In Star Trek - TNG S6E20 The Chase, the apparently first humanoid species in the Galaxy from around 4.5 Billion years ago appear, travel the galaxy and spread their genetic material on terraformed planets. In the episode, it is stated that they were the only humanoids and seeded genetic information for new humanoids to evolve on some of the primordial worlds they discovered. The recording asserts that no other humanoids existed when these seeders existed and that they specifically seeded humanoids like themselves (or at least raw material which would eventually evolve into a humanoid species with very similar co-compatible DNA)

We also know that this original species was obviously warp capable, and others likely existed at that time (such as the Crystalline Entity, and likely the Founders). I'm not asking about the first warp-capable beings in the universe. This is about a sort of "space race" between the humanoids these guys spread around - a limited set of species.

This has nothing at all to do with "inventing" warp technology either - not interested in the smartest race. If someone stole the technology from the Dominion, they won the race. If someone rides around on saddles on a Crystalline entity first, they won the race. It's about which species evolved into a humanoid and then knocked on a neighbor's door first, no matter how they got there.

The answer will be based on in-universe current information. The exact number of different species which evolved is unknown and all the different species created this way are unknown. But from what we DO know, which species was warping around the galaxy first?


  • This question specifically does not want speculation about ancient civilizations before The Chase founders (who traveled the galaxy by some arbitrary and undocumented means.)

  • Inventing warp doesn't answer this question. (Some races steal technology which leads to advances without invention, & sometimes technology travels back through time in a temporal incursion. Those were excluded from the other question but are all valid contenders here.

  • This question is NOT asking about the entire galaxy. Many species have traveled at warp for a very long time before humanoids did (The Founders have been exploring the galaxy from the Gamma quadrant since 7,600 BC. But the Founders are not in this race. Did they give warp tech to a humanoid species? Now THAT is relevant.

  • This question is NOT asking for political or ethnic collectives like“The Borg” or “United Federation of Planets.” This is about a species - distinct genetically identifiable and who share a common ancestor via this "seeding" process.

  • In Star Trek time travel sometimes brings things into existence without ever inventing them - Watch The Voyage Home. No one on earth invented the transparent aluminum used in 1986 San Francisco which spontaneously arose in a predestination paradox.

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    For the sake of this question, are that the ancient humanoids seen in The Chase (ST-TNG S06E20) the same as the 'Preservers' from The Paradise Syndrome (ST-TOS S03E03)? For that matter, why aren't they considered the first humanoid race with warp technology? How many other races/civilizations have prospered and perished in the meantime? – Jeeped Sep 22 '19 at 2:10
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    Of the races you mentioned, only Sargon and his people (were) humanoid. There's no way of knowing. I assume the Cytherians, Travelers, T'kon, and Iconians are not allowed (though the Iconians may not have had warp considering they had the portals). I think a strong candidate for "normal" races is the Borg. – Ham Sandwich Sep 22 '19 at 2:40
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    Good observation but the word doesn’t only apply to genetically related groups (despite the word origin). Genocide can be any large group or a nation as well – Vogon Poet Sep 22 '19 at 2:56
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    Seems like the first inventors and the first users are the same race, therefore this question would seem to have the same answer as the other question, and therefore this would still be a duplicate. – Todd Wilcox Sep 23 '19 at 8:57

Warp capability evolved naturally in a species which converted organic matter into energy known as the crystalline entity. This is likely the first warp-capable species and the date this species evolved is unknown, however such an evolution would necessarily be measured in many millions of years. However, referring only to humanoid species, none are known to naturally travel at warp speeds.

Based on genetic similarity to earth humans, the Voth evolved from Terran ancestors 20,000,000 years ago and traveled to the Delta quadrant (presumably to escape the asteroid extinction event Earth was about to experience). According to “VOY: Distant Origins” the Voth DNA contains 47 genetic markers of humans.

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Based on this episode, it seems from our best information the Voth had won the space race among seeded humanoid species.



The question should be unanswerable.



The universe should be about 13.787 billion - 13,787,000,000 - years old according to current evidence. Intelligent life has evolved on the planet Earth (possibly for the first time on Earth) about 4,600,000,000 years after the Sun and the Earth formed.

So it might have been theoretically possible for Intelligent life to evolve in our galaxy as early as 4,600,000,000 years after the formation of the universe, and so about 9,187,000,000 years ago - possibly much earlier if it is possible for advanced life to evolve much faster than it did on Earth.

Of course it was necessary for several generations of massive, short-lived stars to synthesize heavy elements in Supernova explosions and enrich the interstellar gas and dust with them in order for solid planets to form on which life could evolve, eventually become intelligent, and discover enough metals to build civilizations.

So it may have taken millions or even billions of years after the formation of the first stars and galaxies for stars and planets to form with enough heavy elements to eventually evolve intelligent, civilized beings. But I expect that the first civilized species in our universe could have evolved four billion years ago, or five billion years ago, or six billion years ago, or seven billion years ago, etc.

The star Kepler-444 is estimated to be about 11.2 billion years old, and it has four small rocky planets orbiting close to it. This implies that intelligent life might have evolved and developed civilization as long ago as about 6.6 billion years ago, which is about 2 billion years before the Sun "burned hot in space".

In "City on the Edge of Forever":

KIRK: Then what is it?

