The science of Godzilla


To begin with, let's get things straight and admit up front that Godzilla is not a real animal, nor was it ever. It's an unfeasibly big late-surviving dinosaur (belonging to the hypothetical taxon Godzillasaurus, according to some), mutated by radiation, with a radioactive heart, and virtually impervious to other gigantic monsters, robots, artillery, laser blasts, lava and fire. Not real. Sorry about that. But by posing questions about fictional entities we can still learn stuff, and you may be surprised to learn that Godzilla has, on occasion, been discussed semi-seriously by various biologists and palaeontologists. Ok, that won't surprise you if you already know anything about Godzilla, but what the hey. If you fundamentally object to the coverage of fictional entities (after all, there are more than enough real tetrapods to right about), then feel free to ignore this post and wait for the next one...

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A little bit of introduction to Godzilla first. To date Godzilla - and here I mean the real Godzilla, and not the thing that appeared in the 1998 TriStar movie (known variously among Godzilla fans as Fraudzilla, Deanzilla [after writer/producer Dean Devlin], GINO* or Zilla) - has appeared in over 20 movies, dating from 1954 to the present. If you've seen any of the new films, you'll know that they don't follow on chronologically from their predecessors, a bit like the latest Bond film. The films are still being made, with the latest being Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). There is tons and tons of stuff about Godzilla on the internet, of course.

* Godzilla In Name Only

The obvious and boring stuff about scaling and bone strength and so on

Godzilla is meant to be something like 100 m tall and between 20,000 and 60,000 tons in weight (his size fluctuates in the various films). Of course lots of people who like doing sums and talking about cubes and so on have used the mathematics of scaling to show why - duh - Godzilla couldn't really walk, stand, or even exist. Michael Dexter presents the argument here, and also brings in thoughts on blood pressure, circulation and physiology to show that a living Godzilla would variously fall to pieces, tear itself apart, have its organs turn to jelly, explode due to a build-up of internal heat... you get the picture.

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I know of two palaeontologists who have made comments on various of Godzilla's physical properties. Jim Farlow, a palaeobiologist based at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and best known for his work on dinosaur trackways, speculated in 1998 on the foot size of TriStar's GINO. Jim noted that he'd 'probably have to log-transform the measurements to get [the data from the toes] onto the same graphs with my other data without scrunching the other points into an indecipherable blur near the origin'. He also noted that it might prove difficult to cast even a single Godzilla footprint given grant limitations and the cost of plaster of Paris, silicone or latex rubber. Sadly, Prof Farlow never published his thoughts on this subject and all we have is a message posted to the dinosaur mailing list (here).

Sauropod expert Mike P. Taylor did a bit of science on Godzilla (this time on the original, not on the TriStar creation), but has also - for shame - failed to publish his results. Interested in how much weight can be absorbed by the limb's cartilage pads, and in how big these pads needed to be in sauropods, Mike threw Godzilla into the data set to see what might happen. Godzilla's cartilage disks would not, it seems, hold up under his immense weight, and we can therefore conclude that a terrestrial biped of Godzilla's size and weight is impossible. Mike included this valuable and surprising [joke] data in his 2005 presentation 'Upper limits on the mass of land animals estimated through the articular area of limb-bone cartilage', and to his annoyance it was the one brief comment on Godzilla that earned a mention of this presentation in a write-up of the respective conference (Jones 2005). An abstract of Mike's presentation exists (Taylor 2005), though it doesn't mention Godzilla, and you can see the presentation for yourself on Mike's website.

Moving now to some scientific consideration of the TriStar GINO, a peer-reviewed technical paper on the subject was published in Mathematical Geology by Per Christiansen, a zoologist based at Copenhagen's Zoological Museum and well known for his work on mathematical scaling in dinosaurs and other tetrapods (his homepage is here). Providing a wealth of speculations and inferences about GINO's locomotor abilities, biomechanics and physiology, the article mostly critiques the view that the new Godzilla created for TriStar's 1998 movie is more realistic, from a biological perspective, than the Japanese original (Christiansen 2000). To cut a long story short, Per concluded that TriStar's GINO violated a number of biomechanical rules and was biologically implausible. Not exactly a surprise. His comment that the real Godzilla 'is actually much more plausible from a biological perspective' (p. 239) is mostly based on the real Godzilla's massive columnar legs and walking (rather than sprinting) gait.

