A History of the Whoniverse

The Origins of Humanity

'Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they've crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are amongst the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable!'
- The fourth Doctor waxes lyrical about the origins and future of humanity in The Ark in Space.

c. 6,000,000 BC

The earliest homo sapiens evolve. Their genetic destiny is affected by a number of factors. These include the Earth Reptile scientist S'Rel Tulok, the Fendahl, and the Time Lords.

[The influence from Tulok is from Bloodtide, though it's possible that humans might not be descended from Tulok's experiments. The Fendahl influence is from Image of the Fendahl, and the Time Lord influence from No Future (p.203). The date is given by the Doctor in Autumn Mist (p.158-159).]

est. 5,500,000 BC

A near-collision between a comet and an asteroid leaves the asteroid rotationally locked to its sun, and covered with certain carbon compounds. This causes an electrical current and, possibly over millions of years, leads to the creation of an analogue of a neural cell. This intelligence will eventually cause problems on the nearby world of Arden.

[This is the Doctor's speculation on the origin of the Umbra in Shadowmind (p. 224). He claims that the process could have taken millions of years.]

c. 5,000,000 BC

Antarctica had a tropical climate at this time.

[The Seeds of Doom.]

c. 5,000,000 BC

Mars may have had little green men at this time.

[Professor Quatermass says they're five million years late for that in The Dying Days (p.35).]

r. 3,639,878 BC


A group of Tractite Resistance Fighters travel back in time to destroy the human race before they evolve. They are unsuccessful, all being killed by companions of the Doctor.

[The Doctor estimates that he's travelling back by another 1 million years from 2,569,878 BC (p.184), though later in the book it's also referred to as 1.07 million more years (p.244). We've gone with the more precise figure.]

c. 3,000,000 BC

Martian civilisation experienced its industrial revolution.

[According to Benny in The Dying Days (p.118) this was during Earth's Pliocene epoch (5.3-2.5 million years ago).]

2,569,878 BC


Jacob Hynes attempts to inject some Homo Habilines (ancestors of humanity) with a virus that will wipe out not just humanity, but almost all mammals.

[According to Rowena they must have travelled back at least two and a half million years, because that's when australopithecines became extinct (p.142). The TARDIS gives the precise date (p.260).]

c. 2,000,000 BC

At this stage, Homo Sapiens were primitive hominids roaming the plains of Africa.

[According to the Doctor in Timewyrm: Apocalypse changing into a technologically advanced society from this took 2 million years (p. 57), and this was over 1 million years before the dawn of human civilisation (p. 49). The Doctor was there to see these “humans”.]

h. 1,000,000 BC

The first segment of Scaroth taught at least one group of humans how to produce fire.

[City of Death.]

c. 1,000,000 BC

The Hoothi enslaved the natives of the planet later known as Heaven, giving them the ability to turn Heaven into a beautiful garden world as the first phase of their plan to hit back at the Time Lords. The Hoothi would harvest part of the Heavenite population periodically in an event called the "Resurrection Dance". The Heavenites believed that the Hoothi were their gods, and that it was a good thing to be part of the half of the population that went with the gods. Each time it happened, the Hoothi showed the Heavenites how to remake their world. One of the last generations of Heavenites used Hoothi technology to build an observatory, chaining herself in it when the Hoothi arrived for the final Resurrection Dance and leaving a message on the walls to warn future generations about the Hoothi.

[They began planning one million years before Love and War (p. 91, more info on p.128 and p. 168-169).]

c. 1,000,000 BC

The Ice Warriors had developed space travel by this time.

[On a dig, Benny discovered documents a million years old that were evidence of Marian space travel (The Dying Days p.118).]

c. 1,000,000 BC

By this time, humans were committing genocide.

[According to Hynes in Genocide (p. 22).]

c. 500,000 BC

The Thal civilisation had started writing by this time.

[In The Daleks, their records date back half a million years.]

c. 500,000 BC

The first Homo Sapiens appear in the fossil record.

[According to Genocide (p. 41), Homo Sapiens skulls can date back half a million years. According to current Evolutionary Theory, these would not be Homo Sapiens Sapiens (i.e. modern humans), but an ancestor species. Autumn Mist (p.158-159) establishes that the species is much older than this.]

c. 250,000 BC

The monks of Felsecar begin preserving some of the most dangerous objects and information in the universe.

[The Doctor says this was a quarter of a million years before Love and War (p. 123).]

c. 100,000 BC

The first “real humans” to evolve were the Neanderthals (homo sapiens neanderthalensis), who had evolved about 200,000 BC. Modern humans (homo sapiens sapiens) evolved later. Both races were very violent. They possessed speech, reasoning, and social cohesion. The Neanderthals worshipped "The Burning One", whom they contacted using "hunting magic". They also knew the Sun as "the Orb", which they believed could provide fire. The "firemaker" was often the head of a tribe, and the secret of fire was passed down from one generation to the next.

[The date of human evolution is given in The War Games. The rest is cultural detail from An Unearthly Child or standard evolutionary theories of human origins. In reality neanderthals weren't that different from modern humans (and even interbred with them).]

c. 100,000 BC

Martian rocket design stops developing.

