Humans were a species of sentient primates. (COMIC: The Monster Upstairs) Though humans could trace their evolutionary past to Earth, (TV: The Sun Makers, AUDIO: Bloodtide) many billions of humans were born on other worlds after humanity spread through the cosmos. (TV: New Earth) Humans became so widespread that they eventually came to emphasise their relationship to worlds other than Earth, choosing to think of themselves not as Earthlings, but as Venusians and Martians. (PROSE: The Dalek Book) In the age when humans established colonies on other planets, Earthborn was used to refer to humans who were born on the homeworld. (PROSE: Ten Little Aliens) Their genetics gradually altered as they "mingled" with other species. (TV: The End of the World)
Earthbound or Earth-identifying humans went by many names over Earth's long history. For a time, they were commonly called Tellurians or Terrans — both derived from alternate names for Earth. (TV: Carnival of Monsters, The Two Doctors) Earthling was also sometimes used, such as by the Fifth Doctor (TV: Four to Doomsday) and the Master. (TV: The Sound of Drums) Ape, a reference to humans' evolutionary cousins, was a pejorative alternative particularly favoured by Silurians (TV: The Hungry Earth, Deep Breath) and, especially in his ninth incarnation, the Doctor himself. (TV: Rose, Father's Day) Later in their evolution, humans became known as posthumans. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Nevertheless, the Doctor had a special affinity or "soft spot" for the species, (AUDIO: The Defectors) claiming at least once to be part human themselves, (TV: Doctor Who, COMIC: The Forgotten) and stated themselves to be human on occasion. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Daleks, TV: "The Unwilling Warriors") They also did twice become fully human. (PROSE: Human Nature, TV: Human Nature) The overwhelming number of their travelling companions were human. They also admitted in a Gallifreyan high court that they had a special affinity for Earth and its inhabitants, thereby determining the location of his Time Lord-imposed exile. (TV: The War Games) Moreover, they would wax lyrical about the intrinsic spirit of humanity, revelling in their innate desire to explore, their "indomitability". (TV: The Ark in Space)
The inhabitants of Mondas, Earth's twin planet, who were very close to the Terran humans genetically, also called themselves "human". (TV: World Enough and Time) However, to differentiate them from Earth's humans, they were usually referred to as "Mondasians". (COMIC: The Flood)
Traits and abilities
Humans were special in the universe.[additional sources needed] Humanity had an instinctive need to protect their own genetic line. This could make some individuals resistant to control, such as cyber-conversion. (TV: Closing Time)
Like other creatures, humans generated pheromones, chemicals that used scent to subconsciously affect the responses of others. Enhanced pheromones, both natural and artificial, were capable of altering sexual behaviour in humans. These pheromones could be packaged in spray bottles or emitted by a body, such as the gaseous creature who possessed Carys Fletcher. (TV: Everything Changes, TV: Day One)
The human body generated electricity; although a single body could not generate much electricity, a population of humans numbering in the billions could function as a viable power source. (AUDIO: Code Silver)
Innate psychic abilities were rare but not unheard of. Some humans had telepathic powers, though in almost all cases it was weak or suppressed. (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird) Individual humans displayed psychic powers such as psychometry, telepathy, empathy, or time-sensitivity. (TV: Planet of the Spiders, Image of the Fendahl, The Unquiet Dead, Human Nature, Hide)
Unusual traits of humanity
The Ninth Doctor once remarked to Mickey Smith that the human race was happy to believe in invisible things while also denying things that were blatantly obvious, claiming it was because they were "thick". (TV: World War Three)
Humanity was observed to possess a tendency to move on and forget after being faced with bizarre incidents such as alien invasions, with the Seventh Doctor describing it as the "most amazing capacity for self-deception", (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) the Twelfth Doctor calling it a "human superpower", (TV: In the Forest of the Night) and Charlie Smith calling it a "fascinating ability". (TV: The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo)
Perceptions by other species
Other species ascribed a variety of traits to humans.
