As many of you watching this already know, I fucking love Pokémon. I’ve spent 300 hours playing Sword and Shield since they released a few months ago, I have more Shiny Pokémon than most people will ever see in my collection, and I dread to think how many Pokémon eggs I have bred and thrown away during the past twelve months.
However, the more Pokémon I play, and in particular the more Pokémon breeding I do hunting for shiny monsters, the more I find myself questioning the very nature of these creatures.
How would we go about taxonomizing Pokémon, if we followed the rules of real world animals?
See, from the offset, categorising Pokémon seems like a really easy task, right? You’ve got Pidgey and Spearow, clearly birds. Goldeen and Magikarp, clearly fish. Ponyta and Rapidash, clearly horse like mammals. Barely seems worth investigation.
Oh, but you’d be wrong. So wrong. Pokémon taxonomy has a huge weird wrinkle I’ve been trying to wrap my head around for days, and it all centres on eggs, Ditto, crossbreeding, and the fact that every egg produced by every Pokémon is exactly the same type of egg.
So, follow me on this. Every Pokémon in the Pokémon series that can breed, produces eggs. There are some that can’t breed, like legendaries and baby forms, but with minor exceptions every Pokémon can be paired with another of its species, or a compatible species, and reproduce, creating viable offspring that hatches from an egg.
Now, doing a little research, there are approximately 8.7 million species of animal on earth, and of those, only two species of mammals have ever been found that lay eggs, echidnas and the duck billed platypus. That’s such an infinitely small percentage of real world animals we can essentially discount it as an anomalous result. Simplified, we can basically assume if something lays eggs, it’s not a mallal. If we’re being generous, we could maybe have two Pokémon out of our current 800+ that we can mark as mammals. Whatever is closest to an echidna and a platypus. Maybe Cindaquil for the Echidna, and Psyduck for the platypus. Otherwise, Mammals are out of the equation. Sorry Tepig, Phanpy, and Buizel, none of you are mammals anymore.
So, that leaves us with a few other types of animal classification left, including birds, fish, insects and the like. Maybe Dragonite is just a really big insect, and Pancham is an amphibian that’s really good at staying out of the water. However, those eggs present yet another issue. They’re all the same type of egg.
Every Pokémon in the series, capable of breeding, produces single eggs at a time, which when incubated with warm heat hatch more quickly, producing single offspring. This largely rules out Pokémon from being classified as amphibians, fish, or insects. Most of these either produce spawn, batches of gooey eggs, or large egg sacks. Most of these animals create huge numbers of young because their eggs are so vulnerable. Sorry Spinarak, you’re not an insect, and Wishiwashi, you’re no longer a fish.
So, what taxonomic classes does that leave us with? Well, my theory at this point is that all Pokémon are either birds, or reptiles, but not a mixture of both. Why not a mixture of the two? Well, because of viable cross breeding potential.
Every creature in the Pokémon world is split into something called an Egg Group, a classification of which Pokémon it can successfully breed with and create viable offspring. While not every Pokémon can cross breed, most Pokémon can breed with at least one Pokémon that’s dual egg group, meaning that breeding can occur between Pidgey, in the Flying Egg Group, with Cramourant in the Flying / Water 1 Egg Groups, then between Cramourant and Feebas in the Water 1 egg group. If you make enough of these chains, you can basically pass genetic information across pretty much all Pokémon with Breeding potential, via a long enough route.
On earth, cross breeding viable young across taxonomic groups is essentially impossible, no matter how many in between steps you take. Additionally, Ditto can breed with literally any breeding capable Pokémon, so it has to exist as a common point between all these species. I think that this is pretty clear evidence that all Pokémon must be either Birds or Reptiles, and not a mixture of the two.
Now, after a lot of thinking, the conclusion I came to is that every single Pokémon is a bird. Think about it. Birds can be flightless or flying, live on the land or at sea, they’re capable of swimming, diving underwater, and regulating their feather density to adapt to a multitude of temperatures. They can migrate, explaining how several species appear in multiple countries. Seeing regional variations is common. They tend to lay individual birth eggs, and they’ll attack small children unprovoked for food which would explain random battles, and they’re not afraid to chill visibly near residential areas.
Combee, you’re a tiny honey collecting bird. Wailord, essentially a huge rubber duck. Growlithe, a four legged barking fire pidgeon. It all fits.
And, before you think I forgot about legendaries which can’t breed, I have an answer for that too. They’re the Ligers or Mules of this world. The product of two Pokémon from conflicting egg groups creating a new species which exists, but is infertile. This explains how there can be multiple of them in the world of Pokémon, but they can’t breed with each other. They’re a rare unlikely infertile crossbreed between egg groups.
Right, that’s my thesis. Professor Oak, I’ll be expecting my grant money in the mail shortly.