Category Archives: Ancient Animals and Their Fakemon

Ancient Animals and their Fakemon: Oviraptor

Oviraptor: Therapoda Dinosaur, Late Cretaceous

The hubris of science can be ironic at times.

In 1924, a partial skeleton, known as AMNH (American Museum of Natural History) 6517 was found in the Mongolia desert next to an egg nest (AMNH 6508).  Discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews and later named by Harry Fairfield Osborn, AMNH 6517 became known as Oviraptor philoceratops.  Its name meaning “egg thief” and “lover of ceratopsians,” Oviraptor immediately became a hit and cemented itself in the pages of children’s books as the dinosaur that ate embryonic babies.

However, with such an accusatory name, no one knew what were inside the eggs.  Everyone assumed they belonged to Protoceratops due to their fossil abundance nearby.

outdated oviraptor

Oviraptor’s incomplete holotype also made it hard to determine what exactly it looked like.  The result gave them some hooooooorible paleoart.

Barsbold (1977) was among the first to question this hypothesis by analyzing the dinosaur’s skull and concluded that it had a powerful bite.  Powerful enough that it could eat hard shell organisms such as mollusks. Because of which a strict egg-only diet would make the strong jaws pointless.  Maybe it ate eggs but it probably ate a lot of other things as well.

Norell et al. (1994) finally threw credible doubt onto Osborn’s original hypothesis when they analyzed an Oviraptoridae embryo (IGM 100/971) still trapped in its shell.  IGM 100/971 looked so similar to AMNH 6508 that Norell et al. declared the latter specimen to be an Oviraptor nest.  The skeleton that was found with the nest was most likely a brooding adult and not an egg-stealing thief.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other dinosaurian hypothesis that had made such a 180.  Here we have a dinosaur that was viewed with respite and now is looked upon with happiness.  To be fair, Oviraptor could have still eaten eggs as its diet but that’s not the point.  The point is that our perception of this dinosaur has changed from a baby-killing bandit to an offspring-concerned parent.  That is hilarious.

Oviraptor can also be found in the Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi Desert along with a host of other animals.  There are the small lizards and mammals and of course other dinosaurs.  Most famous of which would be Velociraptor and its rival Protoceratops, along with the weird Therizinosaurus and the ferocious Tarbosaurus.  The rock record also reveals, interestingly enough, that the climate of the time was probably similar to the modern day Gobi Desert.  A braided, teaming with life, river dominated the otherwise dry, sandy environment (Fastovsky et al. 1997).  Some dinosaurs were even uncovered in a desiccated position with their head pulled back and their spine extremely arched.  Some were just completely buried by a sandstorm such as the Oviraptor specimen discovered by Andrews.

Dinotopia, Oviraptor

From Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

Oviraptor has not shown up much in pop culture.  I know of two occasions; one in the documentary Dinosaur Planet and the second in the first Dinotopia book.  In the book, Oviraptor was instead called Ovinutrix (“egg wet nurse”) and they took care of dinosaur eggs in Romano’s Hatchery.  The twist?  The book came out in 1992.  Two years before Norell et al. took down the egg eating hypothesis.  What was supposed to be taken as a humorous joke instead came out as a concept that was not scientifically outdated.  What’s more, James Gurney’s, the author of Dinotopia, name change righted a wrong that should have never befallen the dinosaur in the first place.

 

OVALOOTER

Fakemon, Oviraptor, Ovalooter

Type: Fairy/Ghost

Stats: HP: 80,   Attack: 80,   Defense: 70,   Special Attack: 80,   Special Defense: 60,   Speed: 90

Ability: Pick Up, Frisk

Moves Learned Upon Leveling Up:

