If you were looking for the TCG set, see Fossil (TCG).
If you were looking for the Pokémon identified in its Pokédex entry as the "Fossil Pokémon", see Aerodactyl (Pokémon).

A Fossil (Japanese: 化石 Fossil) is a trace or piece of an organism from the past, such as a skeleton, shell, or leaf, preserved in the earth.

Fossil Pokémon and their real life inspirations as displayed by the real-world Pokémon Fossil Museum, drawn by Hitoshi Ariga

In the Pokémon world, Fossils of prehistoric Pokémon are items which can be revived into living Pokémon using techniques developed by the Devon Corporation and a research laboratory on Cinnabar Island. The two institutions purportedly developed their techniques independently of each other at around the same time. There are also other scientists around the Pokémon world who can revive Fossils using these techniques.

Pokémon revived from Fossils and the evolutions of those Pokémon are called Fossil Pokémon, or fossil Pokémon.[1] [2] [3] [4]

In the games

Scientists who can revive Fossils can be found in every core series game except the Generation II games and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Prior to Generation IV, Fossils were Key Items. However, from Generation IV and on, they are normal items, meaning that they can be traded freely between games. The table below summarizes the natural availability of the Fossils in the core series games.

Gen I Gen III Gen IV Gen V Gen VI Gen VII Gen VIII
RSE FRLG DPPt HGSS XY ORAS SM USUM PE SwSh BDSP
Helix Choose one N/A Choose one Unlimited UnlimitedHG Unlimited UnlimitedY UnlimitedAS Unlimited* Unlimited* N/A Unlimited
Dome UnlimitedSS UnlimitedOR Unlimited*
Old Amber One One Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited * Unlimited
Root N/A Choose oneRS
One of eachE
N/A Unlimited UnlimitedSS Unlimited UnlimitedX Choose one Unlimited* N/A Unlimited
Claw UnlimitedHG Unlimited*
Skull N/A UnlimitedDPt* Unlimited Unlimited UnlimitedAS OneS Unlimited* UnlimitedBD
Armor UnlimitedPPt* UnlimitedOR OneM Unlimited* UnlimitedSP
Cover N/A N/A Choose oneBW
Unlimited*B2W2
Unlimited UnlimitedAS OneS Unlimited* N/A
Plume UnlimitedOR OneM Unlimited*
Jaw N/A Choose one Unlimited*
Sail Unlimited*
Bird N/A N/A N/A N/A Unlimited*
Fish Unlimited*
Drake Unlimited*
Dino Unlimited*


In the games, relatively few Pokémon Trainers possess Pokémon revived from Fossils, since they are considered rare and difficult to obtain.

Generation I

 
The Fossils found in Mt. Moon

In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the first three Fossils were introduced. They have also appeared in most of the later games. They can be resurrected into these respective Pokémon:

        
Helix Fossil Dome Fossil Old Amber

The Helix and Dome Fossils are chosen near the end of the second basement passage in Mt. Moon, being guarded by a Super Nerd, but the player may only choose one to keep. The other one that the Super Nerd takes will be revived and put on display in the Fuchsia City zoo in front of the Safari Zone. The Old Amber is located in the secret part of the Pewter Museum of Science, which can only be accessed with HM01 Cut. In the regularly accessible portion of the museum are complete fossilized skeleton displays of Kabutops and Aerodactyl.

A scientist in the Pokémon Lab on Cinnabar Island can revive the Fossils. The resulting Pokémon are level 30.

There are no held items in Generation I, so fossils cannot be given to Pokémon to hold.

Lance is the first Trainer to be seen with a Fossil Pokémon, possessing an Aerodactyl due to its draconic appearance.

Generation II

No new Fossils were introduced in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, and the three Fossils from Generation I have been removed from the games' data. In-game, the player simply doesn't happen to find any Fossil during their adventure, while the previously introduced Cinnabar Lab has been destroyed.

However, Omanyte, Kabuto, and Aerodactyl are prominently featured in the puzzles located at Ruins of Alph. Of the three, only Aerodactyl is actually obtainable in the games via an in-game trade with an NPC in Kanto (for Chansey). Omanyte and Kabuto must be traded from Generation I.

Lance, who is now the Pokémon Champion, continues to have an Aerodactyl on his team. In addition, Brock, being a Fossil enthusiast, has an Omastar and a Kabutops in this generation's games, as well as the Stadium games in Gym Leader Castle. His fondness of Fossils is referenced again in the next generation of games when a man in Mt. Moon mentions that Brock helps excavate Fossils at the location, which implies that he excavated Omastar and Kabutops's Fossils himself.

Generation III

In Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, two new Fossils were introduced. They can be resurrected into these respective Pokémon:

     
Root Fossil Claw Fossil

In Ruby and Sapphire, the player can choose one of either the Root or Claw Fossils at Route 111, and upon choosing, the other will sink away into the sand. In Emerald, however, while the player can only choose one initially at the Mirage Tower, they can retrieve the other later at the end of the Desert Underpass. In all three versions, Fossils may be revived by a scientist in the Devon Corporation building in Rustboro City and the newly resurrected Pokémon are obtained at level 20.

In the Generation I remakes, the player can obtain the same Fossils as in the original versions: a required choice of the Helix or the Dome Fossil after fighting a Super Nerd in the second basement of Mt. Moon, and the Old Amber from a scientist in the secret area of the Pewter Museum of Science. Likewise, a Scientist on Cinnabar Island can still revive the fossils; however, the newly resurrected Pokémon are this time obtained at level 5.

