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Continuing in the theme of bringing creatures from video games into the Anatomically Correct series is the Chocobo of Final Fantasy lore.

Chocobo

Put simply, a Chocobo is a large bird. It is unclear whether they're a single species or a genus, as there are quite a few types. Based on the available data, though, it is clear that Chocobos:

  • Come in various colors
  • May or may not be able to fly or swim. This is dependent on type; see the link above.
  • Are large enough to be ridden, and strong enough to be ridden by armored knights
  • Are intelligent enough to be tamed and trained
  • Typically reside in grasslands and forests
  • Are herbivorous
  • Are fast enough that racing them is a sport
  • Are able to pull carts
  • Have appreciable offensive capabilities
  • Lay eggs

Given the above, how might Chocobos evolve?

Note: Because Final Fantasy is a RPG, Chocobos are stated in source works to have magic, be synergists, etc. Answers may either explain this or completely ignore it at the answerer's discretion.

A list of all of the Anatomically Correct questions can be found here

Anatomically Correct Series

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  • $\begingroup$ Please limit yourself to asking about one creature. If there are multiple creatures with different requirements you're asking multiple questions. It's also poor form for edits to invalidate existing answers. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Feb 23 '18 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ It is one creature. As stated, it's unclear whether the creature is a single species with many subspecies or if it's an entire genus. Look at the source materials for definitive information. My edits simply clarified the extant facts referenced. Should I simply concatenate all subspecies into one? $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 23 '18 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ This is essentially like asking how domestic cats evolved and acknowledging the fact that there are different breeds. $\endgroup$ – Muuski Feb 23 '18 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ there are very few animals that cannot swim, water is somewhat omnipresent on earth. $\endgroup$ – John Feb 23 '18 at 21:56
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You're basically talking about beefier ostrich or perhaps a giant moa, terror bird, or elephant bird.

As is an ostrich meets all your criteria with the exception of being herbivores, and the ability to carry armored knights. They are omnivorous instead of herbivorous. While humans can ride ostrich the added weight of full armor would probably be too much for them to carry. It's highly likely that any flightless bird larger than an ostrich would be able to carry an armored knight as is.

So what needs to be done for a Chocobo to evolve? You basically had one with the moa, and a little bit of selective breeding will get you a larger ostrich.

Interestingly enough since the moa became extinct so recently that there are still preserved soft tissue samples available to researchers. There are researchers in Japan currently working on extracting DNA from these samples. There is a slim but non-zero chance that the species may be revived sometime in the near future.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain the ability to fly? Why might Chocobos have such big feet? Ostriches look a lot like flightless vultures; is breeding enough to explain the graceful warrior-chicken look of the Chocobo? $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 23 '18 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ Flight is listed as an optional requirement. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Feb 23 '18 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I've clarified it. Take a look at the source material; it's much more verbose than my question. Flight and swimming are not optional. Simply put, only some subspecies can do so. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 23 '18 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ There's also the Emu in Australia that could fit this model. Ultimately the Terror Birds of the southern continent in the era after the dinosaurs are all good candidates for evolving into this kind of creature. Most of these were wiped out by smilodonts (hope the spelling is correct) and other large cats when land masses met. No large cats would mean that these large birds would still be with us, probably. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Feb 23 '18 at 1:21
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    $\begingroup$ With body mass able to carry a human in full armor, I'm afraid that flight is a no-go. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Feb 23 '18 at 11:27
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Racing/Riding

There are such things as ostrich cart races. Pulling a cart/wagon would be limited by the bird's size/strength.

If you ever watched the original Swiss Family Robinson, one of the castaways uses an ostridge as his racing horse. Again, size/strength needs to be adjusted to allow it to carry an armored knight.

So, a chocobo could easily be an evolved ostridge.

Evolution

Final Fantasy VII Chocobos are (almost) always found with other monster, graze in specific spot, and are scared easily. (source: me, I've played the game a lot)

Most likely, its friends are evolved due to the source of magic for that world, Mako. That could imply that the Chocobos are also evolved due to Mako.

Color

Since an ostrich is a bird, I image that its feathers can be any color that any other bird has. You would have to selectively breed the various colors. Just make sure you have enough Kola Nuts.

Tame

They are already used for various purpose like cart racing

Offensive

I'm sure there are plenty of YouTube videos of an ostrich attacking a human.

Because they could have evolved due to Mako, chocobos should have various magic attacks for offense. Most likely, these will be wind-based stun attacks.

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  • $\begingroup$ The mako section is a wonderful explanation for FFVII, but falls apart when you move to other games. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 23 '18 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ I do not think "because magic" is an explanation good enough for the anatomically correct series. $\endgroup$ – Ray O'Kalahjan Feb 23 '18 at 13:25
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Your Chocobo is a giant Kakapo. Its face looks like a parrot. Heck the name is even a corruption of Kakapo!

Kakapo https://www.buzzfeed.com/simoncrerar/meet-the-kakapo-flightless-parrot-facing-extinction?utm_term=.qxewjzrzb#.nsqRAoqoL

Kakapos are huge flightless parrots. They are the most awesome bird there is. They can't fly but they jump and run. And climb! They are super friendly and funny but mess with the chicks and they will take a finger off you just like that. Because of their parrot heritage they are smart and social.

Your Chocobos are all that, but big like an elephant bird. As regards the plumage, their owners like to put Dippitydo on the head feathers to make them stand up. The Chocobos think that is cool too.

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