Dalek Sec of the Cult of Skaro, after physically merging with the human Mr Diagoras, noted that the human emotions he felt included ambition, hatred, aggression and "a genius for war"; he considered the species "so very Dalek" at heart. Sec also described humans as "the ultimate survivors", and Dalek Caan cited the fact that versions of New York City would continue to exist throughout history, as opposed to the Dalek race, which was nearly wiped out. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan)
Some aliens were dismissive of humans; the Rutans considered them "primitive bipeds of no value". (TV: Horror of Fang Rock) Others saw them as a potential threat or, in the case of the Shakri, as "pests" that deserved to be wiped out. (TV: The Power of Three) The Mantasphids, who referred to humans as "fleshy bipeds" and fought a war with them on Myarr, considered them dangerous but also amusingly stupid. (TV: The Infinite Quest)
For the most part, the Cybermen regarded humans as highly suitable for cyber-conversion, due to their near-identical biology to Mondasians, whom a majority of Cybermen were descendants of. Whilst most Cybermen converted humans by encasing their bodies within Cyber-bodies, (TV: The Tenth Planet et al.) the Cybermen of Cybus Industries tended to simply encase human brains within their Cyber-helmets, (TV: Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel) although in one instance, they encased an entire human skull. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) Uniquely, the Cybermen of the Cyber-Mainframe exploited humans' cerebral functions, both as a means of conversion, and as a means of breaking into parallel universes. They also exploited the electricity generated by human bodies, using billions of humans as batteries to power themselves, as they did to the humans of at least one parallel Earth. (AUDIO: Telepresence)
The Doctor and humans
The Doctor had a particular fondness for humanity. The Tenth Doctor perceived the species to be one in its infancy, with great potential, (TV: The Christmas Invasion) and remarked he viewed them as "giants" when Wilfred Mott incorrectly believed the Doctor, as a Time Lord, must view them as mere "insects". (TV: The End of Time) The Eleventh Doctor labelled them "creatures of hope", and believed that Amy Pond and Rory Williams' "beautiful, messy lives [was] what [made them] so fabulously human". (TV: The Power of Three)
This planet, these people, are precious to me. And I will defend them to my last breath.
The Doctor was critical of human weakness and cruelty on occasion, (TV: The Beast Below) and pushed those around them to be the "best of humanity", if only to find themselves disappointed. (TV: Cold Blood) In anger, the Tenth Doctor referred to humans as "monsters". (TV: The Christmas Invasion) The Eleventh Doctor criticised humans' ability to be tricked into having "every inch of Earth's existence" profiled by the Shakri cubes because of them being the "great early adopters" of the cubes, letting the cubes into their homes and work. (TV: The Power of Three) The Seventh Doctor noted humanity to have "the most amazing capacity for self-deception, matched by only its ingenuity when trying to destroy itself." (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) The Fourth Doctor once described humans as intelligent predators. (AUDIO: Night of the Vashta Nerada) Despite their fondness for humans, their ninth incarnation would occasionally label them “stupid apes”, (TV: Rose, Father's Day) while their twelfth incarnation would call them “pudding brains”. (TV: Deep Breath, Flatline)
While the Master tried to convince the Sea Devils that mankind was weak, in an attempt to make peace with the Sea Devils, the Third Doctor disagreed, saying that "Man is not weak. He is only too proficient at devising weapons of annihilation, and using them." (TV: The Sea Devils)
The Doctor's association with humanity lent him some of their characteristics. The Eleventh Doctor identified crying with happiness as a particularly human trait, only to later catch himself doing that very thing. (TV: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe)
The Fourth Doctor praised the species for their "indomitable" spirit, having "survived flood, famine... plague... cosmic wars and holocausts". (TV: The Ark in Space) The Tenth Doctor further praised their daring explorer's spirit. (TV: The Impossible Planet) Whether by accident or intent, most of the Doctor's many companions were human, specifically humans from Earth. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Rescue, The Chase, The Myth Makers, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Massacre, et al.)
