I’m going to propose two ideas for a near-future scenario. In both scenarios, a lab company engineers a new intelligent species. For now, we’ll call this new species Homo postea, also known as “replacement man,” or posteans.
They are as short as your waist, have cat-like fur patterns, rabbit-like ears, a fox-like tail, and human-like intelligence. The Posteans are “synth-organic,” meaning that they are robots for all intents and purposes, but the structure of their systems can easily fool a person into thinking they were flesh and blood and bone. Obviously, this has little to do with the rest of this question, but the posteans don’t look human-like as we know it.
In both scenarios, humans go extinct not long after the posteans’ creation, leaving them as the new dominant species. The only difference is that in one scenario, the posteans were merely surviving bystanders of an event that wiped out mankind. In the other, the posteans were directly responsible for humanity’s extinction.
The “Bystanders” scenario
In the near future, perhaps an alternate near-past, a lab company proposes the idea to engineer a second sapient “backup species” in case of humanity’s extinction. The idea is initially discarded, since humans are obviously the invincible masters of the animal kingdom. However, when a certain familiar outbreak strikes, the lab company changes its mind and gets to work engineering the new species.
Posteans are manufactured and sold around the world as domestic robots in order to grow their population, keeping their true intentions a secret.
A number of years later, many people around the world own a postean of their own. The total postean population numbers in the tens of millions. Around this time, disaster strikes in the form of an engineered plague, accidentally released from a genetic engineering laboratory.
What starts as a particularly strong flu season turns into an exponentially-worsening crisis, which causes organized civilization to collapse in a matter of weeks. Over the next few months, thanks to its highly-infectious, constantly mutating nature, the virus decimates the survivors from billions, to millions, to thousands, then hundreds, and finally, the complete extinction of the human race, assisted by famines, suicides, and a general lack of medical infrastructure. The virus also burns through other primate species, wiping out humanity’s distant cousins.
Luckily, being robots, the posteans have survived, and the humans have left the Earth in their will.
The “Instigators” scenario
In the near future, a genetic engineering company creates a new species. Unlike the company in the “Bystanders” scenario, the company engineers this species from the start as a domestic servant race, and they never anticipated they would be mankind’s usurpers.
Over the years, as new models of posteans are produced, their intelligence and sapience grows to match that of a human’s, to the point where a postean can disobey a human if they see their orders as morally incorrect, or act on their own will, which causes some problems for the company’s public relations. It isn’t long until the first incident of a postean killing a human (in self-defense) crops up.
More incidents of postean-on-human violence occur, as do groups of postean rights activists. Most of these groups are well-intentioned, but, given the number of violent attacks and more “extreme” groups, the peaceful groups go unnoticed.
Eventually, one fateful day, the pot boils over. One attack on the postean community instigates a counterattack on the human community, which spirals into full-blown warfare between the two races. A global civil war ensues, entire countries imploding into genocide. The war initially turns in favor of the humans, but surprisingly, the posteans manage to turn the tide. Strongly.
The war lasts a number of years, but eventually, the posteans wipe out mankind, and Earth is theirs for the taking.
So, what would a postean civilization look like after a number of years or decades? If they were bystanders, would the posteans recolonize the cities left behind, or leave them to rot and build new cities? If the posteans were instigators, would posteans purposefully throw away human history, or would they still keep some records behind? Would there be anything else that my mind was drawing to many blanks on to come up with?