A History of the Whoniverse

The Earth Reptile Era

My people ruled the Earth when man was only an ape.
- A Sea Devil in The Sea Devils.

Dating the Earth Reptile Era

The era in which the Earth Reptiles / Silurians lived is a matter of much debate. In The Silurians, Quinn believes both that they are from the Silurian era (443 to 419 million years ago) and from the era when Pangea existed (335 to 175 million years ago). However, in The Sea Devils, the Doctor says that this dating was simply incorrect, and that they are actually from the Eocene era (66 to 33 million years ago).

This is all complicated by the fact that numerous stories see them co-existing with dinosaurs (who died out 65 million years ago) and with ape ancestors of humanity (apes first existed 25 million years ago). Timewyrm: Revelation establishes that some dinosaurs survived the extinction (p.113), but even so both things being true is only possible if their civilisation lasted tens of millions of years without leaving any traces. Something which would appear to be extremely unlikely.

There are no stories which attempt to give a definitive date to the Earth Reptile civilisation, but what figures are given are all over the place, from "millennia" (thousands of years) of Bloodtide through to Eternity Weeps suggestion that the arrival of the moon, which ended their civilisation, was 200 million years ago (p.117), though this contradicts other dates from that book.

Other Doctor Who chronologies have given differing dates. Jean Marc Lofficier's The Terrestrial Index puts them in the Cretaceous era (136-65 million BC). John Preddle's Timelink suggests that their civilisation lasted from 200 million BC to 70 million BC. The Mad Norwegian version of Lance Parkin's AHistory goes for their civilisation lasting for a few thousand years between 5-10 million BC, and the Virgin version didn't give any date. The old Outpost Gallifrey timeline went for 195 million BC.

We're think the evidence clearly shows that the Earth Reptiles evolved at some point after Adric's crash and died well before the rise of humanity, but that there isn't enough evidence to pinpoint the era. The Doctor's suggestion that they were from some part of the Eocene era seems by far the least arbitrary date. And we aren't going to speculate on how long their civilisation lasted.


Earth Reptile Era

The Earth Reptiles had evolved by this point. They were broadly humanoid sentient reptiles and there appear to have been at least three distinct species. Later scientific nomenclature would refer to them as either homo reptilia or psionosauropodomorpha. Their typical lifespan was 200-250 years.

[The third eye Silurians (first seen in The Silurians), the Sea Devils (first seen in The Sea Devils), and the New Series Silurians (first seen in The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood) are clearly separate species. The versions of the Silurians and Sea Devils seen in Warriors of the Deep look different, but are implied in The Scales of Injustice to have been genetically engineered from the first two. It is entirely possible that there are more Earth Reptile species that we haven't seen yet. Psionosauropodomorpha is used in Blood Heat and Homo reptilia is used in a number of different novels. The lifespan is from The Scales of Injustice.]

Earth Reptile Era

One of the Earth Reptile species had psychic powers channelled through their third eyes. The “Silurians” had psychic powers channelled through their third eyes. These could be used for telepathic communication, telekinesis, hypnosis, building cities, or as weapons. The third eye meant that much of their technology was operated telepathically, and their language combined telepathy, speech, and body language. They refer to telepathy as “linking”. This species may have been cold-blooded.

[This is the species first seen in The Silurians. The third eyes are only extensively used in The Silurians, Blood Heat, Twilight of the Silurians, and Bloodtide. In the latter, the third eye is said to emit a heat beam.]

Earth Reptile Era

Another Earth Reptile species had extendible tongues which were able to deliver a poisonous sting. This species' females had protrusions resembling human mammary glands.

[These are the species first encountered in The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. They include Madame Vastra.]

Earth Reptile Era

One species were aquatic, able to survive in water for extended lengths of time. [It is unclear whether they can hold their breath really well or if they have gills as well as lungs.] They usually wear vest-like garments which protect them from high pressures. Though they also sometimes wear armour. This species is definitely warm-blooded. The elite Sea Devil caste were warriors.

[These are the Sea Devils, first seen in The Sea Devils. The effect of the vests is from The Scales of Injustice, and the armour and warrior elite is first seen in Warriors of the Deep.]

Earth Reptile Era

Earth reptiles lived in a number of different clans, and inter-breeding between them was strictly forbidden to the point of being punishable by death.

[This is the background to The Scales of Injustice (particularly p.143-144). Clans are also mentioned in Bloodtide.]

Earth Reptile Era

The Earth Reptiles had a number of dinosaur species as work animals. These included pterodactyls for aerial transport. They communicate with the dinosaurs telepathically. They also genetically engineered the Myrka, a dinosaur-like creature.

