Fossil Pokémon represents one of the most unique and intriguing categories of collectible monsters in the Pokémon franchise. Unlike fan favorites like Pikachu, these Pokémon went extinct many millennia before the first game's events.
The best fossil Pokémon of all time strikes the balance between the ancient nature of their design and their newfound resurrected power. The best of the fossil Pokémon excel when it comes to their stats, secondary typing, visual appearance, popularity, uniqueness, and more.
It all started in Generation 1, with Aerodactyl as the odd one out. It has no standard evolution, but its Mega form makes up for that. The Rock and Flying-type means it has similarities to other Pokémon but only a few weaknesses. Aerodactyl represents the quintessential fossil Pokémon in every way. It may not excel in any category, but it does everything right nonetheless.
The Rock and Dragon-type debuted in Gen 6 with the arrival of the behemoth Tyrantrum. This T-Rex-inspired fossil Pokémon makes full use of the popular dinosaur for an intimidating but stunning Pokémon. It also has some of the most powerful stats and moves in the series for this group.
Genesect may not seem like the fossil Pokémon most players think of in the series, but it has this status. It came from an ancient Pokémon, which humans resurrected and modified to become this Gen 5 Mythical Pokémon. Its Bug and Steel type combo feels excellent, and its incredible design gives most others in the category a run for their money.
Rock and Ice sound like quite the unique type combination and it leads to high defensive prowess but plenty of weaknesses for Aurorus. That aside, it has the single best visual design out of any fossil Pokémon with its gorgeous and majestic color scheme.
Kabutops came out in Generation 1 as one of the first evolutions for a fossil Pokémon. Its sinister and sharp design looks like one of the best in the series, paired with a varied and impressive moveset. It remains one of the most beloved fossil Pokémon for a reason.
The evolution of Tirtouga elevates this Gen 5 fossil Pokémon. It takes the otherwise unassuming turtle from its first stage and gives it the old, wisened status worthy of an ancient fossil Pokémon. It feels less rock-like than most other fossils, which helps it land well.
Players don’t revive Relicanth in the same way as the other fossil Pokémon on this list. Instead, the games themselves describe this Pokémon as an ancient being from millions of years ago. This walking fossil has powerful moves and a fascinating design.
The better of the two Gen 5 fossil lines starts with Tirtouga. This ancient turtle gives off a unique vibe compared to the more dinosaur and fish-like other fossil Pokémon in existence. It has a classic design, which stands out.
Rampardos looks pretty much the same as its pre-evolution in Cranidos but with a much larger and hulking appearance. The singular Rock type means it has only a few weaknesses and intense power, which makes it one of the better overall fossil Pokémon.
The Rock and Steel type combo sounds incredible, and it works well for the Shieldon line. Unfortunately, its evolution has one of the worst appearances out of any fossil Pokémon, but Shieldon makes up for that with its adorable but defensive design.
Most fossil Pokémon have the Rock type as one of its two typings, but Cranidos has the unique status of only having Rock as its type. This gives it a bit more utility than some of the others with their myriad weaknesses.
Omanyte came out in Gen 1 as the Rock and Water counterpart to Kabuto. Players pick which one they prefer based on their visual appearance since they match each other. Omanyte has a slight victory when it comes to appearance, but its evolution loses all of its charm.
The Rock and Water-type combination feels like a classic duo for the fossil Pokémon in this series. Kabuto started out as one of the first in Generation 1, and it has a cute but mysterious appearance. It provided a baseline for future fossil Pokémon, which most ignored.
Lileep falls into the same boat as its evolution. Both have similar designs, though Lileep edges out in the end, as well as the Rock and Grass-type combo. This combo feels unique enough but doesn’t quite reach the strength of some of the others on this list.
The Rock and Grass-type combo doesn’t work too well with Cradily, just like its pre-evolution, with four weaknesses in total. Unfortunately, it also looks much worse than the first stage but has a decent enough appearance.
Anorith has a pretty cute and adorable design, which feels welcome next to its horrifying bipedal evolution. The Rock and Bug-type combination works better than it should, with only three weaknesses but not a lot of overall power.
Archen and its evolution feel like the awkward, messier cousins of Aerodactyl. They have the same typing but look pretty awful in their designs. Archen has a bit more charm than its larger counterpart, giving it a spot on this list.
The fossil quartet in Gen 8 made the odd decision to mix and match different Pokémon for these weird combinations. It doesn’t work well at all, with Dracozolt having one of the few passable enough designs plus the solid Electric and Dragon typing.
This strange member of the Gen 8 fossil quartet has the Electric and Ice typing, which feels pretty unique. That said, it has a pretty meh design, though it looks like one of the better of the four.
Arctovish may not look as bad as some of the others in its generation, but it makes up for that in its more lackluster power. Its Water and Ice-type combo sounds interesting but feels like one of the weaker of the quartet.
The Water and Dragon type combo remains the only saving grace of this otherwise horrible Pokémon. Its design stands out as the worst in this category but its power and utility make up for this nonetheless.