Morphs [Oak Catalogue #]
- Tirtouga [#564]
- Carracosta [#565]
Morphology and Notable BioThe Tirtouga Line is a group of chelonid Pokémon that were native to the waters surrounding the Unova and Kalos regions about 100 million years ago before becoming extinct and being brought back through fossil revival, mainly through the use of a Cover Fossil. The first morph, Tirtouga, is a chelonid Pokémon about 0.7 m long and 16.5 kg in weight on average. They are blue in color, with a black shell, beak, and “mask” around their faces, as well as black nubs on their front flippers. Much like Squirtle, Tirtouga are skilled swimmers, capable of going nearly 1000 meters deep in order to find prey, as researchers observing revived and bred Tirtouga have learned. They are incredibly graceful underwater, swimming by moving their flippers in a way very similar to that of avian Pokémon in midair. However, due to those very same adaptations, they are very unwieldy on land. Due to their mainly aquatic state of living, the members of the Tirtouga Line are also in possession of the ability to switch to an anaerobic metabolism on deep dives. This is coupled by lungs that are far larger in proportion to a Pokémon of their size, allowing them to take deep breaths before taking deep dives. To regulate their salt intake, they have lachrymal salt glands located in their orbital cavities that produce tears with a salt content level higher than that of the surrounding seawater, allowing them to maintain homeostasis. This can cause a Tirtouga or Carracosta on land to look like they’re constantly crying. Perhaps their most interesting trait of all, however, is their shells. The shells and internal skeletons of Tirtouga Line members appear to have properties similar to that of rock, which has led to their classification as partial Rock type Pokémon. It however remains unknown if their partial rock typing was found in specimens born during the time period, or if it happens to be something brought on by the revival process. Another ability found amongst members of the Tirtouga Line is a trait known as “Prehistoric Call”. Due to their aquatic environment, members of the Tirtouga Line appear to recover from being knocked unconscious or stunned faster than most Pokémon, which is quite useful when being attacked by predators. The second and presumed final morph, Carracosta, stands at 1.2 meters and weighs about 82 kg on average. They have the same coloration and general body plan as Tirtouga, but the nubs on their front flippers have turned into a trio of black fingerlike protrusions, while their back flippers have turned into legs with two-toed feet. The shell now covers the body of a Carracosta like a backpack, but its stomach remains uncovered, the skin beneath banded light blue. As well as sharing the same abilities as Tirtouga, Carracosta are incredibly powerful; one specimen, escaping its preserve, managed to open a small hole in the bottom of a tanker with a single slap from its flipper. They also have a powerful bite capable of easily crunching through rock and metal, allowing them to add Rock and Steel types to their diet. While still good swimmers, the addition of two legs allows them to better move around on land, which is a boon when hunting land based prey. Two submorphs of Tirtouga are currently known to science, the main difference being in the makeup of their shells. The first submorph has a notably thick shell, allowing it to withstand attacks such as an unblunted Horn Drill and render it incapable of being knocked out in one blow under normal circumstances. The shell also has similar defensive properties to that of Rhyperior’s armored hide, allowing it to better withstand electrical and flora based assaults, as well as blunt strikes and ground based attacks. The second submorph’s shell lacks the sheer thickness of the first, but Tirtouga Line members with this ability are capable of moving at quicker speeds in the rain and when submerged. Occasionally, Tirtouga can also be born or revived with turquoise skin coloration and a lighter shaded shell. These Tirtouga evolve into Carracosta that are darker shaded overall compared to other members of their species. These Pokémon are especially prized by collectors.
HabitatDuring the period that the Tirtouga Line inhabited the Earth, the area that would one day be known as Unova was mostly underwater, while Kalos' continent was a massive archipelago. According to the fossil record, Tirtouga and Carracosta mainly spent their time offshore along the continental shelf, but would occasionally come onshore for the sake of hunting prey and breeding. In modern times, Tirtouga Line members are mainly found within lab reserves due to general behavioral issues (See Hazards), with some under private ownership by trainers, such as the Gym Leader Marlon of Humilau City.
DietIn their natural time period, Tirtouga and Carracosta were mainly omnivores with a preference for carnivory, hunting the ancestors of a number of other aquatic Pokémon, with a noted bias towards other Rock as well as Steel types, such as Omanyte, as well as the Frillish and Tentacool lines. They were also capable of using their beaks to pry Lileep and Shellder off their rocky outcroppings, as has been shown through observations of revived specimens in a semi-natural environment. While they preferred hunting prey in the sea, on occasion much like Eelektross they would go on land to hunt terrestrial prey, with Carracosta being specifically suited for this purpose due to their more highly developed legs. Going by observations of captive specimens in semi-natural habitats, females appear to undergo this behavior far more than males, which may have to do with their breeding habits. (See Courting and Childrearing) While the Tirtouga Line is far more resilient than a number of prehistoric Pokémon to disease and modern foods, revived specimens still appear to have a preference for species that existed in their native time.
