I just remembered the first time I read the word ‘Teenager’ It might have been during elementary school or early grammar school… Fact is, I already knew the word and its meaning since it is one of the many Anglicisms we have in the German language but I hadn’t seen it written out before back then. So seeing it for the first time was a bit confusing - especially since it did not come up during English classes but rather German classes.
You see, “Tee” and “Nager” are existing words in German so my first thought was that this must be a compound of these two words. Naturally, I read it as a German word to myself then and…. I can’t even describe how lost I felt for not knowing what the hell a “tea rodent” is
ls your opinion about all the electric rodents? both in-world (like did they have a common ancestor, any reason rodents would particularly benefit from electricity?) and irl (are they all just attenpts to band wagon pikachus success?)
WHO BOY I’m glad you asked son! We literally had a tutorial on this kind of topic the other day in my evolutionary biology class (I study Zoology at uni btw). To rephrase your first question, did the electric rodents share a common electric ancestor, or is it simply a convergent trait, i.e electricity has evolved independantly multiple times within the rodent pokemon?
Let me lead you first to a mammalian pokemon evolutionary tree I made a while back, based on irl mammal phylogenies (and my headcanons for what the various pokemon included are based on)
now, first thing I personally notice is that electric typing is actually quite rare amongst the mammal pokemon. Outside of the Rodent Order, it only occurs in seven pokemon lines, and as a trait is well scattered amongst taxa. Lets have a closer look at the order, Rodentia.
A whopping five out of the ten pokemon lines in this order have electricity, thats 50% of one order, and 41.6% of all mammalian pokemon! Electricity’s rarity may suggest that this is a costly, and difficult trait to evolve.
The probability that electricity evolved independently so many times in just a small order is very low, so therefore it is likely that all rodent pokemon shared a common ancestor with electric typing (or perhaps, even the common ancestor of the squirrel pokemon, and the beaver and mice pokemon, which excludes the non electric chinchilla pokemon). The rest of the rodent pokemon without electric typing, such as rattata, would have lost their electricity, as it is far easier to lose a trait than to gain one. (also, note that the Raticate, Bibarel, Cinccino, and Watchog lines can all learn multiple electric TMs, such as Thunderbolt)
HOWEVER, this may not have to be the case. These kind of topics in biology and palaeontology are always hotly debated, and without genetic studies and a good fossil record it becomes really difficult. For example, for ages, most people thought that snakes and lizards evolved venom independantly - the venom composition and animal morphology is relatively different, and there are very few venomous lizards in comparison to the sneks, and also based on palaeontological evo trees, and genetic evidence too. However, recently, with more advanced molecular analysis, it has been found that in fact snakes, and venomous lizards DO share a common venomous ancestor, and now form their own group called the Toxicofera.
So back to our story. When you look at electric types as a whole. Out of the 24 electric pokemon lines, 12 are mammalian, meaning that 50% of all electric pokemon lines are mammals, with the other 50% divided amongst other taxa, such as birds, fish, reptiles, arthropods, and even more artificial objects (magnemite, voltorb, rotom etc.)
It seems that electricity as a trait is really concentrated in the mammals! Could this simply be a product of bias from the rodent order? (Or are mammals simply that numerous in Pokemon anyway?)Or did the ancestor of all mammalian pokemon have some sort of electric typing? Perhaps mammalian hair promotes the independant evolution of electricity as a trait as it can form static electricity? (it’s interesting that most normal pokemon are mammals, and most normal types can learn electric tms). Whether all mammals shared an electric ancestor, or they evolved it independently, and likewise for the rodents, I believe that electricity could be a costly trait to have, and it is prevalent in rodents due to their naturally small body sizes and fast metabolisms.
Without genetics, molecular studies, and palaeontology however, we can never tell. Also like, this completely leaves out other typings as a factor. But like, this is Pokémon, so obviously none of it is real either! In regards to your second question, yeah lol, the electric rodents are definitely a marketing ploy, super band wagon style :P