In Ruby and Sapphire, the Champion Steven Stone has two Fossil Pokémon, Cradily and Armaldo. In Emerald, over the course of rematches, Roxanne will eventually gain a Kabutops, an Omastar, and an Aerodactyl for her team. In this game, Steven is no longer the Champion, but he may be encountered at Meteor Falls with a higher level variation on his original team that still includes his Fossil Pokémon partners. In FireRed and LeafGreen, Lance continues to have Aerodactyl on his team, the resurrected form of the fossil that wasn't chosen at Mt. Moon can still be viewed at the zoo in Fuchsia City, and complete fossilized skeletons of Kabutops and Aerodactyl are still on display at the Pewter Museum of Science.

In Generation III, all Fossils are Key Items, and cannot be traded to other games to be revived.

Generation IV

In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, two new Fossils were again introduced:

     
Skull Fossil Armor Fossil

These Fossils can be turned into level 20 Pokémon at the Oreburgh Mining Museum.

In Diamond and Pearl, for the first time in the series, the Fossils the player is able to receive are dependent on the version played: Skull Fossils are available in Diamond only and Armor Fossils in Pearl only. In Platinum, whichever Fossil a player digs up will depend on whether the Trainer ID is even or odd. If the Trainer ID is even, the player will dig up Armor Fossils only, and if the Trainer ID is odd, the player will dig up Skull Fossils only.

In Sinnoh, when players travel to the Underground, they can find most of the Fossils by digging, along with several other rare items, potentially. After getting the National Pokédex, they can also find the five Fossils from the previous three generations. However, the chances of finding most of the previous generation Fossils, much like with several other items, follows a similar formula to the Sinnoh Fossils. This makes it easier to find certain Fossils which are found uncommonly, while the others become more difficult in the opposite version which instead are found very rarely. For example, the Helix and Claw Fossils have an easier chance to be found if the Skull Fossil is available, or the Dome and Root Fossil if the Armor Fossil is available. The Old Amber is the only Fossil whose ratio remains unchanged regardless of version as it will always be found rarely.

In Johto's Generation IV games, the DomeSS and HelixHG Fossils as well as the Old Amber can be found randomly by smashing breakable rocks outside Ruins of Alph. RootSS and ClawHG Fossils can be found randomly by smashing breakable rocks in the Cliff Cave after entering the Hall of Fame. Fossils found in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver can be revived as level 20 Pokémon at the Pewter Museum of Science. The Skull and Armor Fossils are absent from both games, so either they, or the Pokémon revived from them, must be transferred from Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum.

Starting in this generation, Fossils are considered to be normal items. As such, they can be held by a Pokémon and traded to another game.

Roark has a Cranidos, while his father, Byron, has a Bastiodon. Rampardos and Shieldon are also used by two minor Trainers. After entering the Hall of Fame, Aerodactyl can be spotted with other Trainers.

As in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Brock has an Omastar and a Kabutops on his team in HeartGold and SoulSilver and also uses a Rampardos in rematches. Lance continues to have Aerodactyl on his initial team, but it is not used in rematches.

Generation V

Pokémon Black and White once again brought a new set of Fossils to the Pokémon world:

     
Cover Fossil Plume Fossil

These Fossils can be revived into level 25 Pokémon using a machine in the Nacrene City Museum.

In Pokémon Black and White, one of these two Fossils will be given away by a person in Relic Castle, similar to how the Helix and Dome Fossils are originally obtained in the Kanto-based games.

In the sequels to these games, the Cover and Plume Fossils are instead given away by former Gym Leader Lenora at the Nacrene City Museum itself, which is only accessible after defeating Iris and entering the Hall of Fame.

After defeating GhetsisBW or IrisB2W2, Fossils that were introduced in previous generations will be given out by a Worker in Twist Mountain, with one being given out per day. In addition, after defeating Iris and achieving Rank 15 for Join Avenue, the Antique Shop on Join Avenue has a chance of selling a mystery box that could contain any fossil, whether introduced in Generation V or earlier. And as with Generation IV, Fossils are regular items and may be held by Pokémon and traded to other games.

In Chargestone Cave, a couple of Ace Trainers battle with a Tirtouga and an Archen in both sets of games. The potential Pokémon used by opponents on the Battle Subway are inclusive of both Fossil Pokémon and their evolutions, and Subway Boss Emmet uses Archeops in one of his rematch battles.

In Black and White, both Carracosta and Archeops are used by N in the final battle against him within his castle.

In Black 2 and White 2, two Backpackers on Route 1 also use teams entirely made out of Fossil Pokémon, and new Gym Leader Marlon uses Carracosta in all battles against him. During Pokémon World Tournament competitions, many contenders use teams that may include of Fossil Pokémon: Blue has Aerodactyl; Brock has Omastar, Kabutops, and Aerodactyl; Erika has Cradily; Falkner has Aerodactyl; Bugsy has Armaldo; Roxanne has Cradily, Armaldo, and Carracosta; Steven has Cradily, Armaldo, and Archeops; Roark has Rampardos and Archeops; Byron has Bastiodon; Skyla has Archeops; Marlon has Carracosta; Ace Trainer X has Archeops; and Ace Trainer Makina has Tirtouga. In the Rental Tournaments, all four Generation V fossil Pokémon are available to rent by both the player and all other competing trainers.


