!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Aerodactyl [#142]

!! Physical Description


''' Aerodactyl''' are large, ferocious, vaguely draconic, winged bipeds that are believed to have gone extinct roughly 65 million years ago in the wake of a cataclysmic meteor impact. Records of fossilized and revived adult Aerodactyl specimens suggest that the creatures possess an average height of roughly 180 centimeters and weight of just under 60 kilograms, with the average female individual being larger than her male counterpart. Creatures from this line possess a scaled leathery, lavender hide, a head with two spikes towards the back, two eyes with white sclera and diminutive irises, and a large, blocky jaw structure housing a mouthful of serrated sawblade-like teeth. Aerodactyl also possess a tail terminating in a vaguely conical fleshy spike, two rounded spikes running along its spine, a pair of clawed purple membranous wings with three digits per claw, and legs terminating with two vaguely avian feet each possessing a pair of prominent digits and a spur. Members of this line have also possess a vaguely fur-like structure composed of pycnofibres that covers most of their bodies during their youth and progressively recedes with age until a state in adulthood ranging from covering only the shoulder and upper back to a complete absence of pycnofibres. Analysis of Aerodactyl's genome has revealed recessive genes for individuals with darker violet hides and blue wing membranes, though individuals with such coloration have yet to be reliably documented.

!! Notable Biology

[[caption-width-right:333: A rare intact fossil of Aerodactyl.]]

Like many modern avian Pokémon, Aerodactyl possess a lightweight bone structure coupled with a respiratory system containing lungs and a series of precisely controlled air sacs that aid its flight. In some respects, these air sacs are even more advanced than those of contemporary creatures, as an Aerodactyl's respiratory system also supports subcutaneous air sacs in regions of its wing membranes, a feature that is effectively non-existent among more modern creatures.

Despite a fairly straightforward appearance, the wing structures of Aerodactyl are among the most complex observed of any Pokémon. Beyond the air sacs that penetrate into the regions of its wings near its shoulders, an Aerodactyl's outer wings also contain complex structure of tissues known as actinofibrils composed of three distinct layers forming a crisscross pattern when superimposed on top of each other. Aerodactyl's circulatory system in its wings is also remarkably complex, with a system of looping blood vessels with no presently known analogues in modern creatures.

Aerodactyl are apparently not far removed from modern draconic Pokémon, with Aerodactyl anatomy including a rudimentary structure akin to those of modern-day Dragon and Fire-type Pokémon capable of storing a mixture of incendiary gases and liquids to be expelled and ignited by a small region near the back of the throat containing weakly electrogenic cells; with sufficient training, these can be used to perform breath attacks. Peculiarly, tests regarding the compatibility of Aerodactyl gametes with those of modern creatures of this niche such as [[{{FanonPokedex/Charmander}} Charizard]] and [[{{FanonPokedex/Bagon}} Salamence]] have generally been inconclusive, with a number of experts in the field claiming an observed ''incompatibility'' with such cells. However, following an accidental discovery when testing the compatibility of Aerodactyl gametes with Swablu line gametes, conclusive experiments ''have'' been conducted involving artificial insemination of avian Pokemon. Including [[{{FanonPokedex/Murkrow}} Honchkrow]] and [[{{FanonPokedex/Pidgey}} Pidgeot]], with a number of these experiments yielding viable young through artificial insemination. The meaning of these results is presently unclear, though it has been suggested that Aerodactyl may represent a biological intermediary between the two groups of Pokemon.

Although it is considered to be one of the hardiest fossil Pokémon known to exist, Aerodactyl is by no means well-suited to life in a modern setting. Although mortality and susceptibility to disease is much lower among Aerodactyl than most other fossil Pokémon, even relatively harmless pathogens such as influenza can be potentially serious ailments. Aerodactyl also appear to be acclimated to life in a setting with a more oxygen-rich atmosphere, which can lead to individuals almost constantly struggling to breathe (though it appears that captive-bred Aerodactyl are less susceptible to these effects than revived Aerodactyl). Aerodactyl also fare poorly in colder climates, exhibiting sluggish and disoriented behavior not wholly unlike that of other exothermic Pokémon.

!! Habitat

Fossilized Aerodactyl specimens are rare, and have predominantly been unearthed in locations in Kanto and in Sinnoh, though a handful of specimens have also been discovered in Johto, Unova, and Kalos. Due to observed behaviors of captive individuals and the fact that the sole known method of reviving these creatures stems from tissue samples preserved in old amber, it is theorized that Aerodactyl's native domain was that of mountainous forested regions. Aerodactyl has no known modern range, barring roughly 500 revived and captive-bred individuals circulating among research groups and a much smaller number circulating among private Trainers, though reports of sightings in isolated mountainous regions and cave systems have circulated in some cyptozoological circles.

