able to point "like a person") and is literate, knowing what letters are now. She's naturally confused by all of it.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998), Professor Utonium accidentally does this to his pet chimpanzee, who would become the girls' arch-enemy Mojo Jojo. Mojo's first scheme (chronologically) is to do the same with all of the primates in the local zoo, creating a swarm of villains themed on their species, such as Hota Wota, a Japanese snow monkey. The Talking Dog may be an example too.
  • Speaking of which, Samurai Jack shows the Canine Archeologists in the second episode, taking Professor Ut-er, Jack-through the Ruins of what looks to be the City of Townsville. By now, the Talking Dogs can walk upright and even have British titles.
  • And rounding out Cartoon Cartoons worked on by Genndy Tartakovsky, an episode of Dexter's Laboratory sees Dexter give a Yellow Lab the ability to talk with one his of machines in order to understand why the animal is freaking out over it. It turns out that it's not because there's something wrong with it, the appearance just freaks the dog out. The Labrador keeps his ability to talk too, which winds up backfiring for Dexter since he refuses to shut up.
  • The eponymous character of Martha Speaks apparently gained her ability to talk from having alphabet soup go into her brain instead of her stomach. And you know how much trouble you can get into when things go to your head. Though while it doesn't make much sense to begin with, it makes even less sense that, if the soup is missing certain letters, she would not be able to say said letters causing her speech to become gibberish, and if she is fed from the can being open upside down, it causes her to say the opposite of what she means, and if she eats alphabet soup from another language she can only speak that language until it wears off. And it apparently only works with one certain brand.
  • According to their show's Expository Theme Tune, Pinky and the Brain are sapient because "their genes have been spliced". With what is never explained.
  • When they return in Animaniacs (2020), Brain creates an uplifted animal of his own. During a senatorial bid, he infuses Julia, an ordinary female lab mouse, with artifacts from famous First Ladies past. It works perfectly, except that Julia is sane and not evil and thus seizes control of the campaign from him until his attempts to mind-control her go awry, causing her to do a Face–Heel Turn and become his vengeful Arch-Enemy.
  • Futurama:
    • Fry's college roommate was a monkey uplifted by the hat Professor Farnsworth gave him. He eventually grows to dislike his intellect and is happy at the end of the episode when the hat is damaged and makes him just smart enough to become an executive at Fox.
    • A post-revival episode introduces Dr. Banjo, an orangutan and creationism activist.
    • Furthermore, a later episode largely takes place on an entire planet of uplifted apes and monkeys, including Gunther (Fry's aforementioned roommate) and Dr. Banjo.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball not only animals but also plants and things that aren't alive at all can become Funny Animals because of the world they live in, although it seem a lot of them are just this way because their parents were. Darwin, who was a pet goldfish before sprouting legs, is the only character explicitly stated to have gained intelligence this way.
  • The Leopard Men from The Legend of Tarzan were all made sapient by Queen La's dark magic. When La is killed in their second appearance in their show, the magic spell cast upon them is broken, and as a result they all turn back into ordinary leopards.
  • The cattle in Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, thanks to a meteorite hitting their cow pasture.
  • Road Rovers:
    • The title characters of Road Rovers except Muzzle. They can fly planes, pilot boats and submarines, and perform fairly complex mathematical equations on the fly. Collen's enhanced intelligence partially remains even in the episode where she's turned into a werewolf.
    • It's implied that Muzzle cannot be fully "uplifted" due to being completely insane. Turns out it's because he was driven insane by a shoddy knockoff of the uplifting technology.
    • It's later revealed that General Parvo is an uplifted cat, a result of the Master's shady assistant performing unauthorized tests. The helmet is to hide the ears.
    • Groomer successfully uplifted three cats at one point, and they were quite loyal to her. The Road Rovers busted it up, though.
  • In the episode "Deep Space Homer" of The Simpsons, one of the secrets NASA considered revealing to boost their popularity was that all of the chimpanzees they sent into space came back superintelligent. The idea is shot down by one of the heads of NASA who is one of these chimps.
  • Batman Beyond had a gorilla being used as a test subject for an intelligence-boosting experiment Gone Horribly Right. The gorilla is uplifted to roughly human intelligence, and promptly goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the poacher that kidnapped him and his mother.
  • In Johnny Test, Johnny's pet dog Dukey was originally filthy and untrained, and Johnny had no desire to train him, but also wanted him as his best friend. So his Super Genius SistersTM genetically modified him to talk, walk on his hind legs, and be "very civilized" (they also made him a master martial artist and accountant). Dukey became the sidekick for all of Johnny's adventures. He's also the voice of reason, not just to Johnny but his sisters as well, constantly calling their experiments unsafe, insane, and pointing out that everyone on the show is pretty much nuts.