Generation VI

Two Fossil Pokémon were introduced for Pokémon X and Y.

     
Jaw Fossil Sail Fossil

One of the two Fossils is given to the player in Glittering Cave and can be restored at the research facility in Ambrette Town. The resulting Pokémon are level 20. The Old Amber can also be collected after this by smashing breakable rocks in the back of Glittering Cave.

Gym Leader Grant uses Tyrunt and Amaura and their evolved forms in subsequent rematches. Champion Diantha also uses Tyrantrum and Aurorus.

After entering the Hall of Fame, the player can return to Glittering Cave and smash rocks to find the Skull, Armor, Plume, and Cover Fossils, regardless of version, as well as Root and Claw FossilsX or Dome and Helix FossilsY.

In Hoenn's Generation VI games, the Root and Claw Fossil are collected and restored the same way as the original Ruby and Sapphire games. Restoring Fossils can be done at the second floor of the Devon Corporation. After battling GroudonOR/KyogreAS, a number of other Fossils can be collected by smashing breakable rocks at the Mirage spots. While the Old Amber can be found regardless of version, the Dome, Armor, and Plume Fossils are exclusive to Omega Ruby and the Helix, Skull, and Cover Fossils are exclusive to Alpha Sapphire. The Jaw and Sail Fossils are absent from both games, but may be transferred from X and Y - for as with Generations IV and V, Fossils are regular items and may be held by Pokémon and traded to other games.


Generation VII

Generation VII introduces no new Fossils, but the player may obtain most of the previous Fossils depending on the game. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, only the Fossils from Sinnoh and Unova are available. Their location is at Olivia's jewelry shop in Konikoni City, where the player can buy a Skull Fossil and a Cover Fossil in Pokémon Sun or an Armor Fossil and a Plume Fossil in Pokémon Moon.

In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, this has been expanded to include more of the previous Fossils which were absent from the original games. The Helix, Claw, and Jaw Fossils may be purchased alongside the Skull and Cover Fossils in Ultra Sun, and the Dome, Root, and Sail Fossils may be purchased alongside the Armor and Plume Fossils in Ultra Moon. Additionally, unlike the original games, any of these fossils can now also be obtained from Isle Aphun at Poké Pelago regardless of version. This is done from conducting a Rare Treasure-Hunting expedition (or an Interesting Item-Hunting expedition once the island has reached Development Level 3), where any of these Fossils have a very rare chance of being obtained.

The Fossils can be revived at the Fossil Restoration Center on Route 8. The newly revived Pokémon come at level 15.

Unlike the other Fossils, the Old Amber is unobtainable in Alola. Instead, an Aerodactyl can be obtained at Seafolk Village as a gift Pokémon.

Several minor Trainers use some of these Fossil Pokémon or their evolved forms as part of their teams. In addition for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon only, Olivia uses both Lileep and Anorith during her grand trial. Later, when the player faces Olivia at the Pokémon League, they have evolved into Cradily and Armaldo respectively as part of her upgraded team. At the Battle Tree, Battle Legend Blue uses Aerodactyl, much as he had in for the Pokémon World Tournament in Black 2 and White 2.

In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, all three Kanto Fossils are obtainable in the same locations as they were in Generations I and III. On the second basement of Mt. Moon, the player must still make a choice of either the Helix or Dome Fossil to proceed with the main story, and the Old Amber may still be obtained from a scientist in the restricted annex at the Pewter Museum of Science after their first partner Pokémon has learned the Secret Technique Chop Down. All three fossils may be revived at the lab on Cinnabar Island, but this time the resulting Pokémon are obtained at level 44.

Additional instances of the Kanto fossils may be obtained in these versions; a first for the Generation I games and their remakes. All three fossils may be found on the second floor of Cerulean Cave, where random rare items spawn occasionally.

During rematches, Brock adds an Omastar and a Kabutops to his team in a reflection of their usages in Generation II, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, and Black 2 and White 2. Lance still uses an Aerodactyl on both his teams, as does Blue in his rematch team in a reflection of its usage in his teams in Black 2 and White 2, Sun and Moon, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Either Omanyte or Kabuto may still be seen at the Zoo in Fuchsia City, depending on which fossil was not chosen in Mt. Moon, and the fossilized skeletons of Aerodactyl and Kabutops are still on display in the Pewter Museum's normally accessible floors.

Generation VIII

Generation VIII introduced four new Fossils, the most of any generation. Reviving Fossils in Pokémon Sword and Shield is a much different process than it has been in the past generations. Two completely different Fossils must be combined, by Cara Liss on Route 6, to form a chimeric Fossil Pokémon. These Pokémon all start at level 10, their genders are unknown, and cannot breed. These are also the only Fossil Pokémon that are not Rock-type.

Fossil Combination  
Fossilized Bird
 
Fossilized Fish
 
Fossilized Drake
   
Dracozolt Dracovish
 
Fossilized Dino
   
Arctozolt Arctovish

Most previous Fossil Pokémon can be encountered in the wild in the Crown Tundra, often as wanderers, with possible exceptions being Omanyte and Omastar (exclusive to Sword), Kabuto and Kabutops (exclusive to Shield), and Generation IV Fossil Pokémon (unavailable in both versions). While no attention is brought to the reason for their presence as wild Pokémon in modern times, with most of their Pokédex entries in Sword and Shield either mentioning they were revived from Fossils or glossing over their status as Fossil Pokémon entirely, Omanyte's entry in Pokémon Sword specifically mentions specimens that either escaped or were released after their revival. The only other clearly stated case is Kabuto, whose Pokédex entries have been mentioning its status as a living fossil since Generation II. Data for their respective Fossils still exists in the games, but they cannot be obtained.

In Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, it is for the most part the same as Diamond and Pearl, with only the Fossils from the first four generations available, with Skull Fossils being exclusive to Brilliant Diamond and Armor Fossils being exclusive to Shining Pearl. They can be dug up in the Underground's replacement, the Grand Underground. Unlike the originals, the Fossils from the first three Generations are available earlier; the requirement for them to appear in the Grand Underground is to defeat or capture DialgaBD or PalkiaSP on the Spear Pillar, rather than obtaining the National Pokédex, but their encounter ratio is still the same depending on the version like the original games, excluding the Old Amber.. Like in the originals, Roark uses a Cranidos and his father Byron uses a Bastiodon, both as their highest-leveled Pokémon. Rampardos and Shieldon are used by a few Trainers, and the former evolves from Roark's Cranidos in the rematch with him, which can be done once per day after entering the Hall of Fame and obtaining the National Pokédex. In said rematch, Roark additionally uses an Aerodactyl and an Armaldo, two other Fossil Pokémon.

In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Fossils do not exist at all, in the game's coding or otherwise. Rather, only Cranidos and Shieldon can be obtained, and they can be found as rare spawns in space-time distortions in the Coronet Highlands.

Generation IX

There are no new Fossils to acquire in Scarlet and Violet, and thus no new Fossil Pokémon, and similar to in Generation II there is no way to obtain old Fossils and the Pokémon therein. As of Version 3.0.0, the Cranidos and Shieldon lines are the only Fossil Pokémon available.

Appearance

Underground

     
Helix Fossil Dome Fossil Old Amber
       
Root Fossil Claw Fossil Skull Fossil Armor Fossil


Grand Underground

     
Helix Fossil Dome Fossil Old Amber
       
Root Fossil Claw Fossil Skull Fossil Armor Fossil

Pokémon Global Link

     
Helix Fossil Dome Fossil Old Amber
       
Root Fossil Claw Fossil Skull Fossil Armor Fossil
       
Cover Fossil Plume Fossil Jaw Fossil Sail Fossil


In spin-off games

Pokémon Quest

 
A Fossil in Pokémon Quest

A Fossil is an ingredient that can be used in cooking to attract wild Pokémon in Pokémon Quest. They are grey ingredients that are hard, small, and a mineral.

Description

Games Description
Quest Hard and small ingredients.

Acquisition

Fossil is a possible ingredient that can be obtained by completing expeditions. As they are grey, Fossils are most commonly found in the areas Parched Peak, and Farside Fjord. They can also be obtained randomly by recycling Power Stones.

In the anime

Main series

 
A Plume Fossil in the anime
 
A fossilized Sunkern leaf in the anime

In the anime, some Fossil Pokémon are in fact, not extinct, but have simply been hibernating underground for millions of years, as seen in Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon, Shell Shock!, and Fossil Fools. However Gary has used research to directly revive Fossil Pokémon, as seen in Putting the Air Back in Aerodactyl!. Unlike in the games, where Fossils of ancient Pokémon are resurrected into the skeletons of the prehistoric using a machine that recreates the missing organs that had decomposed away from the genes extracted in the remains, this Aerodactyl was in fact completely revived from a Fossil that was fully preserved inside of an Old Amber for millions of years and thus still had the memories of its past life.

Butler tried to create a Groudon for Team Magma in Jirachi: Wish Maker from a fossilized remnant, but the experiment failed and Butler left Team Magma. Professor Proctor used research to directly revive Fossil Pokémon, as seen in Where's Armaldo?.

Roark, as he does in the games, has a Cranidos which evolves into a Rampardos. Roark and his team retrieve Fossils from the Oreburgh Mine and give them to the Oreburgh Mining Museum. The museum's director Dr. Kenzo uses the Fossils for their Fossil revitalization program. Roark's Pokémon, as well as several other Fossil Pokémon revived by the Fossil Restorer Machine, appear in A Gruff Act to Follow!, Wild in the Streets!, and O'er the Rampardos we Watched!. Byron, Roark's father, also has quite a collection in his Gym. This includes the Fossil Pokémon Kabuto, Kabutops, Omanyte, Omastar, Cradily, and Armaldo, as well as a giant Claw Fossil. He also kept a Sunkern leaf Fossil that Roark found when he was a child.

In A Night in the Nacrene City Museum!, a Kabuto Fossil was first seen chasing Hawes, as he claimed it to be doing, but was later seen safely placed in a display case. Hawes later explained what it was to the trio. It was later revealed that the Yamask in the Nacrene City Museum was using its move Psychic to make the Dome Fossil float and chase after Hawes after he put its mask in a display case, thinking that it was a replica Yamask mask given to him as a gift from the company that made a Cofagrigus replica after purchasing it from them for the museum.

Lenora gave a Plume Fossil to Professor Juniper and Fennel prior to Archeops In The Modern World!. They successfully resurrected a female Archen from the Fossil using Musharna's dream energy. With the help of Ash and his Tranquill, Archen learned how to fly and then evolved into Archeops.