Start-Covet

Start-Tail Whip

6-Confusion

9-Baby Doll Eyes

13-Sand Tomb

17-Charm

22-Bite

27-Fling

31-Light Screen

35-Soft Boiled

39-Bestow

43-Disarming Voice

47–Play Rough

52-Earthquake

Learnable TMs and HMs: Hone Claws, Dragon Claw, Psyshock, Calm Mind, Roar, Toxic, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Light Screen, Safeguard, Frustration, Solar Beam, Smack Down, Earthquake, Return, Dig, Psychic, Double Team, Reflect, Sandstorm, Rock Tomb, Aerial Ace, Façade, Rest, Attract, Thief, Round, Echoed Voice, Steal Wing, Fling, Psych Up, Dragon Tail, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Confide

Egg Group: Field

Held Items: Oval Stone: 50%

Pokedex Description Version One: It loves to collect egg-shaped objects.  It’s not unusual to find one with eggs from other species.

Pokedex Description Version Two: It raises the babies of other pokemon it has found.  Prototops are the most common species they take care of.

Evolution: None known at this time

Basic Background: While driving with my gf two months ago, I said aloud, “You know, all my Ancient Fakemon came out before Generation VI.  I have no Fairy Type fakemon.  I should come up with one.” And it was right there and then that Oviraptor sprang into my head.  Of course!  Many modern paleoart interpret Oviraptoridae species with elaborate feathers.  If dinosaurian pokemon had fairies it would be the ones with elaborate feathers.

From there, she and I played around with it until we had what we wanted.  Unlike the previous two entries where I had them totally figured out and she just did the art, for Ovalooter, we came up with the ideas, design, naming, and so forth on an equal basis.

It was certainly fun coming up with a fakemon from scratch as it had been awhile for me.  This one I kind of let loose and enjoyed myself.  Ovalooter is basically a combination of Chansey and Linoone in that it just steals eggs and such and raises them as their own.  I love it.  Being a desert pokemon, Ovalooter was almost required to have that Ground Secondary Typing.  It is similar to the Nidos, Krookodile, and Flygon as Ovalooter is more of a field based pokemon and less a digging pokemon.

 

Barsbold, R., 1977. Kinetism and pecual structure of the jaw apparatus of oviraptors (Therapoda, Saurishia). Sovmestnaya Sovetsko-Mongol’skaya Paleontologicheskaya Ekspeditsiya Trudy, vol 163, p. 34-47.

Fastovsky, D.E., Badamgarav D., Ishimoto, H., Watabe, M., Weishampel, D.B., 1997. The Paleoenvironments of Turgrikin-Shireh (Gobi Desert, Mongolia) and Aspects of the Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Protoceratops (Dinosauria: Ornithischichia).  Palaios, vol 12, p. 59-70.

Norell, M.A., Clark, J.M., Demberelyin, D., Rhinchen, B., Chiappe, L.M., Davidson, A.R., McKenna, M.C., Altangerel, P.,  Novacek, M.J., 1994.. A Theropod Dinosaur Embryo and the Affnities of the Flaming Cliffs Dinosaur Eggs.  Science, Vol. 266, No. 5186, p. 779-782

 

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Ancient Animals and their Fakemon: Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus: Ornithischian Dinosaur, Late Jurassic

Ask anyone in the street to name three dinosaurs and they’ll probably give you Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, then StegosaurusStegosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaurs due to its instantly recognizable anatomy.  The big lumbering body with a comically small head, the mountainous back with huge dorsal plates, and the long spikes jutting from its tail; yes, no other dinosaur, save other stegosaurians, fit this description.  Stegosaurus was discovered by Othniel Charles Marsh during the Bone Wars in the latter part of the 1800’s.  As such, it has had a rich history of scientific curiosity and pop culture influence.

Perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of Stegosaurus is the function of their dorsal plates.  The first, and currently debunked, hypothesis was that the plates were used as defense.  However, this is unlikely due to the relatively thin plates and how they only covered the back and not the more vulnerable sides.  More likely were the two other hypotheses thermoregulation and display.