The Doctor as a human
Although most accounts described the Doctor as an extraterrestrial being, a few accounts claimed that they were human.
History of human evolution
- For a detailed, human-focused history, see timeline. For the social developments and beginnings of humans, see Earth.
Humans evolved under the influence of a variety of species, including the Silurians, who caused the development of racial fear; (AUDIO: Bloodtide), the Jagaroth, specifically Scaroth; (TV: City of Death) the Silents; (TV: The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon) the Fendahl, who caused the development of much of humanity's cruelty and capacity for evil; (TV: Image of the Fendahl) the Mal'akh; (PROSE: The Book of the War) and the Dæmons. (TV: The Dæmons) During the War in Heaven, an agent had to be specially assigned to watch humanity's timeline because so many different parties were influencing it. (PROSE: Head of State)
Humanity had official first contact with aliens either in 1996, when the Ice Warrior Xznaal attempted to take control of Great Britain, (PROSE: The Dying Days) or in 2006, when the Slitheen infiltrated 10 Downing Street. (TV: Aliens of London) After this, alien incidents became far more blatant. (TV: Aliens of London, The Christmas Invasion et al) One account states that first peaceful contact was the Arcturan Treaty of 2085. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
In the year 2009, the entire human race on Earth were temporarily transformed into physical and mental duplicates of the Master and dubbed the Master Race. This was later undone by the Time Lord Rassilon. (TV: The End of Time)
In 2011, on Miracle Day, death ended for every human simultaneously when the Three Families filled the Blessing with the immortal blood of Jack Harkness, which altered humanity's morphic field and forced every human to continue living regardless of any injuries or illnesses. The Miracle was undone later that year when Jack Harkness and Rex Matheson filled the Blessing with Jack's mortal blood. (TV: The New World, Rendition, The Blood Line)
In 2049, the Moon hatched with all of humanity watching and it inspired them to spread into space. (TV: Kill the Moon) An examination of Cyberman spaceships left over from the failed 1986 invasion helped to advance human understanding and capabilities of space travel. (TV: The Tenth Planet, PROSE: The Power of the Daleks) In 2058, humans began their interplanetary colonisation. By the year 2089, interstellar travel was invented. By 2100 humans had colonised a few nearby star systems beginning the species' great diaspora across the stars that lasted until the end of all ages. (TV: The Waters of Mars)
- Main article: Posthuman
No species can last forever without evolving into something new. Sooner or later the distance from Earth, from the environment humanity evolved to live in, genetic engineering and eventual interminglings of the gene pool with other species — these were bound to have the inevitable, cumulative effect of turning humanity into a completely different species.
By the year 5,000,000,000, interbreeding and evolution had resulted in there being only one "pure" human left, Cassandra O'Brien.Δ17. Cassandra no longer had a recognisable human form however, due to the life-extending surgeries she had undergone. Although believed killed soon after the destruction of the Earth, (TV: The End of the World) she survived, only to die several decades later after a failed attempt at transferring her consciousness to Rose Tyler. (TV: New Earth)
Despite O'Brien being described as the last human (TV: The End of the World), the human race in some form continued. At some point in their history, the humans spent millions of years as gas. They also spent time as downloads before re-evolving into humanoid form. (TV: Utopia)
Near the end of the universe, a group of inbred humanoid humans who believed themselves to be "pure" survived in a bunker submerged in the acidic ocean of Endpoint. They eventually encountered the Eighth Doctor, who oversaw their integration into Endpoint society. (PROSE: Hope)
Last humans of the universe
Humans continued to exist until at least the year 100,000,000,000,000, becoming one of the universe's last surviving races; by this point, they had re-evolved to be virtually indistinguishable from the humans the Doctor encountered during the 21st century and earlier. At this time, humans on the planet Malcassairo were hunted by a race of humanoids called the Futurekind. Some believed that the Futurekind were what humans would later become, while others dismissed this idea. (TV: Utopia) This fulfilled a legend that humans would be one of three species left at the end of the universe, one of the others being the Sycorax. (COMIC: Agent Provocateur)
The last known humans, transported to what they called Utopia and under the influence of the Master, underwent another evolution into a machine-clad race which he called the Toclafane, after a Gallifreyan fairy tale. The Master conquered the Earth of the early 21st century with the Toclafane with the help of a Paradox machine. The Doctor, psychically supported by the good will of humanity of the 21st century, defeated the Master. He and his colleagues reversed time, erasing the invasion from history and sending the Toclafane back to their proper place in time. (TV: The Sound of Drums, Last of the Time Lords)
After the end of the universe, all of humanity was resurrected in the City of the Saved, where everyone from neanderthals to posthumans coexisted. (PROSE: Of the City of the Saved...) Some humans left the City to set up a colony in the after-universe; the Anonymity was descended from these colonists. (PROSE: A Hundred Words from a Civil War)
What defines humanity?
