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Did The Founders evolve from the race that seeded the Alpha Quadrant?

The Star Trek canon had several references to 'ancient' originating or protective species.

Among them: The Founders, which were Changelings like Odo; the 'Ancient Humanoids'- the single instance seen on ST:TNG episode 'The Chase'[s06e20] looking awfully like Odo (as seen below); and the Preservers, 'who passed through the galaxy rescuing primitive cultures in danger of extinction'.

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Are there any established links in canon or EU between these three?

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marked as duplicate by Kyle Jones, Micah, HorusKol, KutuluMike, NikolaiDante Jan 17 '13 at 7:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Note- the indicated episode also had the 'Ancient Humanoid' claim it was the common ancestor for the Humans, Cardassians, Romulans (and presumably Vulcans), and Klingons. If nothing else, humans are a 'Kevin Bacon' of the quadrant. – Solemnity Jan 17 '13 at 1:59
Another [production] twist, the actress playing the 'Ancient Humanoid' also later played a Changeling in several episodes of ST:DS9. – Solemnity Jan 17 '13 at 2:07
I upvoted Kyle- if this is closed, OK. Previous question didn't refer to 'Ancient Humanoid'(now fixed), as was my search vanguard. – Solemnity Jan 17 '13 at 4:26

Maybe. For the most part, they existed in different locations and eras.

  • The Preservers were from our area of the galaxy, and existed long, long after the one time we know the Ancient Humanoids to have been active - humans had already evolved by their time.
  • The Ancient Humanoids seeded life only in the Alpha/Beta quadrants, as the puzzle could be completed using only lifeforms in/around the Federation. It was not specified what they did after seeding life.
  • The Founders were from the Gamma Quadrant, and didn't have transwarp technology - they, too, were relying on the wormhole. So we can at least be pretty certain that they are not either the Preservers or the Ancient Humanoids.

Some of the confusion stems from, as stated by Solemnity in a comment, Salome Jens playing both the Female Changeling and the Ancient Humanoid.

Additionally, a note by Ronald D. Moore from the Next Generation Companion, on the Ancient Humanoid page:

Ronald D. Moore has stated that he'd considered, but intentionally did not specify, that this species was the Preservers from TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome". He noted, "but this could be them and be internally consistent."

However, over on the page for the Preservers, there's a note that in the (non-canon) game Star Trek Online, this is explicitly true - the Ancient Humanoids are the Preservers. For more information on that, see the Preservers page on Memory Beta.

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that last note would have significant possible implications (or EU-fodder), as the Preservers were noted, in canon, to come back in relatively-recent times to move human Native Americans to other planets. – Solemnity Jan 17 '13 at 2:39
@Solemnity Having just found that page on Memory Beta, I read through it and some links. There's apparently evidence there that the Preservers have actively tried to hide their existence, erasing evidence that they were ever around, before they "disappeared"... – Izkata Jan 17 '13 at 3:03

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