HazardsWhile fairly placid as a general rule when not hunting, as with most Pokémon, the members of the Tirtouga Line can be quite dangerous in the right circumstances. While their first course of action against a potential predator is to rely on their rock hard shells, if that doesn’t work, they will defend themselves. Both morphs have a hard, bony beak that can just as easily remove fingers as they could crunch through an Omanyte or Omastar’s rocky shell. Other techniques used by Tirtouga include the use of barriers to defend against attacks, cloaking themselves in water to ram opponents, shooting jets of salt water into open wounds, throwing rocks capable of causing bone breakage upon connecting, and using Obscura to power themselves up at the cost of speed. In the case of Carracosta in particular, they can do stronger versions of Tirtouga’s attacks, cloaking only their tails in water to hit their adversaries for massive damage, firing jets of water capable of breaking rock, causing rock slides, and summoning rain to power up their aquatic attacks. As a desperation technique, Carracosta and unevolved Tirtouga can break their shell’s casing, weakening its integrity in return for the increase in strength and speed brought on by their adrenaline high. Another danger is that due to the far rougher time in which they lived, revived Tirtouga Line members often lack a concept of battling for fun, and will go about competitive battles in the same manner they would a life and death struggle. Due to some of these battles ending in the death of opponents, some smaller leagues have chosen to ban the Tirtouga Line entirely, though the Indigo, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos Leagues continue to allow their use in tournaments. It is worth noting however that Tirtouga Line members of mixed heritage tend to lack the behavioral issues of their revived brethren. If you are confronted by an irate Tirtouga Line member and Repels will not work, it is advised to use energy based Electric, Grass, Ground, and Fighting attacks, as their shells do not offer as much defense against them as they would physical attacks. Their weight also leaves them vulnerable to taking major damage from tripping due to moves such as Low Kick and Grass Knot. While Tirtouga Line members are generally loners (See Social Structure), in groups they can use a technique commonly known as Wide Guard, which is a defensive barrier that works well against wide ranging attacks, but can be shattered with a direct blow. Tirtouga Line members learn this move earlier than almost any other Pokémon with the exception of the Mantine Line. This means that in groups one Tirtouga can use Wide Guard to protect against attacks that would harm all of them, while the others are free to attack with impunity on an opponent, though its power tends to wane as the battle goes on. If a Tirtouga or Carracosta manages to drag you under if attacked in an aquatic environment, kicking at the Pokémon may cause it to let you go and rush to the surface, as their breath holding ability is based on stress and activity levels. Due to Prehistoric Call, it is best to leave the area immediately upon fainting a member of this line, as it may get up not too long afterwards prepared for round two.
Courting and ChildrearingNot much is known about how Tirtouga Line members mated in the wild, but what is known from observations of revived specimens is that the males are the ones who go after the females, with one female often bearing eggs from a number of different fathers. The females would then head for the beach on which they were born to lay their eggs. Fossilized nests have revealed clutches of up to 250 eggs, though captive specimens tend to lay far less. The gender ratio of the clutches is determined by temperature, with cooler nests having only males, warmer ones females, and medium nests a mixture of the two. Once these eggs hatched, the palm sized hatchlings would be faced with a mad scramble to the ocean to avoid being eaten by land based predators such as Archen and Archeops, as well as Eelektrik and Sharpedo waiting in the waters in front of them. It has been noted through observations of revived specimens that Tirtouga eggs tend to hatch at night, likely an evolutionary adaptation to avoid predation. Out of the hundreds of mons in a clutch, it is theorized probably only one or two would manage to make it to adulthood. An interesting quirk of the Tirtouga Line’s biology, shared with the Archen line, is their ability to breed with a number of invertebrate mons such as the Tentacool and Skorupi lines, as well as with each other. However, it is believed that their breeding almost never happened within their natural environment.
Social StructureThe members of the Tirtouga Line are mainly loners that keep to themselves as a general rule, though they are not territorial towards other members of their species, choosing instead to mainly ignore them when it’s not mating season. However, during times of migration observed within private reserves, they will travel together in large numbers though these groups lack any sort of hierarchy. However, if attacked they will work as a group to fight back against an assailant.
Causes of ExtinctionThere are many theories that have attempted to explain what had made the Tirtouga Line go extinct. Some of these include competition from the precursors to the Squirtle Line, and climate change near the end of the Cretaceous. The most popular theory is that they died off due to an asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous killing off their main sources of food, leaving the Tirtouga Line to die a slow death via lack of food and competition with predators better equipped to handle post-impact conditions. This was not an instant death though, it occurred over hundreds of thousands of years.
In Human CultureWithin human culture Tirtouga Line members have been fairly popular, being a staple of any prehistoric documentary dealing in aquatic life, as well as in various children’s movies. Two famous examples include a century old Carracosta that assists a father and his companion on their journey to find the former’s son, and an atypically cave dwelling Carracosta that serves as an ally to a number of hatchlings of various prehistoric Pokémon forced to explore a dangerous new area. The “masks” of Tirtouga and Carracosta are also commonly copied by masked wrestlers. In recent times the militaries of various regions have been looking at the makeup of Tirtouga and Carracosta shells in an attempt to make better body armor, as they appear to work well against both melee weaponry and firearms. Due to their popularity in spite of the heavy restrictions on their ownership there exists a huge black market on their ownership, with an unknown amount of illegal Tirtouga and Carracosta in the ownership of unauthorized trainers. Aside from Marlon, a particularly famous owner of a Carracosta would be the former Team Plasma member N Harmonia, who used it in combat against the trainer who defeated both him and later Ghetsis Harmonia.
Written by rmctagg09