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The Progenitors were a race of humanoids in the fictional Star Trek universe that were one of the universe's oldest sentient species. They were introduced in the episode "The Chase".

About 4 billion years ago, the Progenitors explored the Milky Way galaxy, and found none like themselves. Their civilization thrived for ages -- but they knew that one day they would be gone, and nothing of them would survive. To preserve their heritage, their scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds where life was in its infancy, including Earth, the lost homeworld of the Vulcans, Qo'noS, Cardassia Prime, Bajor, Betazed, etc., with encoded DNA fragments. The seed codes directed evolution toward a physical development similar to their own. Because of this, most habitable planets in the galaxy evolved with many physically similar species (e.g. fish, trees, insects), and on many of those worlds with at least one sentient species with a humanoid configuration (bilaterally symmetrical, upright posture, two arms, two legs, brain located in head).

Anatomically, a significant percentage of those lifeforms are outwardly indistinguishable from humans, right down to such minutiae as racial subtypes, hair patterns, fingernails and cartilaginous foldings of the nose and ears. The reason they are so astonishingly similar to the human race is because the human form represents the basic way that evolution most likely takes for the dominant mammalian race on an average Earth-like planet under the influence of the seed codes and the other humanoid races (e.g. Klingons, Cardassians, Vulcans) developed under very specific and usually unique environmental conditions.

These beings were never referred to as Progenitors in any Star Trek series, it is simply a name commonly used by most of the fans to refer to them .