[Benny says that the basic design has been unchanged for a hundred thousand years in The Dying Days (p.118).]

c. 100,000 BC

An Unearthly Child

One tribe of early humans died out from cold. The only survivor, Kal, crossed some nearby mountains before finding and joining another tribe. Soon afterwards, the first Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan visited this tribe, who had somehow lost the secret of fire.

[The TARDIS's Yearometer says that it is the year zero in the second episode, though we don't know what calendar it's using (and there isn't a year zero in our calendar). The Doctor says that the TARDIS has travelled into the past in the same episode. The final working title was 100,000 BC, and we've gone with that date.]

c. 100,000 BC

The Eight Doctors

The Eighth Doctor met his first incarnation whilst searching for his memories.

[This is during the events of The Forest of Fear, the third episode of An Unearthly Child.]

55519 BC

Monarch of Urbanka left his planet when its ozone layer collapsed. He stored the population of his planet on computer chips and set out for Earth, making round trips on which he picked up Earth natives.

[Four to Doomsday.]

The Ice Age

Light, Survey, and Control arrived to catalogue Earth. Their catalogue included Ichthyosaurs and Neanderthals. They preserved Nimrod, a single specimen of Neanderthal man.

[Ghost Light.]

The Ice Age

The Dæmons helped Homo Sapiens to wipe out almost all the Neanderthals. The Dæmons left behind race memories in humanity.

[According to the Doctor in The Dæmons. Timewyrm: Genesys establishes that some Neanderthals survived.]

c. 39780 BC

A Euterpian ship investigating Earth was destroyed by solar plasma, leaving a recon team of five stranded on the surface. Two of those five travelled round the globe placing beacons in what they thought was a straight line. However, due to continental shift, the beacons were not actually in a straight line. Over the next few hundred years their efforts created ley lines and the Australian Aboriginal legends of the Dreamtime. These beacons, capable of turning the Earth into energy, would later become a great prize for the cat people.

[Invasion of the Cat People. The prologue (p. 1) dates this to 3978 BC, but later estimates vary. The Doctor places it 40,000 years ago (p.152), which allows more time for the continental drift to occur. Thorgarsunnella estimates it was 40,000 years ago (p.104). Later (p. 147), Thorsunn will probably travel back another 20,000 years (from somewhere around 900-1000 AD) to explode the beacons. The simplest explanation is that the date on page 1 is a typo for 39780, but any date vaguely around 38,000 BC fits.]

39780 BC

Humans first invent queues.

[Atimkos estimates this date in Invasion of the Cat People.]

35519 BC

The Urbankans arrive on Earth for the first time and kidnap a number of Australian Aborigines including Kurkurtji.

[Four to Doomsday.]

r. 24th May 29215 BC

Nan wears the tribal wedding dress.

[She estimates that this was thirty years before Only Human (p. 166).]

r. 9th April 29185 BC

A group of 100 time travellers from the era of the Great Retrenchment arrive in Earth's history. Reddy is assigned the task of meeting local groups of both humans and neanderthals.

[The Doctor and Rose arrive on day 49 of the project in Only Human (p.80).]

24th May 29185 BC

Only Human

A Neanderthal called Das goes with Reddy and is never seen again. The next day, most of the Neanderthal tribe and the inhabitants of Osterburg are killed by a new species of human, the Hy-Bractors. One Hy-Bractor survives and, along with the surviving Neanderthals and Osterburgers join the local human tribe.

[Jack gives the exact date Das came from (p. 43), even down to days of the week (Wednesday and Thursday).]

c. 26000 BC

The last Neanderthals in what would become the Bromley area of London either leave or die out.

[28,000 years before 2005, according to Only Human (p. 12).]

c. 23000 BC

The Tzun begin to travel in space. This warrior race from S'Arl, the sixth planet of Hadar (aka Beta Centaurus), 120 parsecs from earth, conquers the fungoid Darklings from Yuggoth, who had ruled the sector. The Tzun beat the Darklings back to 61 Cygni, but in the process of the war, their DNA became corrupted. They develop into three distinct subspecies. The purebloods resemble Asiatic humans, the S'Raph pilots are grey-skinned with bulbous black eyes and the Ph'Sor are fusions of Tzun and the natives of the planets they conquered.

[First Frontier (p.110).]

c. 20000 BC

Two Krynoid pods arrive on Earth, and are buried in the Antarctic permafrost. They would eventually be dug up in the late 20th Century.

[The Seeds of Doom.]

15519 BC

The Urbankans return to Earth, kidnapping princess Villagra, a Native American, whom the Doctor would later [erroneously] claim was Mayan.

[Four to Doomsday.]

est. 10000 BC


Time travelling Tractites arrive in human prehistory, and attempt to wipe out a small village. One of the humans gets into the tree they used to time travel. A Tractite shoots him, causing the tree to send them even further into the past.

[This is mentioned by Mauvril (p. 223), though he was unsure how far back this happened. The date is a complete stab in the dark.]

est. 10000 BC

A jellyfish-like species called the Cnidarian send a stonelike artefact into the universe, containing information about their species and planet. It would eventually end up on Earth.

[This is “many thousands of years” before The Invertebrates of Doom (Short Trips: Zodiac) (p. 151 & 155), which is set in 1978.]

9000 BC

The Union of Traken outgrows its dependency on machines.

[About 11,000 years before Nyssa's time, according to Cold Fusion (p. 31).]

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