One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
Which of the debaters at the museum do you agree with? – Hammond-Spruce: There’s so much science can learn from ancient Pokémon, and it isn’t fair to write them off as savage monsters that are too dangerous to bring back.
There’s obviously a lot of reason to be cautious about the technology they’re discussing – in fact, didn’t you see a disaster movie with this exact premise once? – but you think the bottom line on this one is pretty clear. The technology to return extinct species to the world is within humanity’s grasp; how can you not reach out and take it? Yeah, you’re pretty committed; research to resurrect extinct Pokémon is a good thing, full stop. I don’t know why that matters, of course; it’s not like you’re ever going to be in a position to make major world-changing decisions directly related to this topic. Why the hell would you be?
Do you want to give Zorua a nickname? – Let Jim the Editor name it. – Let the Narrator name it.
[AUTHOR TIEBREAK: The dice say we give this one to the Narrator.]
Y’know kid, you shouldn’t make a habit of this; nicknames are personal and your Pokémon should have names you came up with for yourself. But yeah, all right; if you’re not feeling too creative I guess I can give you something. You don’t technically know this yet ‘cause it’s not in your Pokédex, but what you’ve got there is a Zorua, a rare Pokémon that can impersonate other Pokémon using illusion magic – keeping its true identity secret from all but the keenest observers. With that in mind, and by the power vested in me, I hereby name this Pokémon:
Jane seems pretty pleased with herself just for having a nickname at all. You gotta have an identity in order to conceal it, I guess.
So I have some theories but I want to hear what you have to say on this.
So the latest “fossil” Pokémon clearly never actually existed (nor should they now, either), but the most interesting thing about them is none of them are rock type. In your standard reputation of reading heavily into this as world building and not Game Freak not giving a $#!+ about maintaining any sense of consistency, what would be your reasoning for this and why? If you have multiple theories, feel free to share more than one!
You like old stuff, right? What are your thoughts on fossil pokemon?
archaeologists take pains to point out that we do not study fossils (it’s a surprisingly common mistake). Not all “old stuff” is similarly old (unless
you listen to certain ill-advised religious sects); I deal in the
hundreds/thousands of years range, not millions/tens of millions. Fossils are about as much my professional
area of expertise as the moons of Jupiter are an airline pilot’s.
…as it happens,
though, I am independently a layman dinosaur
nerd with a basic knowledge of evolutionary biology, and I was a sufficiently
weird kid that, when I started school, I wanted to be not a fireman or an
astronaut but a palaeontologist. So
LET’S TALK FOSSILS.
Of all the fossil pokemon, not including the kabutops and aurorus lines, which do you think would be the most intimidating to encounter? What about the least intimidating? I did away with those two because they’re obvious answers to the respective categories, since kabutops has the whole slashing thing going on and aurorus is a gentle, color changing giant.
You know, I’m not sure I agree with you on either of those! Like, Kabutops has the slashy thing, sure, but he’s also about four feet tall, which is a big strike against him as far as intimidation goes. Aerodactyl is larger, can fly, and will eat your face off, while Tyrantrum is just unfairly massive. As for least intimidating, well, Aurorus is beautiful and gentle, sure, but still big and bulky enough that she could hurt you pretty badly just by failing to notice you. Lileep, on the other hand, is made of seaweed and literally cannot move.
I always thought the rock typing was a side-effect from the fossil reviving process.Since fossilization is the replacement of stuff with rock, and you’re specifically reviving from FOSSILS not DNA (except, I guess, for aerodactly) the typing changed
Mostly works for the games (except for, as you mention, Aerodactyl). Doesn’t work once you bring the anime into it, because there are episodes where Ash encounters surviving populations of supposedly extinct Pokémon (like the Kabuto in the Orange Islands), and even one where he actually travels through time and sees Tirtouga and Carracosta in their natural prehistoric habitat. It’s pretty clear from instances like these that the fossil Pokémon aren’t substantially altered from their original biology.
Why are mamoswine and relicanth not fossils? Also, Relicanth should evolve into a Dunkleosteuss pokemon. Cool idea, no?
Well, the whole point of Relicanth is being based on something that’s actually not extinct but just looks like it should be. Making Relicanth a fossil would sort of defeat the purpose, in a way. I mean, you could have Relicanth available as both a fossil and a wild Pokémon, which I think would be a cool way of emphasising its unusual status, but from Game Freak’s perspective, why would you do that? And would most players actually like that, or would they feel cheated by getting a ‘fossil’ Pokémon that they could just catch normally? Dunkleosteus… eh. Sure? It is again kind of defeating the purpose of Relicanth, but it’s not like evolutionary history in the Pokémon world makes any damn sense anyway.
As for Mamoswine… well, one of the ideas I have about fossil Pokémon is that they’re all Rock-types because Rock-type skeletons are unusually robust, and so representation in the fossil record is overwhelmingly skewed towards Rock Pokémon. Fossils of prehistoric Pokémon of other types – including Mamoswine – are rare enough that we just never come across them in the games.
I think everyone has a dinosaur phase, right? Mine was… longer and more educationally rigorous than most, put it that way (my parents claim to this day that my first words as a baby were not the traditional ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ but the often tongue-twisting names of dinosaur species). There actually aren’t all that many Pokémon who seem to be based primarily on dinosaurs, funnily enough, although several of the big superstar ones are represented: we have ceratopids (Shieldon and Bastiodon), pachycephalosaurs (Cranidos and Rampardos), sauropods (Bayleef and Meganium, Tropius), and of course the famous birdlike theropod Archaeopteryx (Archen and Archeops). There are also a bunch of Pokémon that are probably influenced by dinosaurs, like Tyranitar, who seems to be a tyrannosaur via Godzilla, Charmeleon, who has shades of a small theropod, Torterra, who owes as much to ankylosaurs as to tortoises, and Bulbasaur, who… well, to be honest I don’t think even Game Freak really know exactly what Bulbasaur is but the –saur suffix definitely strikes a particular note. X and Y give us two more fossils: the brutal tyrannosaurs Tyrunt and Tyrantrum, and these two loveable goofs. I probably wouldn’t have chosen another sauropod, myself – I kind of want to see a hadrosaur – but I’m not about to complain about more dinosaurs, so here we go.
Ever since the glory days of Red and Blue, the scientists of the Pokémon world have been trying to resurrect ancient, extinct species of Pokémon from their fossilised remains – and, in many cases, they’ve succeeded. Every generation except for the second has brought a new set of fossil Pokémon with it; Omastar, Kabutops and Aerodactyl from Red and Blue, Cradily and Armaldo from Ruby and Sapphire, Rampardos and Bastiodon from Diamond and Pearl, and now Archeops and Carracosta from Black and White. One could also include, as an honourable mention, Ruby and Sapphire’s Relicanth, who, like his inspiration the coelacanth, is an extremely archaic species believed for many years to be extinct until a few were unexpectedly found very much alive in the deep ocean. I talked about Archeops and Carracosta at some length when I was reviewing the Unova Pokédex last year, so there’s little point in discussing them further, and I’m not especially anxious to do detailed reviews on all of the others either when there are so many other projects on my list, but I do think it would be worthwhile to talk about them as a group, since the whole concept of a ‘fossil Pokémon’ is quite interesting, particularly with reference to the context in which Game Freak started using these ideas in the first place.