Stegosaurus could have used their plates for thermoregulation by rotating their bodies relative to the sun.  Farlow et al. (1976) were among the first researchers to test this hypothesis by designing a Stegosaurus model and observing how well the plates could absorb or dissipate heat.  Their results highly supported the hypothesis and they reasoned Stegosaurus could orient themselves relative to wind currents for better absorption or dissipation of heat.  Main et al. (2005) disagree with the thermoregulation hypothesis as there is no proper blood circulation structure that could adequately carry and dispel heat away from the body.  Also, other stegosaurians were more likely to have spikes than plates on their backs suggesting spikes were a basal trait that evolved later into plates.  As such, thermoregulation, if it even played a role, was not the main function for the Stegosaurus’ plates.

Stegosaurus, Walking with Dinosaurs

From Walking with Dinosaurs Episode 2

Main et al. (2005) concluded that the plates were more likely used for both sexual and defensive display.  Since dinosaurs had relatively good eyesight, the plates would have been highly useful for the aforementioned purposes.  Indeed, Carpenter (1998) suggested that if attacked by a foe, the Stegosaurus would laterally display its body to appear more menacing.  It would then pump blood into its plates to make them blush and appear frightening.  This behavior is well reasoned due to the highly vascularized nature of the plates.  Either way, it’s likely that the Stegosaurus employed both of these functions for its plates.

thagomizer

The tail spikes have a more humorous story to them.  Though some scientists simply call them “the tail spikes” others took on the more informal name of “thagomizer” which was based off of the Far Side cartoon as seen above.  Indeed, there’s really nothing else like the thagomizer and I just think the name fits.  Regardless of what you call them, there was some debate on whether the thagomizer was really used for attacking purposes or not.  Solid evidence came through in McWhinney (good lord, that’s his name?) et al. (2001) and Carpenter et al. (2005) papers. McWhinney et al., (2001) analyzed many Stegosaurian spikes and found that some of them had trauma-induced bone fractures and were healing or became diseased during their owner’s lifetime.  Carpenter et al. (2005) analyzed a healed punctured wound in an Allosaurus tail vertebra and was able to match it with the tail spikes in Stegosaurus.  Both of these evidence pieces support a willing intent for defense by Stegosaurus which in my book is pretty awesome.

Stegosaurus has shown up many many times in pop culture so I’ll try to keep the list down to the big ones.  First off, this dinosaur has been seen in several movies, initially in King Kong and later in other big movies such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and The Land Before Time.  It also starred in one of the most famous scenes in Fantasia; I especially remember this scene because the fight fit extraordinarily well with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with its loud, scary music and its build up to the climatic fight.  Stegosaurus is also a favorite in many dinosaur documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs and When Dinosaurs Roamed America.  Finally, and on a personal note, in the science fiction book Bones of the Earth, paleontologist and protagonist Richard Leyster was delivered a head of a Stegosaurus in the prologue so he could dissect it and be convinced that time travelling was real.  I remember reading this book in Junior High and was convinced from that scene alone that if I wanted to be a good paleontologist, I better know my biology.

Stegosaurus, Rite of Spring, Fantasia

——

STEGHOST

 Steghost

Type: Ghost

Stats: HP: 120,   Attack: 105,   Defense: 70,   Special Attack: 68,   Special Defense: 83,   Speed: 49

Ability: Intimidate, Solar Power, Hidden Ability: Sap Sipper

Moves Learned Upon Leveling Up:

Start-Lick

Start-Tail Whip

7-Mean Look

11-Yawn

16-Astonish

20-Iron Tail

24-Swords Dance

29-Spikes, Toxic Spikes

35-Poison Tail

42-Amnesia

49-Belch

55-Synthesis

60-Thagomize

Learnable TMs and HMs Calm Mind, Roar, Toxic, Bulk Up, Venoshock, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Taunt, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Hyper Beam, Light Screen, Protect, Rain Dance, Safeguard, Frustration, Solar Beam, Thunderbolt, Thunder, Earthquake, Return, Shadow Ball, Double Team, Sludge Bomb, Reflect, Sludge Wave, Flamethrower, Sludge Bomb, Fire Blast, Torment, Façade, Rest, Attract, Thief, Low Sweep, Energy Ball, False Swipe, Fling, Quash, Will-O-Wisp, Shadow Claw, Payback, Swords Dance, Psych Up, Dragon Tail,  Poison Jab, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Nature Power, Dark Pulse, Strength

Special Moves: Thagomize: Ghost Type, Power: 90, PP: 15, Accuracy: 100%.  The user builds up antimatter on its thagomizer and then attacks the foe with it.  10% chance of poisoning the foe.

