The Elder Things were the first extraterrestrial species to come to the Earth, colonizing the planet about one billion years ago. They stand roughly eight feet tall and have the appearance of a huge, oval-shaped barrel with starfish-like appendages at both ends. The top appendage is a head adorned with five eyes, five eating tubes, and a set of cilia for “seeing” without light. The bottom appendage is five-limbed and is used for walking and other forms of locomotion. The beings also have five leathery, fan-like retractable wings and five sets of branching tentacles that sprouted from their torsos. Both their tentacles and the slits housing their folded wings are spaced at regular intervals about their bodies.
Elder Things are vegetable-like or echinoderm-like in shape, having radial symmetry instead of the bilateral symmetry of bipeds. They have a five-lobed brain. The Elder Things exhibit vegetable as well as animal characteristics, and in terms of reproduction, multiply using spores, although they discourage increasing their numbers except when colonizing new regions. Though they can make use of both organic and inorganic substances, the Elder Things are carnivorous by preference. They are also amphibious.
The bodies of the Elder Things are incredibly tough, capable of withstanding the pressures of the deepest ocean. Few died except by accident or violence. The beings were also capable of hibernating for vast epochs of time. Nonetheless, unlike many other beings of the Mythos, the Elder Things were made of normal, terrestrial matter.