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This article may contain spoilers.
Originally inhabiting a star in the Messier 78 nebula, Atlanteans came to Earth 20 million years ago in search of a suitable habitat after they were cast astray for unknown reasons. They were an incredibly advanced civilization, having mastered space travel, flight, supernatural powers, and the creation of life. In the series' lore, it is believed that they were the God that religious texts spoke of.
On the quest for suitable servants for themselves, they first created whales. After this proved to be impractical, they moved onto hominids, creating the biblical figure Adam. Evidently, they created more of his kind, as shown by a gigantic skeleton guarding the way to the sunken city of Atlantis. However, this idea did not flourish, and as the Atlanteans practiced their scientific creations more meticulously, they whittled Adam's model down to the human race. Indeed, humans were originally created only to be subservient to Atlanteans.
Time and time again, they fought devastating wars and destroyed themselves. Eventually, they killed themselves off, leaving only Tartessos as the last surviving proof that they ever existed. By this time, humans had taken the role that Atlanteans held for their comparably brief time on Earth, and they quickly populated the Earth. The remaining Atlantean blood was diluted by human blood; most likely, even the royal Tartessian family was not pure Atlantean, though they held the highest concentration.
The Atlantean civilization truly died out following the deaths of Captain Nemo and Emperor Neo, leaving only Nadia. The last known person on Earth with any visible trace of Atlantean blood was Nadia's great-great granddaughter, Nadia Ito.