Indeed TriStar's GINO did look far more realistic, with its horizontal body posture and flexed hindlimbs making it look like an immense theropod; this despite the fact that it was meant to be a mutated lizard of some sort. The TriStar Godzilla also behaves a bit more like an animal than the real Godzilla: it doesn't seem to have a sense of honour, doesn't talk to other monsters, doesn't use martial arts, and doesn't have atomic breath, for example. But given that it's over 120 m long, 90 m tall and weighs over 24,000 tons, yet is slim-legged and slender, able to run at over 300 mph, and capable of leaping over skyscrapers and such, I somehow sense that Devlin, Emmerich and their colleagues were not striving for biomechanical accuracy in creating the new-look monster. Or, at least, let's hope not. Come to think of it, these are the guys that did Independence Day: you can judge that movie by its very first line of dialogue.

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Actually, the exact size of the TriStar Godzilla is difficult to pin down given that different sizes have been provided by different people associated with the film and, as Per and others have noted, this is a moot point anyway as the animal changes size throughout the film. This might explain why Godzilla's exact dimensions are curiously absent from my copy of The Official Godzilla Movie Fact Book (Weinberger & Margolis 1998).

Incidentally, the two different godzillas have a battle in Godzilla: Final Wars, set in Sydney of all places. No prizes for guessing who wins.

Godzilla's phylogenetic affinities

Based on the conclusions of Japanese palaeontologist Dr Yamane, we 'know' that the original Godzilla from the 1954 movie was a dinosaur, and according to Carpenter (1998) it was clearly a theropod. Yes, this is Ken Carpenter, the palaeontologist best known for his work on armoured dinosaurs. By inferring certain morphological details, Carpenter concluded that Godzilla must have been an immense neoceratosaur related to ceratosaurids and abelisaurs. In part this idea comes from the shared derived character of bony scutes growing along the dorsal midline: present in both Godzilla and ceratosaurids, these aren't present in other theropods and were therefore interpreted as a synapomorphy. I don't need to tell you that Carpenter's article was written tongue-in-cheek.

And finally.... Godzilla's 'biology'

Little heard of here in the west is the interesting area of Kaiju-biology (Kaiju means monster). To see the sort of thing that kaiju-biologists get up to, go here (please do, you won't regret it). It is said on some Godzilla websites (here for example) that Kenichi Yamane wrote a thesis on Godzilla's biology, focusing in particular on Godzilla's eventual demise (in the 1999 film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) by way of radioactive meltdown. The cutaway pictures above and near the top are - apparently - taken from this thesis. It might not surprise you, however, to find that Yamane is not a real scientist, but one of the main characters of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. In fact, Yamane is the adopted grandson of the Dr Yamane from the original Godzilla movie of 1954.

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How does Godzilla generate radioactivity? Apparently its stomach has mutated into a new organ: the plasma gland. Radioactive particles rise from here to be expelled via the mouth during combat, and excess radioactivity is also passed into the dorsal scutes at the same time 'not unlike the overflow guard in your ordinary bathtub', apparently (according to here: this is where the adjacent image comes from). Thanks to its plasma gland, Godzilla continually generates new radioactivity as a source of power, discharging the excess via the scutes and a duct leading to the mouth. This also means that Godzilla doesn't need to eat, and that must be a good thing when you weigh over 24,000 tons. There are other speculations on Godzilla's biology, including on cell structure, and on the mysterious substance known as Regenerator G-1 and allowing him unparalleled regenerative abilities.

I think I'd better stop there. Time will tell whether this was a bad idea or not. Cringe.