According to the Third Doctor, "the definition of the word humanity was always a rather a complex question". When asked, he identified as not originating from Earth, but did not deny his humanity in other senses. (TV: The Time Warrior)
Indeed, the term "human" was often loosely applied to non-human species that were humanoid or even simply sentient. According to Mesanth, "human" could refer to any human-like creature, so a more precise term like Earthon should have been used to refer to the Earth's inhabitants. (PROSE: Shining Darkness) The First Doctor used the term, including himself a Time Lord, the Daleks and the Thals, to contrast with plants. (TV: "The Survivors") Barbara Wright, however, used it differently, applying it to Thals — being humanoid — but not Daleks. (TV: "The Ambush") Even the First Doctor identified as a human occasionally, opting to group himself with the Earth species rather than the Sensorites. (TV: "The Unwilling Warriors") The First Elder also referred to the First Doctor as a human during the same adventure. (TV: "A Desperate Venture")
One of the Iron Legion identified the Fourth Doctor as two humans with its sonar — the Doctor having two heartbeats — and as just one human using its infrared vision. This caused the robot to conclude this was impossible, and it malfunctioned. (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Iron Legion)
When Davros lost a good amount of his organic body and encased most of it in an Imperial Dalek-type shell, the Seventh Doctor mused that he had "discarded the last vestige of your human form". (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) The Second Doctor's excessive time travel in the TARDIS made him, in the eyes of the Daleks, "more than human". They therefore saw him unfit to be used to test inserting the Human factor into their species, choosing Jamie McCrimmon — a "pure" human — instead. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks)
The Third Doctor, shortly before regenerating into his fourth incarnation, suspected that the one who stole a deadly disintegrator gun was "more than human". After the defeat of the perpetrator, a robot named K1, Sarah Jane Smith reflected on how human it had seemed at the start. The Fourth Doctor agreed, saying it was "a wonderful creature, capable of great good, and great evil" — which was what he saw humanity to mean. (TV: Robot)
"Human" was also a measure of morality; "inhuman" was frequently used to scold immoral people. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks, The Seeds of Doom, Planet of the Spiders) In fact, even the Doctor had been shown to use "inhuman" as a synonym for "monstrous" on multiple occasions. (TV: "A Race Against Death", The Savages, The Wheel in Space, The Invasion, The Curse of Fenric) When Duggan applied the term to Scarlioni, he replied that "when I compare my race to yours, human, I take the word 'inhuman' as a great compliment." (TV: City of Death) When Martha Jones called the Daleks inhuman, they too replied that they were not human, referring to the Earth species. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan) Ian Chesterton claimed the Daleks "just aren't human" after they ambushed the Thals and killed the Thal leader Temmosus during his attempt to appeal to the Daleks, claiming that "Any reasonable human beings would have responded to him. But the Daleks didn't." (TV: "The Ambush") The Sixth Doctor once claimed that Robert Knox' "distinct lack of humanity" was what gave him away as a human, rather than an alien force. Knox later questioned if the Doctor's humanity was showing when he showed sentimentality towards Daft Jamie, whom Knox regarded as a creature. (AUDIO: Medicinal Purposes)