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HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? Can it take you across water then? Or is it just more odd Pokèmon Logic? Like Inkay having to be upside down...

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I think you have the question mixed up. Rhyhorn doesn't actually learn surf, but it's evolution, Rhydon can. So, I'll tell the reason from Rhydon's perspective.

Rhydon and it's evolution are based off of the Indian Rhinoceros. According to this article, Rhydon (an Indian Rhino) can in fact swim, but its babies (Rhyhorn) can't, which is why Rhyhorn can't learn it but Rhydon can.

Hope I helped! :)

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That's a really interesting detail, I always assumed that it was just something weird Game Freak did.
Yeah pretty cool. I love animals and it's always fascinating to see what they can do, and how Game Freak incorporates it into Pokemon
There's always an explanation to an odd typing or moveset, even I know why Beheeyem can learn Steel Wing.
Wait... I thought Rhydon evolves into Rhyhorn -.- I am so stupid at times...