[We see a dinosaur-like creature used as a guard in The Silurians, dinosaur mounts in Twilight of the Silurians, pterodactyls used as transport in City of Devils, and numerous domesticated dinosaurs (including both kinds of mount) in Blood Heat. The Myrka is from Warriors of the Deep, and stated to be genetically engineered in The Scales of Injustice.]

Earth Reptile Era

They had at least one religion. The Sea Devils worshiped the Great Old One called Dagon. They also wrote down the Necromonicom, a tome that set down much about the Great Old Ones. One religion-based insult was “May the prime serpent spit on your bones”.

[Dagon is from All-Consuming Fire (p.221), the Necronmicom is from White Darkness (p.89-90). May the prime serpent spit on your bones is from Final Genesis.]

Earth Reptile Era

Earth Reptile technology often included organic components. It included hibernation chambers, airships, deep-sea craft, particle suppressors; genetic engineering; the ability to generate geothermal energy, terraforming technology, weather control technology, ultrasonic communicators, heat rays, and molecular dispersers. One of their cities was made out of metal, but many of them were made out of crystal.

[Their technology shows up in a number of stories. These include The Silurians, The Sea Devils, Warriors of the Deep and – most extensively - Blood Heat. The metal city is from Twilight of the Silurians.]

Earth Reptile Era

Their culture did not include literature, as they find the direct communication of ideas by telepathy more accurate, stimulating, and attractive. It did, however, include music, including the hag'jat, and paintings.

[The lack of literature is mentioned in Blood Heat and The Scales of Injustice. The hag'jat is mentioned in Original Sin, and we see artwork in The Scales of Injustice.]

Earth Reptile Era

The Earth Reptiles had contact with early primates. They used an engineered virus to prevent them from raiding crops, and kept some specimens for scientific study. This contact created a race memory that persisted into modern humans.

[We see the race memory effect in The Silurians, Blood Heat, and Bloodtide but nowhere else. Presumably it only relates to the third eye species, and not the sea devils or prehensile tongue species. We see specimens being studied in Twilight of the Silurians.]

Earth Reptile Era

Masx K'll was a legendary warrior chieftain from the Third Dynasty who fought his evil alter-ego, the legendary Two-Face Lizard. Panun E'Nj was the leader of the Southern Clan, who conquered much of the world and ruled it cruelly, although briefly. His downfall was brought about by Tun W'lzz. These figures were painted onto the Hall of Heroes at the centre of the Earth Reptile world, and inspired their race for a millennium.

[We “see” a copy of the painting, with an explanation, in The Scales of Injustice (p.143-144).]

Earth Reptile Era

Their Silurian Triad are the custodians of the Silurian race (planetary leaders). They also had a science council, which had the power to decide whether and when to send the race into hibernation. Silurian law forbade offensive wars.

[The science council is from Twilight of the Silurians, the other details are from Warriors of the Deep.]

Earth Reptile Era

Mortakk was a brilliant geneticist who performed horrific experiments on Silurian and Sea Devil hatchlings. He was finally brought to trial and the Triad had him executed. Mortakk somehow survived.

[This was “long before” the great hibernation, according to Final Genesis. He was woken alongside other Silurians in the alternate timeline seen in that story.]

Earth Reptile Era

Earth Reptile scientists detect a small planetoid which is approaching Earth. The scientist Dr Wolik calculates that it will come close enough to Earth to create earthquakes, tidal waves, and draw off Earth's atmosphere. The government builds shelters around the globe, allowing the Earth Reptiles to hibernate until conditions return to normal.

[This is the backstory of the Earth Reptiles first established in The Silurians. Some details are from Twilight of the Silurians.]

Earth Reptile Era

Twilight of the Silurians

Two members of the Scientific Council visit a remote research station which has some apes in captivity. En route, they are attacked by wild apes – something contrary to their normal behaviour. Whilst there, they receive a message calling them back to the main council. The council debates Dr Wolik's calculatons that show the approaching planetoid will come close enough to do serious damage and Soron's figures that show it will miss Earth. They decide to move their civilisation into the shelters within three days. Meanwhile the apes at the research centre escape and kill both of the scientists there.

[This happens five days before the Moon arrives around Earth. It seems unlikely that there would still be uncertainty that close to the event, or that they could make the final decision so close to expected impact. But it's still more plausible than the version of events in Bloodtide.]

Earth Reptile Era


S'Rel Tulok was a Silurian scientist who had genetically modified some apes being farmed for food to increase both their flavour and their rate of breeding. When he modified them to become more intelligent whe was convicted of breaking both the “laws of nature” and the most sacred tenets of Silurian law. He was sentenced to death, but banished to Earth's surface where nothing can survive. This was an act of mercy, based on his great achievements. He was saved by his friend Sh'Vak, and went into hibernation after disconnecting the timing mechanism in his shelter. His experiments were banished to the surface with him and may have been ancestors of humanity.