  • The sub plot of the Rick and Morty episode "Lawnmower Dog" has Morty's father Jerry frustrated by Morty's dog, Snuffles, ignoring commands, peeing inside, and constantly begging to go out and come back inside over and over for no reason. Jerry asks Rick for a device to make the dog smarter which Rick, reluctantly, agrees to, giving Snuffles a helmet that boosts his intelligence. At first, it works perfectly, the dog suddenly understands all their commands, even ones it hasn't been trained with at all. However, we learn that Rick originally set the helmet to operate well below its full potential, and after Snuffles realizes and figures out how to crank it up to 100% (putting in a second double-a battery), he becomes intelligent enough to create a device that allows him to speak English, then a Mini-Mecha, which he uses to replicate his helmet and create an army of superintelligent canines. It doesn't help that he's still pretty sore at Morty's family over being recently neutered.
    Snuffles: Where are my testicles, Summer? They were removed. Where have they gone?
    Summer: Oh... wow... that's an intense line of questioning, Snuffles.
    Snuffles: Do NOT call me that. "Snuffles" was my slave name. You shall now call me "Snowball", because my fur is pretty, and white.
  • On Planet Sheen, apparently the atmosphere of Zeenu does this. One of the main characters is a chimp from the old space program who crashed there and gradually developed sentience, and in one episode they find another Earth primate, this one from the Russian space program, who did as well.
  • Gravity Falls' second Halloween Episode has a segment where Mabel's pet pig Waddles becomes a genius after eating a magic mushroom. He eventually realizes that despite the great things he could do with his newfound intelligence, he'd be sacrificing the time he spends with Mabel, so he reverts himself back to normal.
  • Adventure Time:
    • This evidently happened on a planetary scale some time in the thousand years between the fall of human civilization and the time the show is set. Sapient non-human animals are now basically the norm and are commonplace on Ooo; in particular, all dogs are now like people, and non-anthropomorphic dogs are only seen in locations outside of Ooo (such as Marceline's zombie poodle, which was born before Ooo existed, or the alternate Jake in the Farmworld timeline where Ooo never came to be). This is lampshaded by a character who froze herself from non-magical human times and finds herself in Ooo now.
      Patience St. Pim: Yo, dogs didn't used to talk! Did you know that?!
    • The Vampire King is a perfectly ordinary, non-sapient lion...who was made anthropomorphic and highly intelligent when he became a vampire. When the vampirism is cured, back to being a dumb kitty he goes, although he evidently prefers it that way.
    • The Cretaceous ice elemental Evergreen's apprentice was a talking green dinosaur named Gunther, and it's offhandedly mentioned by Evergreen that he stole an egg from a dinosaur nest and mutated the embryo's brain to create Gunther.
  • Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys is about a group of non-human primates uplifted by a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Wishfart: One of the main characters is a talking puffin named, well, Puffin, who gained speech capacity and intelligence when Dez used his wishing powers on him.
  • D.N. Ace, another Nelvana series, has Mendel, a squirrel who gained the ability to talk (and Resurrective Immortality) after being hit by a Magic Meteor.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power:
    • The original show has it happen when Spirit was first transformed into Swift Wind to be She-Ra's animal sidekick. Though it's implied that this is actually a reverse of Battle Cat's situation: Swift Wind is his true form, looking like a normal horse is just a disguise. This may be why Spirit can still talk when he's not a winged unicorn.
    • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Swift Wind used to be an ordinary horse until Adora accidentally turned him into a Winged Unicorn, which also gave him the ability to speak.
    I've had the ability to form complex thoughts for, like, a week, and even I know you can't help anyone by hiding.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) story mentioned above was written for the unmade third season of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). The main difference being that Robotnik and Snively were to be the only remaining humans due to being off-planet at the time.
  • Conan the Adventurer: Tired of the incompetence of both the Snake Men and his own minion Drix, Ram-Amon used the power of Set to anthropomorphize a common Stygian Gila Monster, hoping to create a much deadlier, more intelligent villain. He succeeded.
  • Love, Death & Robots: In "Three Robots", cats have been given thumbs and the ability to speak like humans shortly before they ended human civilization.
  • In DuckTales (2017), the Rescue Rangers are reimagined as this, initially appearing as average rodents before getting shot with a gun that makes them intelligent.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts takes place in a future post-apocalyptic Earth where all animals have been mutated, with many of them developing sentience. In season two, it is revealed that a group of human scientists have been working to figure out what caused this so they can reverse the process. Lio and Song succeed in uplifting an animal, but hide that information because they realize it would be wrong to reverse the process.


Video Example(s):


Birth of Wrath-Amon

In an attempt to gain a more competent minion, Ram-Amon transformed his pet Stygian Gila Monster into a powerful, evil, and intelligent anthropomorphic lizard. Unfortunately, his attempt worked too well as his new minion usurped him, becoming known as...Wrath-Amon.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / UpliftedAnimal

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