In A Restoration Confrontation! Part 1, Team Rocket stole a Cover Fossil from Ferris. Dr. Zager revived it into a Tirtouga as part of a plot to open a Time Gate beneath Twist Mountain, but the Tirtouga subsequently escaped, evolved into Carracosta and returned to the past through the Time Gate in the next episode.

Kiawe found two Fossils in Treasure Hunt, Akala Style!, during the Stoutland Search treasure hunt set up for Ash and his classmates by Olivia. On the first round, he found a Skull Fossil, and on the second one, he found a Plume Fossil.

Goh found an Old Amber in Restore and Renew! during a Fossil excavation. It was later revived into an Aerodactyl and caught by him.

In A Pinch of This, a Pinch of That!, Ash, Goh, and Chloe traveled to Galar to dig up Fossils in the Wild Area. With the help of Cara Liss and Bray Zenn, they found four Fossils and revived them into a Dracovish and an Arctozolt, which Ash and Goh, respectively, later caught.

Gallery

Pokémon Origins

 
Dome and Helix Fossils in Pokémon Origins

The Dome and Helix Fossils were seen briefly in File 2: Cubone, being hogged by a Super Nerd whom Red encountered on Mt. Moon.

In File 3: Giovanni, Red was seen using a Kabutops in his battle against Giovanni, presumably revived from a Dome Fossil. Since Red is mentioned to have caught all 150 Generation I Pokémon (excluding Mew) by the time of File 4: Charizard, it means that he has also obtained the other Kanto Fossil Pokémon, presumably also revived from Fossils. As Blue was mentioned to have collected 148 Pokémon, it is likely that he had also collected all Kanto Fossil Pokémon.

In the manga

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: other manga
 
Aerodactyl being revived from Old Amber in Blaine's lab

Pokémon Adventures

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Lance and Brock both have Fossil Pokémon, just as in the games. Misty also temporarily has an Omanyte, but she gives this to Yellow. In addition, Red uses Blaine's laboratory to revive an Aerodactyl. In Hoenn, Ruby fights a revived Lileep and an Anorith at Professor Cozmo's laboratory in Fallarbor Town. In Sinnoh, Roark has a Cranidos like in the games, and his father a Shieldon, which he later gives to Diamond. In Unova, N had an Archeops, which he released, and Black has a Carracosta, which was owned by Marshal as a Tirtouga. Blake also has a Kabutops. In Kalos, Grant has an Aurorus and a Tyrantrum. In Galar, Marvin obtained a Dracovish after saving it from several Macro Cosmos employees.

In the TCG

 
The Unidentified Fossil from the Sword & Shield Series, which can evolve into the most different species of Pokémon. While it shows the Helix, Skull, Armor, and Sail Fossils, it can evolve into both species related to those Fossils and species unrelated to those Fossils.

All Fossils have appeared in the TCG at one point or another, usually being released in the same expansion as the Pokémon which are revived from them, and being released as Trainer cards. When the Trainer card type was split into multiple subtypes in Black & White, cards depicting Fossils usually wound up as Item cards. The first of these cards was released in the Fossil expansion, befitting its theme. Their primary role is putting Fossil Pokémon into play, which normally cannot enter play without a Fossil card of some kind due to their unique mechanics.

When cards reference cards depicting Fossils, they use the phrase, "Item card that has 'Fossil' in its name", or variations of that. Notably, this means such effects exclude Old Amber cards. However, it is more common for cards to check for exact card names than the phrase "Fossil".

Sometimes cards reference Fossil Pokémon in a similar manner, using phrases that refer to the cards that they evolve from. These include "Pokémon that evolve from an Item card that has "Fossil" in its name", "Pokémon that evolve from Unidentified Fossil", or "card that evolves from Mysterious Fossil", among others. The broadest of these, ones that only call out Fossils in general, exclude Aerodactyl that evolve from Old Amber cards. Still, cards more commonly check for the exact card name of Pokémon than for evolution lines like this. The period where Fossil Pokémon had the exclusive stage of Restored Pokémon was able to include Aerodactyl when referring to Fossil Pokémon broadly by checking for stage.

Fossil Trainer card

Most cards depicting Fossils are Fossil Trainer cards, cards which start as Trainer/Item cards while not in play, but then are played as Basic Pokémon. The name has not changed since the introduction of the Item subtype. They are non-Pokémon cards printed with HP values, and use that HP value while in play. While in play, they have an Energy Type of Colorless. They were introduced in the Fossil expansion. They are usually bad Pokémon though, as they do not have attacks and are unable to retreat (lacking a retreat cost entirely). Note that the lack of attacks does not preclude them being granted access to attacks, an uncommon but entirely possible occurrence due to Technical Machine cards. Additionally, since they are not Pokémon while not in play, cards that search for Pokémon from a deck cannot retrieve a Fossil Trainer card. Searches for Trainer or Item cards do work, but those effects are less common and weaker than Pokémon search.