GUARDIAN: (The doughnut pulses bright in time with the words) A question. Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.

KIRK: What are you?

GUARDIAN: I am the Guardian of Forever.

KIRK: Are you machine or being?

GUARDIAN: I am both and neither. I am my own beginning, my own ending.

SPOCK: I see no reason for answers to be couched in riddles.

If the Time Guardian has been waiting since before the species Homo sapiens evolved about 200,000 years ago, and since before the Sun first shone about 4,600,000,000 years ago, it has been an artifact and/or a being for at least 4,600,000,000 years.

Of course since it is a time travel artifact it might have been sent back in time to over 4,600,000,000 years ago and that is not proof that there actually was a civilization over 4,600,000,000 years ago.

The ruins of a large city on the time guardian's planet are only:

SPOCK: And of considerable age. On the order of ten thousand centuries old.


And a civilization existing a mere million years ago was insignificantly old compared to the age of the Guardian of Time. But on the other hand there could have been civilizations on that planet much older than the ruined city that have no remaining traces for Spock to detect.

In TNG "The Chase" there is a puzzle left by an ancient species in the DNA of lifeforms on many different planets.

LAFORGE: This is not a natural design. Captain. This is part of an algorithm, coded at the molecular level.

PICARD: An algorithm? Are you saying that these DNA fragments are elements in some kind of computer programme?

LAFORGE: I know how it sounds, but there's no way this could be a random formation. This is definitely part of a programme.

CRUSHER: This fragment has been part of every DNA strand on Earth since life began there, and the other fragments are just as old. Someone must have written this programme over four billion years ago.

PICARD: So, four billion years ago someone scattered this genetic material into the primordial soup of at least nineteen different planets across the galaxy?

DATA: The genetic information must have been incorporated into the earliest lifeforms on these planets, and then passed down through each generation.

And the program creates a hologram with a message from a species that evolved over 4,000,000,000 years ago and found no other intelligent life in their part of the galaxy. So they seeded their genes on many young planets so that someday intelligent beings like them would evolve on those planets.


In the TAS episode "Beyond the Farthest Star" a strange alien starship is found orbiting a dead star:

KIRK: Can you identify that metal, or the design of the ship?

SPOCK: Negative to both, Captain. Unknown alloy, harder and lighter than any registered metal. It is not a recorded galactic starship design. Retro analysis of the ship's spectra dates it as having been in orbit here for slightly more than three hundred million years.

UHURA: It's beautiful. What kind of people could have built it, to touch even a starship with grace and beauty?

KIRK: A civilisation that advanced three hundred million years ago before life even emerged on Earth.

MCCOY: Barely an instant in eternity, Jim.


So that is an example of a civilization advanced enough for interstellar travel that existed about 300,000,000 years ago and is no more.

So species must have been evolving, building advanced civilizations, discovering warp drive and exploring the galaxy, and later dying out, for hundreds of millions of years. And some former warp capable species may have retained their civilizations to the present but given up space travel, and other former warp capable species may have lost their civilizations but still exist as primitive hunter-gatherers.

And the question is a bit imprecise. Is it asking for the first humanoid warp capable species to evolve as a species, or for the first humanoid species to become warp capable?

My interpretation of the histories of several species in Star Trek, such as Vulcans and Bajorans, is that they developed advanced and possibly warp capable civilizations that fell and rose again a few times in their history, so that their present warp capable civilizations are not the first civilizations, or even the first warp capable civilizations, in the histories of those species.

And if that is the case for some species, should they be dated by the first or by the most recent date when they developed warp drive?


There is one possibly correct answer from one possibly canonical source describing the known to the Federation warp capable species considered the oldest at one specific time in Star Trek history.

in TAS, which has not always been considered totally canonical by all Star Trek creators and fans, the episode "The Jihad", which opens with a log:

Captain's log, stardate 5683.1. We're making a rendezvous with the Vedala asteroid on a unique mission. The Vedala are the oldest space faring race we know. They say something incredibly dangerous to the safety of our galaxy is developing and they have sent for selected specialists, including Spock and myself.


As Memory Alpha says:

The Vedala were a species associated with the Vedala asteroid. They were, as of the mid-23rd century, the oldest surviving spacefaring race known to the Federation. Physically, they had somewhat feline characteristics, including a tail, and a mighty roar.


  • Good research but do the Vedala share a common ancestry from the ancient race? Are they a contender? Also, the question is clearly unanswerable if you assume out-of-universe time references. Hate that you spent all that energy! Also it is fairly clear that becoming warp-capable is the question (by hook or by crook). “Quitting space travel” = don’t care. Is “beyond the farthest star” species humanoid & of common descent from known histories? – Vogon Poet Sep 22 '19 at 20:12
  • @Vogon Poet The Vedala were felines, with a hhumaoid shape with fur, cat like features, and a tale. The aliens in "Beyond the Farthest Star" had an unknown general body plan and insect like a faces according to the images I have seen. memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/… I have added scientific data about star Kepler-444 to my answer. – M. A. Golding Oct 5 '19 at 5:53
  • I agree they were surviving, and known to the Federation, but Voth were Delta quadrant and probably were not known at that episode. Also oldest warp capable doesn't say if they were first or not, just that they themselves were oldest (unless they were warp capable for the longest duration). Can it be interpreted that way? – Vogon Poet Oct 5 '19 at 12:12

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