Many a Star Trek alien has bumps, ridges or markings on their face or head.

In universe, has any alien ever commented on how humans have suspiciously even skin tone, lack of markings and extra head organs, smooth faces and foreheads, relatively simple hair and ears, etc.

A comment about humans in general among the species of the galaxy would be preferable, rather than just comparing humans to their own species.

Editorial comment:
Humans don't have to be the plainest (meaning simplest features) and we don't need to keep arguing over 'a matter of perspective' for the question to make sense. (On scifi.SE.nausica, if someone wants to ask the converse question, he/she can go ahead). I never claimed humans are the extreme of the extreme or that it can be objectively defined. And it's not a requisite for the question to be meaningful. The fact is humans are simpler than a vast majority of species is adequate. (For example, the Odo counterexample.)

It also doesn't matter that you think a Cardassian and a Klingon will argue about who has more complicated foreheads. That's not germaine either.

  • 2
    FWIW -- Odo (and his ilk) had difficulty getting features to look genuinely human.
    – user23715
    Sep 15, 2015 at 21:01
  • Odo has more plain face then when he is human.. Sep 16, 2015 at 13:35

8 Answers 8


From Voyager "Basics":

SESKA: Hello, everyone. What do you think of your son, Chakotay? He has your eyes, don't you think? Thank goodness he doesn't look too human. You all have such weak foreheads.


Though not exactly what you're looking for, Riker's lack of Rubber Prosthesis Head is remarked upon when he is outed as a Human in the TNG episode "First Contact":

BEREL: You're in no condition to leave yet. There are several unusual things about your case, Mister Jakara. Your cranial lobes, for instance, they seem to be surgical implants.
RIKER: I had cosmetic surgery to correct a genetic birth defect.
BEREL: And these? (his hands) Another birth defect?
RIKER: Yes, isn't that something? My father's were the same way.

Some of humanity's other internal and external "peculiarities" are remarked upon earlier when Riker is in surgery.

NILREM: I can't find his cardial organ.
TAVA: What do you mean? I'm reading a steady circulation.
NILREM: There it is. Up here.
TAVA: In his digestive tract?
NILREM: Ever seen anything like this? (Tava, a female doctor, palpates the chest)
TAVA: He's missing three costal struts on one side and four on the other.
NILREM: You think that's something? Look at this (holds up a foot) He has digits on his terminus.

  • This is just an example of how a human is different, not particularly that he is simpler Nov 2, 2022 at 14:06
  • BTW, I love how Riker is just so matter-of-fact about it. It's great. Apr 24, 2023 at 15:29

I'm not so sure most aliens would view humans as "plain". Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To a ferengi, large ears, mis-aligned teeth, and large forehead bumps are plain. Their society evolved viewing that as what is standard or plain. So to come across a hairy ape with small ears would be quite a shock at first, and would certainly not be viewed as plain.

I have no documentation or sources for this, just what to me seems like common sense.

  • 9
    Plain meaning simpler features, not attractive/unattractive. Sep 15, 2015 at 16:39
  • 7
    @ThePopMachine Hair, chin bumps, all the weird curls in human earlobes, and facial hair, are all not exactly simple. Especially our arbitrary practices about facial hair (e.g. why do we remove naturally growing hair from below our chins, trim it from above our heads, and ignore it from above our eyes?) Sep 15, 2015 at 17:27
  • 2
    I agree. This question is laden with anthropism. Sep 16, 2015 at 9:01
  • 6
    @user568458 Except in the case of rare elaborate makeups like the Cardassians and Ferengi, most alien species in Star Trek have all the same peculiarities in their earlobes, chin bumps, and hair-related nonsense as humans. There's no getting around the fact that human actors are always underneath the costumes, and human features therefore have to "fit inside" all live-action alien morphologies. In that regard, we are objectively, statistically, plain. Mar 8, 2017 at 3:29
  • 1
    There isn't a problem with the question - because of the way makeup works most of the races are like human but with bits added. There are very few races who have less bumps than humans (e.g. no nose or no ears or something) so humans (and aliens where they didn't bother with racial makeup) are remarkable in this regard.
    – komodosp
    Apr 17, 2022 at 23:40

In Star Trek: Generations, Lursa and Betor Duras make several remarks on the smoothness of human's features. The subject in question was, I believe, dr. Crusher, and her face was described as 'weak and ugly'.


In the second episode of Star Trek: Prodigy ("Starstruck"), the Tellarite character Jankom Pog says of holographic Janeway:

Ugh, she's hideous. Why is her forehead so smooth? Ugh.


In "Enterprise" humans are often referred to as "pink skins" by the Andorians. It's often used with a derogatory tone.

In later episodes the phrase is used as a form of endearment after many successful encounters with the Andorians. It's how they perceived Humans, generally, as being different (and more to the point that our most prominent feature to at least one Andorian was that we are pink.)

Below is a reference source for the term so readers don't begin assuming this is only a Xenopohobic/derogatory term:


  • 7
    That's really just blatant racism, not what I'm getting at, which is that humans have unusually simple heads. Sep 15, 2015 at 14:51
  • Which would also be racism (or specism?)
    – Jon Story
    Sep 15, 2015 at 17:51
  • 2
    In later episodes the phrase is used as a form of endearment after many successful encounters with the Andorians. It's how they perceived Humans, generally, as being different. As much as I hate linking, here is a more canonical reference on the term so readers don't begin assuming this is only a Xenopohobic/derogatory term: en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Pink_skin
    – wilson0x4d
    Sep 15, 2015 at 18:43
  • 3
    @ShaunWilson Adding references is generally encouraged
    – Izkata
    Sep 16, 2015 at 4:19
  • 2
    Assuming that naming someone's skin colour is akin to "racism" is in vogue, I realise, but it doesn't make much logical sense. Sep 16, 2015 at 9:01

Piccard gets called an "ugly bag of mostly water" in an episode. Piccard is confused. Then Data says this is a pretty accurate description of Piccard because his skin is a more or less flimsy container and his body is 65% water and he wouldn't be very astetically pleasing to someone unfamiliar with humanity.

  • 7
    That's likely true of all humanoidinanity, not just humanity.
    – Politank-Z
    Sep 15, 2015 at 2:28
  • 2
    @Politank-Z: Humanoid inanity ? That seems a Freudian slip. Sep 15, 2015 at 4:01
  • Yeah, I guess that slipped out. Human is to humanity as humanoid is to ?
    – Politank-Z
    Sep 15, 2015 at 4:12
  • @Politank-Z: That's like asking a Ford is to cars as airplanes is to? The correct answer is humanoid is to "lifeforms". That's because Human is to humanity as Klingon is to humanoid.
    – slebetman
    Sep 15, 2015 at 7:54
  • 3
    @slebetman: What?! That's not how humanoid is generally used at all. Go think again. Sep 15, 2015 at 14:18

In "Dark Frontier" (Voyager), the Borg Queen indirectly notes that human heads lack bumps and other extra features:

"Species 5618, human. Warp-capable, origin grid 325, physiology inefficient, below average cranium capacity, minimum redundant systems, limited regenerative abilities."

— Source: Ex Astris (emphasis mine)

  • 1
    Below average cranial capacity is about the interior volume of the skull. This doesn't reflect the presence or absence of bumps or ridges, which are usually superficial. Aug 27, 2018 at 15:40
  • @ThePopMachine — That's why I specified indirectly. The Borg Queen's line sounds like a breaking-the-fourth-wall reference to the facial prosthetics that actors wear when playing aliens.
    – Gaultheria
    Aug 27, 2018 at 16:10

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