The rules for if a Fossil Trainer card can be put into play while setting up to play has varied as the rules have changed overtime:

  • The original Fossil FAQ allowed it, only for a subsequent rule to disallow it on the basis of the card being a Trainer while it is in a hand. [5]
  • In the EX Series starting from EX Sandstorm, this was changed to fully allow putting Fossil Trainer cards into play while setting up to play.[6]
  • Starting with Ultra Prism in the Sun & Moon Series, this was fully repealed. There is no longer a window to play Fossil Trainer cards without them being a Trainer card. [7]

When players were allowed to do this, it was because the Fossil Trainer card functionally acted as a Basic Pokémon while setting up to play. This means that players were not allowed to take a mulligan when they had a hand that only has Fossil Trainer cards. Even with this in mind, Fossil Trainer cards are not "Basic Pokémon" and decks require a minimum of one Basic Pokémon in them to be legal for play. Also note that this allowance was never afforded to any of the other Trainer cards that are played as Pokémon.[6].

When this permission was allowed, there is an extra incongruity to remember exclusive to the Diamond and Pearl Series and the HeartGold & SoulSilver Series. In those rules, Trainer cards could not be played on the first turn of the player going first, including Fossil Trainer cards that were allowed to be put into play before the first turn of the game.[6]

Fossil Trainer cards have some upsides. A player is allowed to discard a Fossil Trainer card from play at any time, which is not considered Knocking Out a Pokémon. Also, most but not all Fossil Trainer cards have an immunity to Special Conditions. Fossil Trainer Cards can have Poké-Bodies or Abilties as well. Lacking a Retreat Cost also offers an interesting advantage, as a null Retreat Cost cannot be increased.[6]

 
Kabuto, a Fossil Pokémon that evolves from Unidentified Fossil. While it shows the art of a Unidentified Fossil from Sun & Moon, it can still evolve from the newer Sword & Shield printing. Remember, only the name matters.

Whether or not Knocking Out a Fossil Trainer card allows the opponent to take a Prize card varies by the card, with cards of the EX Series or older not providing Prize cards while cards of the Diamond and Pearl Series or newer providing Prize cards equivalent to normal Pokémon cards.

The primary purpose of a Fossil Trainer card is that they can evolve into Fossil Pokémon. Even the lowest form of a Fossil Pokémon's evolution chain is a Stage 1 Pokémon, so those cards have to enter play by evolving from a Fossil Trainer card. The Fossil Trainer card that a Fossil Pokémon evolves from varies by which set the Fossil Pokémon is in, as new Fossil Trainer cards are released in new expansions. In some cases, multiple different Evolution chains start from a singular Fossil Trainer card. In other cases, each evolution chain has a dedicated Fossil Trainer card, having the name of the Fossil the species is revived from.

The first Fossil Trainer card was Mysterious Fossil, which could be evolved into any of the three Generation I Fossil Pokémon: Omanyte, Kabuto, and Aerodactyl. It has only 10 HP, lower than even Magikarp. It does match the HP of Clefairy Doll, another Trainer card played as a Pokémon. This card continued to see printings into the EX Series, although EX Legend Maker increased the HP Mysterious Fossil has to 50. It does not allow opponents to take Prize cards when it is Knocked Out. It also has the customary immunity to Special Conditions.

 
The Armor Fossil, an example of a Fossil Trainer card that only evolves into a specific species of Pokémon. It has a Poké-Body, which can prevent some of the damage it would take so that it is easier to evolve it.

The EX Series indroduced two new Fossil Pokémon, Lileep and Anorith. These species received dedicated Fossil Trainer cards for their line starting with the EX Sandstorm expansion: the Root Fossil and the Claw Fossil, respectively. These cards included beneficial Poké-Bodies, making these cards slightly stronger. They have 40 HP. Again, these cards do not allow opponents to take Prize cards when they are Knocked Out, and they cannot be affected by Special Conditions. This would herald the end of shared Fossil Trainer cards for a while, as the Diamond and Pearl Series followed this series lead and introduced more individual Fossil cards.

The Diamond & Pearl Series added the Skull and Armor Fossil cards, for the new species of Cranidos and Shieldon. It then went the extra mile and added individual Dome Fossil, Helix Fossil, and Old Amber cards for its printings of Kabuto, Omanyte, and Aerodactyl. All of these cards included included Poké-Bodies, and were printed with 50 HP. The Root and Claw Fossil cards were also reprinted, keeping their older 40 HP. However, starting with Mysterious Treasures, the expansion which added the Skull and Armor Fossils, Knocking Out a Fossil Trainer card is equivalent to Knocking Out a Pokémon. Thus opponent take a Prize card after doing so. This change even applied to the Root and Claw Fossil reprints, and continues to be true today. However, these cards still cannot be affected by Special Conditions.

 
The Rare Fossil, which existed concurrently with Unidentified Fossil. It shows the the Fossilized Bird, Fish, Drake, and Dino, the fossils related to the species it evolves into.

No Fossil Trainer cards would be printed for nine years, as their last printing was in Platinum: Arceus. Fossils and Fossil Pokémon skipped the HeartGold & SoulSilver series wholesale, and the Black & White Series and XY Series experimented with a different set of mechanics for putting Fossil Pokémon into play.

Ultra Prism, of the Sun & Moon Series, saw the return of a shared Trainer card which could evolve into any Fossil Pokémon released during the Sun & Moon Series. The card is Unidentified Fossil, and this card broke the long standing tradition of being unable to be affected by Special Conditions. It has 60 HP, indicating a gradual increase with each series. It was also printed in the Sword & Shield Series, primarily in later sets, continuing to evolve into most of the Fossil Pokémon that saw print. This included the Fossil Pokémon of Generations V and VI, Archen, Tirtouga, Tyrunt, and Amaura which previously did not evolve from Fossil Trainer cards. By this point, Pokémon Powers had been phased out in favor of Abilities. However, Unidentified Fossil does not have an Ability in lieu of the older Poké-Body.

