Is Hippopotas inorganic?

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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    So in looking over various Pokemon, a question occurred to me that I would like to pose to you all. Is the Hippopotas line a form of inorganic life?

    Okay, on the surface it might not look like it, but here's what lead me to wonder. Hippopotas is terribly hydrophobic, to the point that it releases sand instead of sweat.

    When it comes to inorganic (non-carbon based) life, the most popular element in sci-fi to base such life on is silicon. It's in the same column as carbon on the periodic table, and thus has similar properties. For example, it has the same number of electrons it can use to bond to other elements.

    But if you were to take all the chemical processes in the human body and switch carbon for silicon, you run into a problem. We breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide because we need oxygen to convert glucose to energy. But while carbon dioxide is a gas at room temperature, silicon dioxide is a solid.

    Silicon dioxide is one of the main components of sand, and a creature that was based in silicon and used oxygen would essentially need to release sand from it's body regularly. Given that Hippopotas releases sand to "sweat", that's why I wonder if it could be inorganic.

    What do you all think?
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    SCIENCE!!! Gudon44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    WHY IS THIS NOT OFFICIAL?

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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    The creators may not be adept enough in sci-fi or science to have thought of it. Though it is an interesting question. How deep is Hippopotas's hydrophobia? Does it drink at all? The entry says it uses sand to keep itself free of disease, which would be sort of true if it doesn't drink at all. If it doesn't have a drop of water in its body then no organically based germs could ever live in it, since they need water, among other things, in order to survive, and couldn't survive in a bone dry body.

    Thank you for the like.

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    The Darkest Magikarp Karpi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    This ALMOST seems to make sense. Except I thought that you were suggesting silicon replaces the carbon in its body. But then the silicon-based sand that it sweats out is a water replacement.

    Though I do like the idea of veins of sand...



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    Hail to the Shy Guy! Paleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    I like your idea, and it makes sense too :)

    But Hippopotas seems pretty coherent for a creature that exists solely of sand. Any theories about this?
    I mean, it sheds sand as a means of sweating and stuff, but it's not like Hippopotas can crumble or something

    So it's gotta be more than just sand I think
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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Karpi View Post
    This ALMOST seems to make sense. Except I thought that you were suggesting silicon replaces the carbon in its body. But then the silicon-based sand that it sweats out is a water replacement.

    Though I do like the idea of veins of sand...
    Thank you. But I was talking about silicon replacing carbon. Like I said, silicon is the most popular element to base inorganic life on. But if you were to take the chemical composition of the body and pull out all the carbon atoms and put silicon in their place, you run into the problem I mentioned. You have a chemical reaction that takes in oxygen. If you are talking about using this reaction in a carbon based lifeform, one of the end products is CO2, which is a gas at room temperature. If you substitute carbon for silicon in that equation, then you get SiO2, or silicon dioxide, also known as silica. It's a solid. It's found in nature usually as quartz, and silica is the most common component of sand. If a creature based on silicon were to exist and use oxygen to produce energy through aerobic respiration, then instead of simply needing to exhale a gas, it would have to dump out a solid, which would basically be sand, if the solid were broken down into grains to be the physical shape of sand. Either that it would be gotten rid of in larger chunks of quartz rock.

    That's not to say the whole thing would be made of literal grains of sand if it were based in silicon.

    @Paleo: Just because it's inorganic wouldn't exclude it from being sentient. But you do raise a good point about it not crumbling. You would think that a silicon based creature might be harder and more rock like, at least in theory. When I say SiO2 is sand, I mean chemically, not always physically. It was just a thought that passed through my head because it's so weird. Really, how bad does it hate water? Does releasing sand really work well enough to cool over warm skin like water does? Does Hippopotas drink at all? I mean when a creature goes out of its way to sweat sand instead of water, that's some pretty powerful hydrophobia...
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    Hail to the Shy Guy! Paleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Oh, I didn't question its sentience. With coherent I meant the not-crumbling bit. I only made one point, really :p

    Although our lil hippo doesn't seem to be very rock-like either. It appears to be just as supple as any organic quadrapod. The rocky silicon-based structures could very well function as its bones though, which solves another problem in terms of sturdiness.