Egg Group: Monster

Pokedex Description Version One: When frightened, a Steghost’s body will disappear leaving only its plates visible to confuse and scare off its foe.

Pokedex Description Version Two: A Steghost’s thagomizer can kill an attacking foe with one mighty swipe.  The victim can also be poisoned by it as well.

Evolution: Evolves from Kentrospirit at level 32.

Basic Background: I’ll be honest; I made Stegosaurus a ghost type because you could easily corrupt his name into Steghost.  But this worked pretty well in my favor thanks to those scary plates of his!  It’s also pretty liberating to not give Stegosaurus a typical type like Grass Type.  With Ghost Type, you can explore different possibilities or ideas that other types couldn’t explore.  Like antimatter!  Since Giratina is antimatter I reasoned that other ghosts could also employ the antimatter so thus, Thagomize was created.  I also realized that there wasn’t a strong Ghost Type move so Thagomize had a base power of 90 and is similar to Thunderbolt and Ice Beam.

Steghost uses aposematic coloration to confuse and frighten its enemies.  The brightly shaded and contrasting plates draw the eye to them and mute the rest of the dull-colored body.  These bright colors can warn predators not to mess with Steghost, especially how it can poison its enemies with its thagomizer.

Steghost was part of my story fairly early on and was one of the first members in the protagonist’s team.  He caught him, in his first form as a Kentrospirit, in the Sprout Tower.  The protagonist found him cowering near the top of the tower and managed to pick up the heavy beast in order to save him.  When the ghosts surrounded them near the entrance of the tower, Kentrospirit found its courage and illuminated its spines and plates creating a frightful-looking monster.  The Kentrospirit, and later Steghost, would become a steady member on the team ever since that experience.

Steghost was designed with a competitive use in mind.  He could be staller with Intimidate and the use of Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Synthesis, Will-o-wisp, Amnesia, and Yawn.  He could be a physical attacker with Grass Sipper and the use of his physical attacks and Swords Dance.  Or he could be a special attacker in Sunny Teams with Solar Power and the use of  Synthesis and special attack moves.

 

Carpenter, K., Chure, D., Kirkland, J. I., Denver Museum of Natural History, 1998. The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation: an interdisciplinary study Part 2. Taylor & Francis. p. 137

Carpenter, K., Sanders, F., McWhinney, L. A., and Wood, L., 2005. Evidence for predator-prey relationships: Examples for Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. In Carpenter, Kenneth (ed.). The Carnivorous Dinosaurs. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 325.

Farlow, J.O., Thompson, C.V., Rosner, D.E., 1976. Plates of the dinosaur Stegosaurus: Forced convection heat loss fins? Science. 192: 1123–1125.

Main, R. P., Ricqles, A., Horner, J. R., and Padian, K., 2005.  The evolution and function of thyreophoran dinosaur scutes: implications for plate function in stegosaurs. Paleobiology. 31:291-314.

McWhinney, L. A., Rothschild, B. M., and Carpenter, K., 2001. Posttraumatic Chronic Osteomyelitis in Stegosaurus dermal spikes. In Carpenter, Kenneth(ed). The Armored Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press. pp. 141–156

Ancient Animals and Their Fakemon: Introduction and Dunkleosteus

Since 2007, I have been working an extensive side project that combines two of my favorite things in life; Paleontology and Pokemon.  Basically, it was pokemon that was directly inspired from actual paleontological animals.  It was originally supposed to be a fanfic where ancient pokemon were coming through time portals and the protagonist had to figure out why it was happening before major damage happens.  However, the story was so big that I didn’t have the time or patience to do it.  The idea also resurfaced again years later when I came up with the notion of having my ancient fakemon in an RPG.  It too didn’t work out.

