Humans living a world of a vast pool of intelligent species doesn't seem easy for them. Creatures like centaurus, lamias, bearfolk, driders and so on, there are too many to list all of them.

Humans on earth thrive because they are the only ones who can dominate and take control over a piece of land and all it's inhabitants by farming the animals and the plants.

If there are many other intelligent creatures there will be direct competition through war and passive competition against humans, then what can humans do or use to not go extinct?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you are underestimating the human race. Horses, which would basically translate to a centaur, go into massive and often lethal shock if they break a leg. Mankind is one of the few (large) creatures that can break a leg and survive long enough to let it heal. Humans also have evolved for longterm endurance, which would give them an economic advantage as they might do less work in the same amount of time but also spend more time at it. Humans also have ways to compensate for their "weakness" by taming horses and using tools to allow them to transport more or do work their bodies couldnt. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Mar 20, 2018 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan: Part of the reason humans can do those things is our intelligence. If these other creatures are also intelligent, then perhaps our advantage would be no more. However, there are so many other variables not mentioned that OP could design to even the score. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @WGroleau that's actually sort of what I'm illustrating: The OP has to actively give the mythical creatures advantages to keep up with the human race, then there's no reason the human race would be in danger of being outmatched by the other creatures unless you take your time to make it so. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Demigan: yes, he does. And that's why he asked for help to think of those advantages. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Mar 20, 2018 at 18:04

5 Answers 5


Plot armor

If you are pitting normal humans against enhanced humans you quickly get to the point where you want the demi-humans to be exactly equal in terms of intelligence, tool-usage, social pecking orders, etc. but with higher stamina, natural weapons, ...

In such a case it's unreasonable for normal humans to thrive and all demi-humans not to thrive.

You would simply have to say that humans have survived against all odds - because the odds are not in their favour.

The Workaround(s)

You have to find a typical workaround by giving your humans something that your demi-humans do not have or need.

Humans reproduce faster

It's quite normal to say that there are more humans simply because they reproduce more often, have more children, shorter gestation periods or the timeframe in which women can have children is longer than in demi-humans. In this case the numbers are in our favour.

Humans have technology

The hunters are hunters - why would they develop tools? Your Drider can simply kill you and have offspring, no need for special intelligence and tools. But we humans are weak - that's why we need to be clever. Even if the Drider is similar in intelligence it views tools as unnecessary, whereas they are a decision between life and death for a human. This leads to humans being able to keep up with demi-humans.

Demi-humans haven't been around for so long

This is the "crazy bio-engineer" approach where you are simply at the start, whereas most universes depict demi-humans to have always been there. But if they are only there for a few dozen years then there are simply not so many and the humans can keep them in check.

Demi-humans can't harm humans

Vampires can't get into your house unannounced and they can only hunt at night. These simple rules make it easy to survive for the humans, except for the occasional one that doesn't want to listen to the village elders or the little fairy swirling around their head, wanting attention.

Demi-humans like humans

We (well, some of us) are cute pets. Or livestock.


Targetting the two scenarios (creatures being at similar intelligence levels to that of humans VS them being superior):

Similar intelligence

The first thing you could consider would be giving humans and these other creatures similar levels of intelligence, or balancing it out in a way that wouldn't give the other intelligent species victory over humans in every single aspect of life (they can be brutes but not as intelligent and lacking in the technological field, or perhaps more intelligent but lacking in stamina/speed/strength). This way, humans wouldn't always be at a disadvantage when pitched against one other single species but might find themselves in a tight spot if they have allies, forcing humans to seek out their own allies which will complement their weaknesses.

Species are superior to humans

Even if a certain species is superior to humans in several fields, maybe they just coexist without there being a need for competition (perhaps they don't see humans as a threat and their coexistence benefits them in some way?). Also, don't forget humans are a very versatile and adaptable species. Their physiology may prove an advantage in specific situations, and their short life cycle when compared to other species may make them more driven and ambitious, as well as more numerous.

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    – Secespitus
    Mar 20, 2018 at 13:14

1. Humans vs formidable large individual predators.
This is the situation with tigers or bears. Such creatures are individually more than a match for humans, but no match for the cooperative energy of many humans.

2. Humans vs pack predators. Wolves or lions are a more equal match for humans. They cooperate, they plan and they learn and remember. Humans plan better, but have another advantage: omnivory. Carnivorous pack animals can only be supported by available meat. Humans are opportunistic carnivores but can also be supported by available plant foods. With a broader range of available calories than the carnivores, humans can achieve greater populations and overwhelm with numbers.

