If you could have one Pokémon help you with your PhD thesis right now which one would you want? Like not to help you directly write it but help with other things related to it?
I like to think about things like what Pokémon would make good service animals and stuff. Pretty much any Pokémon work, the least obvious ones are more interesting!
To be honest, at the point I’m at, directly writing it is pretty much the entire remaining task; I don’t have any more travel to do, or objects to examine. So… the real answer to this question is none of them, and nothing, because there is nothing else – just my brain, the scholarship and some Word docs. And… I’d be pretty nervous about using a Pokémon’s abilities to try to augment my brain (my mind always goes back to the cautionary tale of that anime episode where a bunch of aristocrats use Drowzee and Hypno to help them sleep and accidentally scramble the brains of a dozen local children). I’ll assume Victini’s power to make its trainer always succeed at everything is off the table.
In a hypothetical world where I were still travelling to visit archaeological sites or working on physical objects, I suppose there’d be a lot more options. I’ve always thought a Claydol’s combination of psychic senses and control over earth and soil would be really helpful in carefully digging through dirt one layer at a time. Castform’s ability to manipulate the weather would be great during a dig – you can get a bit of cloud cover to avoid the worst of the summer sun, but also make sure it doesn’t rain on your open trenches. Failing that, I’d take anything that can produce drinkable water; I’m not 100% clear on whether humans can safely drink water from a Pokémon’s Water Gun attack, but if you can, the possibilities are endless. Pokémon seem to have at least some ability to comprehend human speech regardless of the actual language being spoken, so a Pokémon that can also imitate speech, like Chatot, might have some potential as an interpreter (alas, street signs would probably remain out of reach – I can read French, Italian, German and Greek with a certain… very limited degree of competence, but I can’t even sound out a single written word in Hebrew or Arabic). In terms of some more specific archaeological problems… well, Stakataka might have some very niche use if you could train it to simulate the collapse of walls and structures in different field conditions. I wonder if you could teach a Muk to run some form of microdestructive chemical analysis…?
I suppose a Metagross’s supercomputer brain would be good for the statistical processing of my chemical data that I actually do still need to finish, but I think there’s a solid argument that that would be cheating. And there is also Xatu’s ability to see into the past… but to be honest, if that vision could be reliably/safely shared with humans, it would instantly make a good chunk of the current methods and practice of archaeology and history obsolete, so if I had access to that, I probably wouldn’t be writing this thesis at all. Not that I wouldn’t still be interested in studying the past, but I’d be asking completely different questions.