But the results of my hard work did not fade away; I had kept many entries where I meticulously wrote tons of data on these ancient fakemon.  Now that I have a blog, I thought now was probably the best time to show the world these creations.  Starting today, I will publish a post describing an ancient animal (what is it, why I like it, any interesting tidbits) and its inspired fakemon (typing, stats, moves, their initial roles in the storyline and such).  These posts will only be released on Fridays, however, not every Friday will have an Ancient Fakemon post.  I hope you enjoy them.

And brother, I think I picked a good one to start with.

————

Dunkleosteus: Placoderm organism, Late Devonian

dunkleosteus

Image created by and is found on http://www.sebmeyerart.com/

I fear this animal.

I can’t explain why exactly, maybe it’s the soulless eyes, maybe it’s it terrifying appearance, or maybe it’s something else entirely.  Whatever the case, I do not want to be in the water if this fish is swimming about.

Dunkleosteus terrelli is a placoderm, a relatively successful group of bony armored fish that dominated the seas during the Devonian Period.  This unique group of animals died at the end of the Devonian Period leaving no modern day relatives.  They are classified by their armor plated body structure which gave them protection at the sacrifice of speed.  Most of them were bottom dwellers and clung to the seafloor.  The Arthrodirans, a group within the placoderms, escaped the seafloor and actively swam in the water column.

Dunkleosteus is one of those Arthrodirans.  The largest placoderm discovered; Dunkleosteus could reach up to 10 meters in length. Its “teeth” were not traditional teeth like you and I have but modified bone that functions as teeth.  The blade-like “teeth” could continuously sharpen as the predator was feasting on its prey which is pretty wild.

DunkleosteusSannoble

Dunkleosteus status as the top predator in the seas is well founded due to its size and biting behavior.  Anderson and Westneat (2009) estimated that Dunkleosteus could open its huge mouth in about 60 milliseconds.  This rapid expansion created a vacuum which sucked water and prey into its mouth.  Once the prey was in its mouth, Dunkleosteus would then crush or pierce its prey from as high as 6170 N at the tip of the mouth to a staggering 7495 N at the back of the mouth (for reference, we can only bite at 294 N at the tip of our mouths).  This bite force is so large that only the great white shark and the alligator can match it (see Huber et al. (2005) for a general list of animal bites and Wroe et al. (2008) for shark bites).  Both of these methods meant that Dunkleosteus was feeding on prey that was both elusive and armor-covered such as ammonoids, arthropods, and other placoderms (Anderson and Westneat 2009).

Dunkleosteus, Dinotopia

Dunkleosteus has shown up a few times in pop culture.  The first time I saw him was actually in the second Dinotopia book, The World Beneath, where the armored fish snapped off the claw of the protagonists’ underwater ship and briefly fought a Kronosaurus.  The second time I saw him was again in Dinotopia only this time it was in the tv movies (where he was also terrifying albeit more angler fish-like).  Dunkleosteus most famous appearance would probably be in the BBC’s Sea Monsters where Nigel Thornberry Marven journeyed to the seven deadliest seas in Earth’s history.  Dunkleosteus and his Devonian Sea was ranked the Fifth Most Deadly Sea.  Nigel wanted to interact with a Dunkleosteus so he got into a round shark cage and tried to get a closer look at the fish.

I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL

“I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL!!”