 
The Antique Old Amber is one of the Antique Fossils. Note the name. "Antique Old Amber" does not say "Fossil" anywhere in it, so some cards do not recognize it as a Fossil. Also note that it specifically evolves into Aerodactyl and Aerodactyl ex, which is not how Fossil Trainer cards are normally templated

Earlier in the Sword and Shield Series, Darkness Ablaze included Rare Fossil. This card exclusively evolves into the Generation VIII Fossil Pokémon: Dracozolt, Arctozolt, Dracovish, and Arctovish. Those Pokémon do not evolve from Unidentified Fossil. Rare Fossil does include the Special Condition immunity, and has 10 more HP compared to the concurrent Unidentified Fossil for a total of 70 HP

Antique Fossils

During the Scarlet & Violet Series, the 151 expansion introduced three brand new cards for the Generation I Fossil Pokémon, the Antique Helix Fossil, Antique Dome Fossil, and Antique Old Amber. They only evolve into the corresponding species, bringing back that set of rules after not appearing since Arceus. The rulebook for the set notes them as being Antique Fossils. Each of these cards has the word "Antique" before the name of the Fossil, differentiating them from the older cards. The word "Antique" is printed in smaller font then normal. These cards also have 60 HP. Once again, these cards have the Special Condition immunity, and also have a helpful Ability for the first time on a Fossil Trainer card. They have unique templating that specifies the exact Pokémon they evolve into, which cards normally do not have.

The following is a list of all Fossil Trainer cards.

Fossil Trainer cards
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a green background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Expansion
Rarity # Japanese
Expansion
Rarity #
Mysterious Fossil T Fossil   62/62 Mystery of the Fossils    
Legendary Collection   109/110      
EX Sandstorm   91/100 Magma VS Aqua: Two Ambitions   067/080
EX Legend Maker   79/92 Mirage Forest   078/086
EX Holon Phantoms   92/110      
EX Power Keepers   85/108 World Champions Pack   087/108
Skull Fossil T Mysterious Treasures   117/123 Secret of the Lakes    
      Rampardos the Attacker    
      Unnumbered Promotional cards    
Platinum   120/127 Galactic's Conquest   085/096
Armor Fossil T Mysterious Treasures   116/123 Secret of the Lakes    
      Bastiodon the Defender    
      Unnumbered Promotional cards    
Platinum   119/127 Galactic's Conquest   086/096
Unidentified Fossil I Ultra Prism   134/156 Ultra Sun   055/066
      Ultra Moon   055/066
Forbidden Light   116/131 Forbidden Light   078/094
Team Up   155/181 Tag Bolt   079/095
Unified Minds   210/236 Miracle Twin   083/094
Cosmic Eclipse   207/236 Alter Genesis   084/095
Astral Radiance   157/189 Time Gazer   062/067
      Space Juggler   061/067
Silver Tempest   165/195 Paradigm Trigger   090/098
Rare Fossil I Darkness Ablaze   167/189 Infinity Zone   091/100
      Shiny Star V   165/190
Antique Dome Fossil I 151   152/165 Pokémon Card 151   155/165
Antique Helix Fossil I 151   153/165 Pokémon Card 151   154/165
Antique Old Amber I 151   154/165 Pokémon Card 151   156/165
 


Other cards depicting Fossils

Some expansions have other cards that depict Fossils, but are not Fossil Trainer cards. These cards generally offer an alternative means of putting Fossil Pokémon into play.

 
Buried Fossil, a Pokémon card, which is also a Fossil, but not a Fossil Trainer card. It has weird templating, but in short it is a Mysterious Fossil that is always a Pokémon

The first of these was Fossil Egg from Neo Discovery, which is a Trainer card that puts any card that evolves from Mysterious Fossil into play from either the deck or the hand, but only on a successful coin flip. Buried Fossil from Skyridge is a Colorless-type Pokémon, one of very few Pokémon cards that does not depict a Pokémon species. It has unique templating that allows it to evolve into any card that evolves from Mysterious Fossil. Unlike the the Fossil Trainer cards, it can retreat, and includes a helpful Poké-Power. It has 30 HP. It also keeps the immunity to Special Conditions from the Fossil Trainer cards, but cannot be freely discarded from play. Last in this odd group is Holon Fossil from EX Holon Phantoms. It is a Trainer card that updates Fossil Egg. It still uses a coin flip, but on Heads it puts a Fossil Pokémon from one's deck into play, and on Tails it puts a Fossil Pokémon from one's hand into play. The Fossil Pokémon it works with are specified by name, so it only includes the ones from Generation III and older.