3. Humans vs demihumans. Why did the Cro-Magnons overwhelm the Neanderthals? We will never know for sure but based on the artifacts the groups left one guess that that the modern humans were capable of more abstract and detailed long term planning. One could take inspirations also from how one civilization conquers another - often the conquering civilization is more capable at having many individuals operate as a single unit and also capable of midrange and long term offensive planning. Humans might also deplete resources the demi-humans count on - for example wiping out prey species or altering the land such that the demi-humans struggle. Humans do this to each other just fine.

4. Humans vs superhumans.
Humans against elves is tougher; the elves should be superior. Here it has to be numbers. If the superhumans are long lived they must have a very low reproductive rate or there would be oodles of them. Even an elf is 36 times better than a human eventually the elf will roll snake eyes and lose to the human. The humans wear them down either thru attrition, or via rapidly depleting and consuming resources the elves need too as per #3.

Another real threat humans pose against superhumans is that of disease. Human fecundity means plagues and pox can ravage us and we will bounce back within a few generations - not so the low reproductive rate elves. Also a disease in a dense population can be assured of transmission before it depletes and kills its host. This is the cruise ship principle - noroviruses on board are selected for supervirulence because transmission is assured in the close quarters. Then these viruses pour off the ship and rage through the populace at the port of call. Human diseases would be similar to this from an elf perspective.

  • $\begingroup$ Somewhere, some time ago, I read that Neanderthals genes can often be found in our own DNA, suggesting the theory that Neanderthals just were not as good breeders and ended up mating with our species until they distinct by becoming part of the bigger gene pool. It's just a theory (and I do not want to search it up right now). $\endgroup$
    – kaiser
    Feb 16, 2020 at 1:16

Your question assumes that your imaginary world, where humans live with other semi intelligent or maybe even fully intelligent species, is totally different from the real world. But it is quite possible that a world in which a number of semi intelligent or fully intelligent species exist at the same time may be quite similar to the real world, and thus that the interactions between various semi or fully intelligent species can be studied in real life.

Humans like to think that if an objective search for intelligent life on Earth was made, humans would be counted as intelligent life. And counted as the only intelligent life on Earth.

But just as humans have sufficient intelligence to be counted as semi intelligent or maybe even fully intelligent, other lifeforms on Earth have roughly similar intelligence, perhaps enough to be counted as semi intelligent or maybe even fully intelligent.

Mammal species come in a vast range of sizes. Some mammal species are large enough to support large brains. Some mammal species that are large enough to support large brains have evolved large brains for various reasons and thus have developed high intelligence, perhaps in the human intelligence range. At the present time there are about 100 species of mammals on Earth that, like humans, have large brains and show signs of being semi intelligent or even fully intelligent. They include the highest primates, proboscideans, and cetaceans.

This has been the case for millions of years, though individual species have appeared and disappeared in the fossil record.

So you might want to find out how various possibly semi intelligent or maybe even fully intelligent species have lived in the same world as other possibly semi intelligent or maybe even fully intelligent species over millions of years.


Mankind's ability collaborate large groups (hunting parties and armies) outweighs any advantages other species may have.

Humans have not always been at the top of the food chain. There used to be a lot of animals that would prey on humans. The Haast's eagle is one example:


Bears, wolves, elephants and lions have also been driven out of most human areas. If there is a species out there which hunts humans - even only occasionally, we hunt it right back until it's gone.

If someone died in the night with fang-marks in their neck, every man in 50 miles would get together and crack open every tomb until they found the vampire. Then the vampire would wake up and be surrounded by 800 men with stakes. If he turned into a swarm of bats and flew off, they would individually stake every bat for a hundred miles.

If the elves in the forest punished a human for poaching on their land, it would be even worse. Some lordling would see an opportunity to take the forest for himself, rouse up a mob that outnumbered the elves 10 to 1 and go collect their ears.

If the humans are vastly outnumbered by an inferior species intent on their extermination, well, we have examples of that, too. Israel stood against millions of Arabs and beat them all like rented mules.

tldr; humans are the most dangerous & aggressive species we know.

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    $\begingroup$ you seem almost proud of humans being in your opinion the most dangerous and aggressive known species. In fact, there are many areas where species that sometimes kill humans coexist with humans and have not been hunted to extinction by humans. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2018 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ hell yea, I am. Human numba Wun! $\endgroup$
    – user47242
    Mar 20, 2018 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ Did... did you just call Arabs an "inferior species"? $\endgroup$
    – KSmarts
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ no he didn't, he said that historically Israel had an easy time beating the Arabs $\endgroup$
    – Ekaen
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Ekaen While true. Referring to an entire culture as rented mules adds nothing to the post and in fact detracts from the value of the question. $\endgroup$
    – James
    May 31, 2018 at 17:08

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