The term "humanoid" refers to any being whose body structure resembles that of a human. In this sense, the term describes non-human hominids and indeed most primates, as well as mythological creatures and artificial organisms (robots), especially in the context of science fiction and fantasy fiction. An android or gynoid is a humanoid robot, even though the words are in principle synonymous.

Usually, a fictional humanoid species has the same basic body outline as a human, being bipedal, but differs in details such as coloring, ear form, presence of hair, average height and weight, size of nose, form of skin, "extras" such as horns, plates, claws, tails or multiple appendages, limb structure (such as having digitigrade legs) and taxonomic lineage (being descended from reptiles, fish, rodents, marsupials, or a phylum not evolved on Earth, perhaps, instead of primates). Reptilian humanoids are a common conceit.

Most of the aliens in television and movies are humanoid, since it is easier for a fictional character to be a disguised human actor. However, there are various methods for presenting non-humanoid characters, for example computer graphics, creative costuming, and puppetry.

Some people find it unlikely to have a universe populated by unrelated creatures that all look human, while others (including some biologists) believe that a species would naturally drift towards bipedalism when achieving sapience as we know it (e.g. Russell's hypothetical tro÷don-descended sapient). Occasionally, shows present a reason for this to be the case. For example, the episode "The Chase" of Star Trek: The Next Generation explained the humanoid denizens of the Star Trek universe by advancing the story of a primordial humanoid civilization, the Progenitors, that seeded the galaxy with genetically-engineered cells that guide evolution toward humanoid life (see panspermia). In most cases, however, the reason for the similarity is not explained, and it is regarded simply as a dramatic convention. A humanoid may also refer to the fictional species in the video game Seven Samurai 20XX who describe various robots,cyborgs and mutants who attempt genocide upon humans or try to simply use them for consumption purposes.

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