Among the many creatures that have been uninvited to the great party of life, many remain with us in the form of fossils, models, stories and in a few cases, Pokémon. The games’ protagonists have the enviable ability of reviving special Pokémon from fossils collected along their adventure, just by taking them to a research lab – no questions asked. So far these have included ammonites, archaeopteryx and good old T. Rex, but the influence of long lost life is much further reaching than that. Lapras’s fins are reminiscent of the Plesiosaurs, Yanma’s evolution to the huge Yanmega by learning the move Ancient Power is a definite nod to the massive dragonflies of the Carboniferous period, and Tropius somehow manages to be part sauropod, part banana tree.
Of course, with “only” 649 Pokémon and untold millions of extinct creatures, it’s not surprising a few have been missed off. Here are a few of my favourite extinct creatures which I’d love to see inspire future generations of Pokémon.
Lived: 380-360 million years ago (Late Devonian period)
Revived from: Slice Fossil
Poké-name suggestion: Leviathor
It’s not hard to see that Dunkleosteus was a mean beastie. At six metres (20 ft) long, incredibly well armoured and willing to take a bite out of nearly anything, they were the terrors of the Late Devonian.
Studies of Dunkleosteus fossils and computer modelling have revealed just how lethal this big fish was. Its jaw could snap open in one fiftieth of a second, creating a vacuum inside the mouth into which smaller fish and other prey (it wasn’t a fussy eater) were sucked.
Next would come the bite, or rather the slice. The tooth plates were actually extensions of the jaw bone and were ground down to fang-like points during the animal’s life, kept sharp by the scissor-like sliding against each other. The force of a Dunkleosteus bite is estimated to have been equivalent to that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
In its Pokémon form I think Leviathor would definitely make a decent tank with high physical attack and defence stats. As for evolution possibilities, well there’s always a bigger fish.
Lived: 156-151 million years ago (Late Jurassic period)
Revived from: Spike Fossil
Poké-name suggestion: Thagostreg
The stegosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaurs in the world which is why I suspect it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s given a Pokémon of its own, but I’m actually a bigger fan of some of its relatives.
Case in point: Kentrosaurus, meaning “spiked lizard”. I imagine it sizing up Stegosaurus and saying “I see your four tail thagomisers and raise you pairs all down my tail and back, plus two beastly shoulder spikes thrown in for good measure.”
These spikes were very likely put to good use against predators as the tail appears to have a fair degree of mobility to it and a movement speed of 50 km/hr. The centre of mass on Kentrosaurus is remarkably far back for a four-legged animal and this is thought to help the animal rotate rapidly on the spot so it could keep its tail trained on anything trying to take a bite of it.
As a Pokémon, I think Thagostreg would work nicely as a Rock / Steel type, although I could also see it adapted into a Poison type, giving those spikes a somewhat more sinister touch.
Lived: 4.9-1.8 million years ago (Pliocene epoch)
Revived from: Beak Fossil
Poké-name suggestion: Carnita
Switching it up to something more modern – under 5 million years old – my next suggestion is Titanis from a family called Phorusrachidae, AKA the terror birds.
Honestly though, compared to the likes of Dunkleosteus above, something along the lines of “reasonably intimidating birds” might be more appropriate. The Phorusrachidae may have loved meat, as evidenced by their hooked beak reminiscent of many living birds of prey, and towered up to 2.5 metres tall, but studies have shown them not to be the fearsome predators they were once assumed to be.
While smaller prey that could be killed with a single kick/bite combo would have served no problem, the skulls of Phorusrachidae could not have withstood the side-to-side tugs and shakes of a large animal fighting for its life. The only terror Titanis was likely causing was in the brains of lizards and rodents. Still, I wouldn’t want to get one angry…
While Titanis was native to North America, the Phorusrachidae family originated in South America. I’d love Carnita the Pokémon to show off its heritage by being done up in Brazilian carnival-style feathers and shaking a tail feather. The name Carnita emphasises its love of both meat and partying!
Lived: 265-260 million years ago (Guadalupian epoch)
Revived from: Chunk Fossil
Poké-name suggestion: Moschops (it’s an amazing name, why would I change it?!)
Bless the Moschops and its unfortunate appearance. It looks like it might be the Snorlax of Fossil Pokémon.
Moschops are not dinosaurs although they are often grouped together with them. They lived before the reign of the terrible lizards and actually belonged to a group of animals called therapsids which includes all modern mammals.
The name Moschops means “calf-face”, and in a way there is something rather bovine about them, despite their sprawling stance and creepy grin. Perhaps it’s their really chunky skulls which could be up to 10 cm thick, or perhaps it’s easy to imagine them grazing on tough-to-digest plant material all day to gain enough energy to grow to such girth.
If Moschops were ever to grace our games console in the form of a Pokémon, it would have to be a slow Rock/Normal wall. With no weapons to speak of, I’m still sure Moschops could rely on sheer bulk to soak up enemy attacks, wearing the lighter ‘mon down slowly but surely. Maybe nobody else would, but I’d take one!
General reference and source of inspiration: Prehistoric Life by Dorling Kindersley.