Refs - -

Carpenter, K. 1998. A dinosaur paleontologist's view of Godzilla. In Lees, J. D. & Cerasini, M. (eds) The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House (New York), pp. 102-106.

Christiansen, P. 2000. Godzilla from a zoological perspective. Mathematical Geology 32, 231-245.

Jones, D. 2005. Meeting reports: Progressive Palaeontology 2005. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter 59, 77-79.

Taylor, M. P. 2005. Upper limits on the mass of land animals estimated through the articular area of limb-bone cartilage. In Anon. (ed.) Conference programme and abstracts: Progressive Palaeontology 2005, University of Leicester, 15-16 June, p. 18.

Weinberger, K. & Margolis, D. 1998. The Official Godzilla Movie Fact Book. Puffin Books, London.

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Although the 'American' Godzilla looks more realistic, his feet are inside out! His little toes are on the outside and they bothered me a lot. (As an aspiring character/creature designer, I have to think about this stuff.=p)

I'd say "go ahead & run with it," Darren. I've seen science-fiction fans (and what good science nut isn't also an SF fan?) happily spend hours discussing the science of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Jurassic Park, King Kong (but only the real one, circa 1933!), Alien, The Terminator, and any number of Ray Harryhausen's magnificent monsters. Do you really think those same folks will balk for a second at a discussion of the science of the mighty Gojira?

By wolfwalker (not verified) on 07 Feb 2007 #permalink

"Time will tell if this was a bad idea or not."

Bah, any scholar that gets pissy about a Godzilla biology post is no scholar you should worry about. Science is supposed to be fun.

As I recall the GINO Godzilla was suppoed to have been mutated from a marine iguana - you see some shots of them in the opening credits (though from the South Pacific rather than the Galapagos).

Nice post though.

Great post here, but I have some doubts about the taxonom of Godzilla. The old school godzillas have external ears, very mobile limb joints and strangely mammalian faces, so I'd always thought they were some wildly divergent synapsids that tried to emulate theropods in their own way. They got so big because they got caught in some freaky Stephen Baxter-style parallel universe shifts at the end of the Pemian, and wound up on an alternate Earth with less gravity.

The mass seems a bit strange (you know I love it to calculate weights for given sizes). If I take a bulky theropod like T-rex as reference, adding some additional weight because Godzilla seems to be very corpulent, I have a 12m long two legged monster reptile with a weight of 7-8tons as reference. This creature would weigh between 4.050.000 kg and 4.630.000kg. what is only a fractional part of the stated weight.
But to come to another thing, there could be probably really terrestrial animals of this sizes (if they would find enough to eat...), even on earth. But not with the evoluion-products of the last 500 Mio years. All big animals which walk and walked on earth had four or only two legs. This is a strong limitation of the allotment of mass. But a hyopthetical terrestrial vertebrate which had dozens or hundreds of legs on a very long body, could grow much larger and heavier than calculations of maximum body weight would predict. This is only a mental leap of me, and unimportant for actual vertebrate science, but I still suppose that this was one of the main reasons why Athropleura could grow so large. If it had had only six legs like an insect, they had most probably colapsed under their own weights, especially because this animal was not as compact as the largest living athropod the coconut crab, but nearly 2m in length. But as it was very long and comparably flat, every pair of legs had to support only comparably less weight.


Interesting post. I think it can be quite useful to think "outside the box," to use the cliche. Doing so can give one a new perspective on more "practical" problems. If the Annals of Improbable Research can publish a paper on centaur biology, I think the King of the Monsters is a perfectly acceptable topic.

You can redeem yourself by doing an article about the real Gojirasaurus!

I'm not so sure about the taxon Godzillasaurus. Godzilla of course is a corruption of the Japanese Gojira, which is a portmanteau of gorira (gorilla) an kujira (whale): Gorilla-whale.

So perhaps a more appropriate taxon would be Gocetus.

I'm always curious when people say that giant monsters are impossible. Given the number of other implausibles involved, why is scaling such a big hurdle?

In other words: if Godzilla's stomach is now a plasma gland, why do his bones still have to be made of calcium? Stronger than normal bones = larger than normal size relative to scaling.