[It is said that there has been no sunlight for 10 years (disc 1. track 1), making this after the arrival of the moon, which raises the question of why they aren't already in hibernation. The Doctor claims that the apes he modified were Australopithecus (who lived 4.5 to 1.9 million years ago), but also only dates the Great Hibernation as hundreds of thousands of years ago. There are a number of problems with what's established here. For one, in The Silurians, the Earth Reptiles remembered apes only as creatures that raided crops. For another, no sunlight for 10 years would wipe out all life on Earth – so humanity couldn't be descended from anything the Silurians knew about. Also, Tulok's sabotage is implied to be the reason the Earth Reptiles overslept, contrary to every other explanation, and something that makes no sense given that his sabotage only happened within a single shelter.]

Earth Reptile Era

Despite predictions, the planetoid went into orbit around Earth, becoming the moon. Predictions that the surface would become quite unsuitable for life, seas would boil and turn to acid, terrible storms would black out the skies, and the world would become a desolate, poisonous wasteland unable to support life proved to be wrong. After the arrival of the moon, the van Allen belt formed, leaving the planet at a lower temperature than they had expected. This meant that their automatic revival systems failed to revive them.

[The Silurians. The description of the predicted disaster is the Doctor's obviously incorrect description of what actually happened from Bloodtide (a description which is incompatible with the multiple stories which establish humanity is descended from apes who co-existed with the Earth Reptiles - ironically Bloodtide is one of those stories).]

Earth Reptile Era

Earth had a twin planet, Mondas, where a race almost identical to humanity had evolved. The Mondasians had developed sophisticated mechanical and electronic technology. When the moon arrived in Earth's orbit, Mondas was thrown out of its orbit towards the edge of the solar system. Its people were able to survive in underground shelters. [Possibly, they slept like the Silurians for much of that time.]

[Mondas being Earth's twin planet is established in The Tenth Planet. The departure of Mondas is established to have been because of the arrival of Earth's moon in Spare Parts. Therefore we have to place it at the same time as the Earth Reptiles went into hibernation. It's also worth noting that in Image of the Fendahl, the Time Lords knew the Fendahl's planet as the fifth in the Solar System - so Mondas wasn't part of the Solar System at that time.

There are two problems with this dating. Firstly, there are various references to the Cybermen only being a few thousand years old (e.g. Iceberg p.134 establishes that Controller 38 was a fully organic Mondan just 10,000 years ago). Secondly, this timespan means that the Mondasians evolve millions of years before their “twin” species of humanity. These discrepancies could be explained by time dilation, though this doesn't explain why Mondas's continental drift stays in synch with Earth's.]

Earth Reptile Era

As the centuries passed, the Mondasians began to realise that their fertility was declining and that they needed cybernetic augmentation to survive. As they gradually replaced parts of their bodies and brains, the Cybermen split into two groups. The Mondasians wanted only as much cybernetisation as was necessary for survival. The Faction decided that the only logical path was to become fully cyborg and eventually leapt across to planet 14, the outermost planet of the Solar System.

[This is a quick explanation of the origins of the Cybermen. The Faction/Mondasian split was first proposed in Cybermen and confirmed in-Universe in Iceberg (p.134).]

c. 25,000,000 BC

The rocks on which Atlantis was later built were formed.

[This is mentioned in The Underwater Menace, and only applies to the Atlantis seen in that story (which is one of three different Atlantises).]

15,000,000 BC

Cthulu arrives on Earth and inspires carvings in Haitian caves.

[The carvings are at least fifteen million years old by White Darkness (p. 142). Cthulu is named in All-Consuming Fire. It's unclear who or what made these carvings, as humanity had not evolved by then and the Earth Reptiles were all in their shelters.]

c. 12,000,000 BC

On a nameless planet, that no longer exists (the “5th” planet of our solar system), a lifeform evolved which absorbed the energy wavelengths of life itself. The Time Lords intervened, destroying its home planet, the remains of which became the asteroid belt. The Fendahl escaped the time loop, attacked Mars, and reached Earth. [The Ice Warriors somehow managed to survive the catastrophe, possibly by going underground.] The Fendahl was buried in a skull but still able to exude a biological transmution [biomorphic] field, which altered any lifeform coming within the field into a suitable form for the Fendahl to use. The Fendahl almost certainly affected the evolution of humanity, feeding certain instincts and abilities into the RNA of individuals.

[This is the backstory to Image of the Fendahl]

c. 12,000,000 BC

The owl evolves at around this time.

[This is mentioned in Just War (p.239).]

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