I think it’s a relatively minor miracle that we’ve reached October and I haven’t dedicated a list to Pokémon, but nature was just too good an opportunity to miss.
So let’s take a look at the seven finest examples of our favourite fictional critters giving children the best education possible with regards to nature.
Where else do we start? The vast majority of Pokémon are modelled after animals, but none are as famous as the humble (and very cute) yellow mouse. Pikachu is more than just a representation of an animal within the Pokémon world, it is a symbol for how animals are so much more than just creatures we coexist with.
Fossil Pokémon are a relatively big part of the series, but none more so than the three (and evolutions Kabutops and Omastar) introduced in the first generation. In the game, these Pokémon are brought back from extinction from fossils found by scientists; teaching kids both about archaeology and fossils (and the perfect start for a Jurassic Park addiction in the future).
Talking about Jurassic Park … Tropius is proof that Pokémon aren’t limited to just animals we see around us. This generation III critter is based on the long-necked herbivores we’ve only seen as bones in museums and artists impressions in learning books.
Kecleon and Ditto might not seem like obvious partners at first. Kecleon, the Chameleon in the Pokémon world, blends into its surroundings whereas Ditto mimics its. But both of them highlight an important characteristic of animals in nature: the necessity to hide and adapt, even in plain sight.
Ditto could be based on a single-celled organism, explaining why it can’t be obtained through breeding. Or it could just be a blob.
Sudowoodo is a fascinating Pokémon. A rock type that looks like a tree, it’s designed to represent petrified wood, otherwise known as fossilised plants. And if Kecleon and Ditto represent camouflage amongst fauna, Sudowoodo examples it the floral side of it.
Not the most obvious choice for an example of nature Pokémon, but I think Slowbro and Slowking are the most important additions to this list. For those unsure of the series, Slowpoke evolves when a Shellder (a different Pokémon) attaches itself to it.
Slowpoke is known as quite a slow Pokémon who isn’t very intelligent but both of its evolutionary forms have remarkable intelligence. Shellder and Slowpoke exist in a symbiotic relationship, a mutualism one to be precise, as the resulting evolution benefits both.
- The Alolan forms
And we end this list with the most recent Pokémon, the Alolan forms. These are Generation I Pokémon who now live in a different area of the world and have therefore adapted. In the Pokémon world, this means different types, looks and abilities.
It’s a perfect example of how nature adapts to the different climates around it. And before you knock this whole list, and scoff at my love for something supposed to be left behind in childhood, what better way can you come up with to explain the difference between an arctic fox and a British one then by looking at a Kanto Vulpix next to an Alolan one?
Oh, and Marowak, as you can see below, is better in every way in Alola …
And so there you have it, absolute proof that Pokémon is more than just a fun game, entertaining anime and a ground breaking mobile app. If you look a little bit closer, you’ll find the series is based on a lot of real life natural occurrences.