    My main question is now what its skin is made of. Maybe some kind of flexible silicon-based polymer? Probably not, because then Hippopotas would become more vulnerable in high temperatures because the viscosity of the polymer would diminish. Not very convenient in the desert :p

    Then my question remains: to be or not to be what is Hippopotas' skin made of?
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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    (That is the question!) Yeah, good question, especially if the thing doesn't take in water at all. What does it eat anyway? Maybe it uses carbon for its skin and gets the carbon by eating rocks? Or maybe plants? You know, like we use calcium for bones and teeth? Would that work?

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    VOLCANO BAKEMEAT BigBadBatter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Dear god this is genius!

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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBadBatter View Post
    Dear god this is genius!
    Thank you. It was just an observation, but thank you all the same.

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    The Darkest Magikarp Karpi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Maybe it sweats out the sand to keep water away from its actual skin. Like, the sand it covers itself with absorbs the water and falls off, and then it sweats out new sand to replace the wet stuff that fell off. So it would need to consume something it can turn into this sand to keep producing it, which could more or less be like humans drinking water (except not really, but kind of).

    So maybe the skin is made of something that really REALLY cannot get wet for some reason. Imagine like potassium exploding in water or something. Or I've heard cesium will explode just with contact with the humidity in the air. Something like that would explain why Hippopotas needs to cover itself with layers of sand that fall off after absorbing moisture from the air.



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    Hail to the Shy Guy! Paleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    I think exploding skin would make Hippopotas unable to survive, especially since all air contains some concentration of water vapour. Never mind the fact that being hit by a water attack would make it die spectacularly and we know that isn't actually the case... But it rather not think about that too much :s

    But it would seem logical if Hippopotas would have a really good reason for fearing water like it does, apart from being Ground type. Maybe water is toxic to it, or it will mess up its internal processes in some way... (wait, that pretty much is the definition of toxic :U )

    I understand the way you think, but exploding skin is in the wrong direction. The fundamental idea that lies under it is good though.

    So now another question has been found:

    What causes Hippopotas' hydrophobia?

    (I enjoy this thread at lot! Thanks to reynard and his observation, for starting it and giving me this joy of thought :3 )
    Karpi likes this.
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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    ^You are right about cesium exploding. It and all the elements in the same column are very reactive, with the force of the reaction increasing as you go down. Elements like those, when mixed with water, form an ion with oxygen and free hydrogen gas. And the energy released by the reaction ignites the hydrogen. My high school chem teacher actually did an experiment where she created fire when she dropped potassium into water. She also set off a fire alarm from the smoke when she didn't properly vent the room... some of the school staff that showed up in response made a joke about taking away her Teacher of the Year status. That wasn't my class though.

    Yeah, exploding skin wouldn't work. But I think water being toxic is good though. I just watched the anime episodes featuring it, and I noticed several things:

    1. Hippopotas is adorable, especially when it wags its tail.

    2. Hippopotas got really sick after it fell in the river. I mean there's recovering from a near drowning and all, but it seemed to be far sicker than that. Of course it has a hold in its back...

    That leads me to agree that water may be toxic to it in a sense. But if water is toxic to it, then it would definitely be inorganic, since no living organism as we know them can survive without water. I was watching the XY anime and even the Rhyhorn, a Rock/Ground type, drank water. Of course if Hippopotas's internal organs are all bone dry and exist without the presence of liquid water, then sudden exposure to water could reasonably make it sick. Its body doesn't know what free liquid water is, so it would treat water as a foreign substance. It's liver might process water like ours would process alcohol.

    Although it has to transport nutrients and oxygen around somehow, so perhaps it uses another liquid?

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    Beware the dark side Marius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Wow, cool idea. And, well, it is already technically weak to water, right? So this makes sense.
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    Registered User reynard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Hippopotas inorganic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peaceful Giraffe View Post
    Wow, cool idea. And, well, it is already technically weak to water, right? So this makes sense.
    Well, if this were true then Hippopotas would be weak to water attacks far more than other Ground types. Ground types, from what can be observed (this is something from TV Trope's fanon Pokedex that I agree with) are creatures that dig and/or live in the ground. They use the ground as a weapon. Water attacks would be effective against creatures like them because if they try to dig as a defense, they could literally be flooded out. Or a strong water attack could wash away soil, neutralizing their powers. And if they are creatures that like to dig or live underground, they may not know how to swim. But none of those things would suggest that water may be toxic to them.

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