Granted, the question then becomes "what does his skeleton need to be made of to support him?" but personally, I find that to be a much more interesting question anyway.

To see the sort of thing that kaiju-biologists get up to, go here (please do, you won't regret it).

I didn't. This is the only science blog that regularly links to cryptozoological, fantastic, and otherwise speculative websites regularly, and I love it.

I don't suppose you could get together with PZ and do a write-up on the physiology of Cthulhu?

Wow - positive comments all round. Thanks everyone. Maybe I should stop being so paranoid.

Perhaps some people sould stop being so narrow-minded...
Keep on dealing with such topics Darren!
(And don´t forget this enigmatic war-rhinos for we are all waitung)

Re "Gojira": a falconer friend has just moved to Kyoto, where he made the acquaintance of a Japanese falconer who flies an enormous Siberian Goshawk of the white albidus subspecies named "Takajira" ("Taka" is hawk). Bodie assumed that it meant "Hawk-zilla", but might it mean "Whale Hawk"?

And in that case, is it a white whale?

The falconer is a professor of something so both are possibilities...

By Steve Bodio (not verified) on 10 Feb 2007 #permalink

PS: Chthulhu, PLEASE!

By Steve Bodio (not verified) on 10 Feb 2007 #permalink

Moro Rogers,

I take unseemly joy in informing you that among Earthly tetrapods the little toes (in Earthly tetrapdos that have little toes) are always on the outside of the foot.

Who's to say that Godzilla would have to conform to those limits on "life as we know it"? Radiation (or other factors) could have caused changes to organs, bones, cartilidge, etc., that might mean that his skeletal structure could carry more weight than known animals' skeletal structures can. I mean, do we know for certain that GOdzilla is DEFINITELY a "leftover" dinosaur? What if he came from a race of mighty lizards in space, with steel (rather than carbon) based bodies?

This is really interesting, though. :)

Not counting GINO, Godzilla has been in 29 films released by Toho. That does not count Godzilla Fantasia which is essentially music videos made from movie clips and Ifakube's music.

Godzilla is very light. He can stand on ground where the subways, etc. exist and not collapse them. Thus, I think the weight estimates must be WAY to high. Perhaps he has some nuclear fusion going on inside that makes his blood filled with helium and thus much lighter...

I have to agree with Eric. Normal terrestrial animal cartilage may not be strong enough, but evolution finds ways to improve what's available. And if not evolution, then evil alien genetic engineers. Oh, you didn't believe that story about mutation, did you?

Allan Kellogg- I take very little joy in informing you that, as an animator, I am unacquainted with the proper scientific names for radiation mutant marine iguana toes. I was simply referring to, say, the smallest toe on a large theropod dinosaur, as seen in this jpeg-
I am well aware that Yankee Godzilla is not a dinosaur, but an iguana derivative. However, despite his nearly human biceps and Tigger-like lower jaw, Patrick Tatopoulos's main inspiration for the big bastard's body plan was a carnosaur of some type.
One might argue that nuclear radiation could produce previously unknown reptilian foot configurations, but I think it looks frickin' peculiar.

It is easy to argue that a 100 meter animal couldn't exist, but the question arises, how big could it be? It seems likely that an animal double T-Rex's size could exist. A bigger T-Rex would most likely be a different shape. Perhaps the tail would shrink just as a gorilla's tail shrank to nothing.

If you give an animal growth hormone, you make it bigger and shorten its lifespan. If you give an animal time to evolve, it can end up both bigger and longer lived. If you took T-Rex, gave it 65 million years to evolve and gave it a reason to evolve large size, it could end up quite large.

Elephants use their ears to dissipate heat and fins on the back could be used for the same purpose. It could have hollow bones which would make it lighter than it looks.

Well, we could understand that our giant friend doesn't use bone/cartilage in the same manner as your average cow.

Any critter running off of radio-isotopes
(perhaps ingested from deep sea vents containing heavy elements) - well that creature can have any type of locomotion it wants.