 
The Cover Fossil, which is a fossil Item card but not a Fossil Trainer card. Its mechanics are used by other Fossils in the Black & White Series and the XY Series

The Black & White Series changed how Fossil Pokemon enter play, and therefore how Fossil cards work. The base species of Fossil Pokémon have a different stage than normal: Restored Pokémon. This stage is a non-Basic, unevolved Pokémon stage, so they are not Evolution cards. However, they still cannot be put into play from a player's hand. Instead, each Restored Pokémon has a matching fossil Item card, which is a card that depicts the fossil the species is restored from in the video games. These cards all have the same effect, looking at the bottom 7 cards of a deck. If a Pokémon card associated with the Fossil is one of those cards, that Pokémon can be into play. This is the primary way for Restored Pokémon to enter play. For example, Archen can only be put into play via the effect of Plume Fossil, one of this group of Fossil cards. Notably, this group of cards only checks for a Pokémon's name, not its stage. This means that these cards can put older or newer non-Restored Pokémon into play as well.

 
Tirtouga, a Fossil Pokémon with the stage Restored. It does not evolve from any card, and is put into play by using Cover Fossil

Noble Victories introduced this mechanic, along with the Cover and Plume Fossils for Tirtouga and Archen. The cards were reprinted in Plasma Blast along with the new Root Fossil Lileep. This card incorporates Lileep into the Restored Pokémon mechanics, using the name of the Pokémon as a suffix to avoid conflicting with the older Fossil Trainer card named Root Fossil. It also marked the first time one of the Fossil Pokémon was printed without the others that are part of the same Generation.

The XY Series continued to use Restored Pokémon and these Fossil mechanics, with the Jaw, and Sail Fossil cards of Furious Fists working with Tyrunt, and Amaura. Fates Collide brought back the Generation I Fossil Pokémon, with Dome Fossil Kabuto, Helix Fossil Omanyte, and Old Amber Aerodactyl cards. Lastly, Steam Siege included a Claw Fossil Anorith to work with Anorith and an Armor Fossil Shieldon to do the same for Shieldon. No cards for the Skull Fossil were released to work with the Restored Pokémon mechanics, and the Sun & Moon Series returned to the traditional Fossil Trainer card mechanics.

Some cards have Fossils in their art, especially ones that are related to cards depicting Fossils, Fossil Trainer cards, or Fossil Pokémon.

The following is a list of these Fossil cards, excluding the ones tied to Restored Pokémon. Those are found on the articles of the Fossils they depict. Cameos of Fossils are also excluded.

Other Fossil cards
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a green background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Expansion
Rarity # Japanese
Expansion
Rarity #
Buried Fossil   Skyridge   47/144 Split Earth   070/088
Fossil Egg T Neo Discovery   72/75 Crossing the Ruins...    
Holon Fossil T EX Holon Phantoms   86/110 Holon Phantom   049/052
 


Trivia

  • The Generation I Fossil Pokémon are the only Rock-type Pokémon introduced in said generation to not also have the Ground type.
  • Some Fossil Pokémon have unique attributes:
  • All Fossil Pokémon are capable of learning the move Ancient Power by level up.
  • Generation VIII is the only generation to have Fossil Pokémon that are not Rock types, are gender unknown, and are incapable of breeding.
  • The Fossilized Drake and Fossilized Fish appear to have an inventory sprite mix up, as the Fossilized Fish offers the "-vish" head for Arctovish and Dracovish, but the item itself looks more like the Draco- body, with the same being said for the Fossilized Drake looking like the "-vish" head but offers instead the "Draco-" body for Dracovish and Dracozolt.
  • Generation III also introduced Relicanth, an ancient Pokémon partially of the Rock type which is often considered a living fossil, as it has survived extinction for a hundred million years. Since Generation II, various Pokédex entries for Kabuto have suggested that it too may be a living fossil. However, since Relicanth is only ever able to be caught in the wild and never revived from a fossil, it is not included in the Fossil Pokémon group.
  • While it cannot be revived via Fossil, the Mythical Pokémon Genesect is known to have been created by Team Plasma by reviving a prehistoric Pokémon and upgrading it by attaching a cannon to its back.
  • Fossil Pokémon are featured in a Japan-only nationwide traveling exhibition, Pokémon Fossil Museum (Japanese: ポケモン化石博物館). Visitors can learn about the real-life prehistoric animals that inspired the designs of Fossil Pokémon and compare them, and view conceptual artwork depicting the skeletal anatomy of certain Fossil Pokémon, as well as real life replicas of said skeletons.[8]
  • Oddly, the rulebook for 151 has an appendix section for the "Antique Fossils", which is not included in the rulebooks for later sets.

In other languages

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 化石 Fasehk
Mandarin 化石 Huàshí
  Danish Fossil
  Finnish Fossiili
  French Fossile
  German Fossil
  Italian Fossile
  Korean 화석 Hwaseok
  Polish Skamielina*
Skamieniałość*
  Brazilian Portuguese Fóssil
  Russian Ископаемое Iskopayemoye
  Spanish Fósil
  Swedish Fossil
  Turkish Fosil
  Vietnamese Hóa thạch

Notes



Types of items
General Evolution stonesFossilsFlutesShardsHeld items
Evolution itemsEscape itemsExchangeable itemsValuable items
Battle itemsScentsNectarsCandyIngredients
Medicine Status condition healing itemsVitaminsFeathers
MintsMochiDrinksHerbal medicine
Berry and Apricorn Poké BallsApricornsBerriesMulch
Aesthetic DecorationsAccessories (NormalGreatUltraMaster)
BackdropsPropsDécor
Clothing (XYSMUSUMLGPESwShBDSPLASV)
Other MailKey ItemsEvent items
Wonder Launcher itemsRotom Powers


  This item article is part of Project ItemDex, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on all items.