I have to say, if that was me, that would be a big bag of nope.  Like I said before, I fear this creature so I don’t want to be ANYWHERE near this guy when I’m out on sea.  God, being eaten by him would probably be a cross between a shark and a hippo. *shudder*

——–

CLUNKLESTEEL
Clunklesteel, Fakemon

Type: Water/Steel

Stats: HP: 82,   Attack: 125,   Defense: 125,   Special Attack: 55,   Special Defense: 78,   Speed: 55

Ability: Strong Jaw.  Hidden Ability: Hyper Cutter

Moves Learned Upon Leveling Up:

Start-Splash
Start-Iron Defense
15-Flail
20-Bite
22-Water Sprout
25-Headbutt
29-Shear Bite
33-Glare
37-Thunder Fang/Ice Fang
40-Metal Sound
43-Skull Bash
46-Screech
50-Aqua Tail
53-Crunch

Learnable TMs and HMs: Roar, Toxic, Hidden Power, Protect, Rain Dance, Safeguard, Frustration, Return, Brick Break, Double Team, Sandstorm, Rock Tomb, Façade, Rest, Attract, Round, Scald, Stone Edge, Rock Slide, Swagger, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Flash Cannon, Rock Smash, Snarl, Confide, Surf, Strength, Waterfall

Special Moves: Shear Bite: Steel Type, Power: 40, PP: 20, Accuracy: 100%.  Sheer Bite raises the user’s Attack by one stage after damaging the opponent.

Egg Group: Water 2

Pokedex Description Version One: Scientists can tell how old a Clunklesteel is by the amount of rust that grows on their backs.

Pokedex Description Version Two: Clunklesteel have been known to ram small boats and even pierce the hulls using their steel-bladed teeth.

Basic Background: Clunklesteel is based off of Dunkleosteus.  Clunklesteel was one of the easiest fakemon to come up and play around with.  The armor nature combined with his fish status means he makes a great Steel/Water type pokemon.  The Ability Strong Jaw also fits perfectly with his terrifyingly biting force.  His famous chompers means that biting moves like Crunch or Thunder Fang are great compliments to him.  Clunklesteel’s nature means he has great Defense and Attack at the cost of his Speed and Special Attack.

Shear Bite is a move made specifically for Clunklesteel.  The continuously sharpening of his blade-like chompers fits well as a move.  Shear Bite is the Steel Type version of Power-Up Punch.

Clunklesteel played an important part in my story.  Originally, the protagonist had met a Clunklesteel when he was a kid and was traumatize by it and has since been afraid of the ocean.  The same Clunklesteel had come back when the protagonist unknowingly released it and a bunch of other prehistoric animals at a terrorist facility.  The Clunklesteel began to hunt him relentlessly and violently defeated the protagonist at every battle they met.  Each time, he was too scared to act confidently in the face of his feared foe.  One of the battles even cost him his pokemon.  It wasn’t until near the finale of the story when the protagonist had finally faced his fear, defeated it, and captured the placoderm pokemon.

I always imagined him as being a mindless machine and with this design that my girlfriend came up with, that mindless machine really shined through.  Don’t think, just eat and go, eat and go.

Finally, Clunklesteel evolves from Sillylepis (formerly Placoderp before that term became controversial) and is based off of Silurolepis, a primitive placoderm found in the Late Silurian.  Sillylepis evolves at level 20 to Clunklesteel and is similar to Magikarp due to both having poor stats and a poor moveset.

Alternative Names: Placodoom, Placodeath, Dunksteelus

I hope you enjoy the first Ancient Animals and Their Fakemon!  When time permits, I’ll make more of these later.

 

REFERENCES

Anderson P.S.L., Westneat M.W., 2009.  A biomechanical model of feeding kinematics for Dunkleosteus terrelli (Arthrodira,Placodermi).  Paleobiology.  35:251-269.

Huber D.R., Eason T.G., Hueter R.E., and Motta P.J., 2005.  Analysis of the bite force and mechanical design of the feeding mechanism of the durophagous horn shark Heterodontus francisci.  The Journal of Experimental Biology. 208:3553-3571.

Wroe S., Huber D.R., Lowry M., McHenry C., Moreno K., Clausen P., Cunningham E., Dean M.N., and Summers A.P. 2008. Three-dimensional computer analysis of white shark jaw mechanics: how hard can a great white bite?  Journal of Zoology. 276:336-342.

And Berkeley website on the “Introduction to the Placodermi” http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/basalfish/placodermi.html