!! Diet

As its physiology would suggest, Aerodactyl possess a primarily carnivorous diet, and is believed to have been an apex predator in its native era. Aerodactyl's preferred mode of killing appears to be to rip out the throats of its prey, a behavior that was first observed after a disastrous attempt to introduce an Aerodactyl population to Sinnoh's fossil Pokémon reserve. Despite this, fossil evidence exists for Aerodactyl consuming plant matter, which has been corroborated by observed consumption of berries and pearlike fruits among captive individuals. Despite being relatively hardy in comparison to its fellow fossil Pokemon, an Aerodactyl's dietary requirements make it ill-suited to life in the modern age. [[PickyEater Most Aerodactyl, especially revived individuals, do not appear to be willing to feed on meat from all but a handful of creatures, primarily those of creatures that lived alongside it in prehistory.]] In addition, Aerodactyl's digestive system is poorly-adapted to most contemporary plant matter other than berries and a handful of other substances, which can cause individuals forced to consume such plant matter to become violently ill, with symptoms akin to that of gastroenteritis in more modern creatures. Due to the relative scarcity of compatible foods, some research programs have had to turn to [[FoodPills synthetic feed in order to keep their Aerodactyl from dying from malnutrition.]]

!! Hazards

Aerodactyl has the misfortune of having an often naturally aggressive temperament, possessing immense strength, a rock-hard body, and being relatively easy to startle, a combination that leads even many veteran Trainers to deem the creatures untrainable. Many of the hazards associated with Aerodactyl are known through a series of high-profile accidents and escapes involving captive creatures, which has led most research groups to shift their focus from studying revived individuals to more manageable and controllable captive-bred individuals. Aerodactyl are known to employ a range of biting attacks, which given these creatures' strength and near-instinctive targeting of weakly protected regions of creatures' bodies almost always results in serious, if not mortal, wounds unless attacked by a still immature individual. In addition, these creatures have been documented using a number of bone-crushing tackle attacks, which usually produces injuries serious enough to necessitate immediate hospitalization. Although effectively unheard of, attacks by battle-trained Aerodactyl have been known to include uses of [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/DragonBreath_(move) incendiary breath techniques]], which depending upon the technique utilized, can inflict second or third degree burns over large regions of the body. [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Dragon_Claw_(move) Clawing attacks]] are also known to be utilized by some captive Aerodactyl, which can lead to heavy blood loss if one is unlucky enough to be at the receiving end of one of said attacks.

In captivity, Aerodatcyl, especially revived Aerodactyl, have been known to be easily startled by loud noises and bright lights, and have been recorded lashing out at handlers or other nearby Pokémon in their panic. In addition, many Aerodactyl appear to have a poor grasp of restraint in battle, and often have to be forcibly removed from their opponents to prevent their opponents from being mortally wounded. These characteristics, coupled with the fallout from past incidents involving Aerodactyl in research settings, have led many leagues and tournaments to preemptively ban the creatures entirely, with only a handful of leagues, including the Indigo, Silver, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova Leagues allowing the use of these Pokémon, a deeply contentious matter among some competitive circles. Captive-bred Aerodactyl appear to be more suited to the controlled settings necessary to conduct competitive battles, and a small number of exhibition teams with Aerodactyl have since been allowed in some events on a trial basis.

A deeply distressing development for public safety officials has been the apparent emergence of a black market for fossil Pokémon catering towards Trainers seeking to skirt the mountain of bureaucratic red tape necessary to privately own fossil Pokémon. With the recent discovery of an illicit cloning ring in Kanto, as well as incidents of attempted thefts of Aerodactyl from research labs, a small but unknown number of unregistered Aerodactyl are known to be in circulation amongst the general public. These developments have led public safety officials to begin monitoring the teams of entrants to competitive battling events, in an attempt to find and remove these creatures from the dangerous lack of oversight from potentially ignorant, negligent, or abusive hands.

!! Courting

Due to the hazards implicit to allowing creatures such as Aerodactyl the freedom to live in a semi-natural setting, courtship among Aerodactyl remains very poorly understood. In captivity, what courtship that has been observed appears to typically begin with the male, who upon wooing a female will mate before separating to leave her to care any eggs (typically 1-3) she may lay alone. Anomalous behaviors have been observed among some Aerodactyl, with some males preferring to remain with their mates well after her eggs have been laid and hatch, and will violently resist any attempts to separate each other, though it is not known to what extent these behaviors are natural, and to what extent they are influenced by these creatures' lifestyle in captivity.

!! Social Structure

Based off of a handful of experiments involving Aerodactyl socialization and Aerodactyl eggs being left to be cared for by their mothers, it appears that Aerodactyl prefer a solitary existence, and tend to avoid each other when not attempting courtship. An Aerodactyl's gender is heavily influenced by the temperature at which the eggs incubate, with gender ratios fluctuating significantly with minute temperature shifts. The average observed gender ratio among captive hatchlings appears to be 7 males for every 1 female, though it is unknown to what extent this ratio is influenced by conditions in captivity. Aerodactyl have been found to raise their young for roughly 24-30 months after; during that time, the average young Aerodactyl will be progressively weaned off of food provided by their mother in favor of food obtained by themselves. In cases of multiple young, it is not unheard of for Aerodactyl to shun offspring visibly weaker than their siblings, which often have to receive supplemental care by researchers, in what appears to be behavior similar to the interactions between runts and their mothers among other Pokémon species. By the end of these 24-30 months, the mother Aerodactyl will drive away any straggling offspring to tend to themselves, who average between 40-50% of the mother's size at this point. Most Aerodactyl have been observed to reach their adult size at 60 months, with sexual maturity following within 8-12 months afterward.

[-Written by {{@/TracerBullet}}.-]