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How Could the Rito Be the Evolved Zora?

Amanda enjoys creative and non-fictional writing in her free time. She writes on a broad spectrum of topics ranging from games to science!


Fish to Birds, Say What?

How is it that the Zora evolved into the Rito?

This commonly posed question stems from the release of The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, where fans are introduced to a new in-game species known as the Rito. The Rito are given distinct bird and human-like qualities never before seen in the series.

Of course, questions were raised and theories were formed among the fanbase, in hopes of coming to a reasonable conclusion as to where these new characters came from. Finally years after the release of Wind Waker, Nintendo published the first official encyclopedia on the series, titled Hyrule Historia. In this book, many questions were answered, including that of the Rito origin. The following is taken directly from Hyrule Historia

“The Zora tribe, who now bear birdlike beaks, have transformed into the Rito.” (Hyrule Historia 128).

So there we have it, Nintendo’s short and almost lazy feeling explanation. For many fans, it’s hard to accept such a broad and simple answer.

Hyrule Historia also mentions the evolvement of Zora to Rito happened through the blessing of a magical dragon scale, at least this is the case in Wind Waker.

As for me, I wasn’t looking for a fictional answer to this question, I wanted a bit more of a realistic and scientific explanation.

A Scientific Viewpoint

In doing some research on biological evolution, I came across a recent study from Florida State University, in which they explain how changes in environmental factors affect the evolutionary outcome of a species.

The evolution first initiates as gene expression, a process which allows cells to adapt to their changing environment.

If you can recall back to the Zelda Timeline which lists each game of the series in chronological order, remember how Wind Waker was a game in which drastic changes in environmental factors had more recently occurred. This makes sense from the scientific process I explained earlier. The species evolved drastically to adapt to the new conditions.

Fish Bird Painting

Fish Bird Painting

Adding Facts And Making Conclusions

Now one might say if Wind Waker is a world mostly of water than why change from a fish? Here is my possible theory. In Waker Waker, most of the world isn’t just water but ocean, the ocean has high amounts of salt. The Zora was a species that lived in more freshwater areas.

So, in this case, the Zora were likely to go extinct from consuming too much salt. One might still raise the question of why evolve to birds? I can say, maybe as an easier means of transportation in a world were the only option was by boat? Truth is I’m not entirely sure. But I hope through this article I was able to answer some other more thought-provoking questions!


© 2018 Amanda Bowles


Philip Milne on September 11, 2018:

Looking at the picture of the two species side by side at the top of your article, it’s not too much of a leap physiologically. The Zora already have fins on their arms that aren’t dissimilar to the Rito’s wings, as well as beak like noses.

In Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, the Zora seem to live more on land and can clearly breathe air - perhaps, from a scientific perspective, they were already in the process of evolving at that time.