Does this mean Big Guy doesn't really breath O2? After all, he can stay for years sleeping deep below on the bottom of the ocean, at great pressures and freezing cold.

More problematic is how he could swim to the top of the ocean without exploding under the stress of sudden decompression?

I still think my alltime favourite was GORGO.The effects were great and to me was probably the movie that gave Steven Speilberg his idea for Jurassic Park. But Godzilla will always be the king of them all.

By ritchieritch (not verified) on 12 Feb 2007 #permalink

Years ago I read a collection of short "the way the story *really* ended" pieces. Including one for Godzilla. Roughly, Godzilla (a large variant) lies dead amidst the city rubble, killed by the Army. And a disparing public health official cries "What have you done! What were you thinking! It wasn't causing any real trouble! Just knocking down some skyscrapers! Now there are kilotons of rotting meat in the middle of the city!".

Bah, any scholar that gets pissy about a Godzilla biology post is no scholar you should worry about. Science is supposed to be fun.

A dissection of Paul Bunyon would be just as relevant - anyone who pays attention to the movies would sort of know this. The character shifts in every film. It's about as fun as explaining the Shmoo.

King Kong would be a better parable to thoroughly taxonomize, and if you want to be sporting, the Toho version is the one to tackle.

By Inferbyce (not verified) on 12 Feb 2007 #permalink

Hey, anything is possible-I remember when it was hypothosized that a brachiosaurid spent it's life semi-immersed in the shallows of lakes and seas because of the position of it's nasal passages ( and immense weight, according to early mass estimates) But seriously, it is always fun to imagine the far limits of whatever you are passionate about, whether it is cars, computers, garden tomatoes or anything else. Why not an indestructable behemoth with a bad temper and long memory? Go go Godzilla!

By shilliard (not verified) on 13 Feb 2007 #permalink

The thing that always gets me about theoretical sciences, with regards to animals in particular, is that we limit ourselves with what we "know." While this is a good starting point we should allow "outside the box" scenarios to be examined as well. For instance most of us believe that fire breathing creatures are a physical imposibility however there is a beatle in africa I believe that shoots fire out of it's butt as a defense mechanism. This is accomplished by mixing two chemicals in mid air after leaving the beatle.

Bringing this back to Godzilla, if we assume that he doesn't need to eat because of his nuclear powerplant can't we also assume that his cartelage and bones could be mutated into something much lighter and stronger? After all, his own "stomach" undoubtedly puts off enough radiation that it should kill even a beast the size of Godzilla. If he can survive that isn't it safe to assume that other mutations may have taken place allowing the other biological "imposibilities."

Just some food for thought, great article.


Fantastic post. I love me some Godzilla and love some science so the science of Godzilla just made me nerdgasm all over my keyboard, which really sucks cause I'm at work.

By Cthulhugus (not verified) on 13 Feb 2007 #permalink

They say monters don't exist....have you seen the $6 dollar burger at Carl's Jr?

That new HOST movie looks like it will be the new Godzilla. Can't wait!

Just a thought, but does belief in Godzilla necessitate concomitant belief in Devilzilla?

Forgive me for saying so, but Godzilla vs. Destroyah was released in 1995. After the franchise went on a brief hiatus, Godzilla 2000 was released in 1999.


Just a heads-up that you'll likely get a traffic surge. I've enjoyed your blog for some months now and passed a link to this article (The Science of Godzilla) to the "Good Morning Silicon Valley" blog, where it just got posted. Enjoy! ..bruce..

There is only one Godzilla & that is way it should be. I hope they make a new movie soon. Only this time please have him destory the US house & senate while all our so called great leaders are there. BBQ anyone. Gorgo was great but that movie needs to updated badly. Black Scorpion needs to be redone, so does The Claw. If they do make a new Godzilla movie make him bigger & use his fire more. New York should have been reduce to rubble, when he attact there in the late 90's. Go Go Godzilla. A real fan, I've seen all his movies. Thanks, Don

By Don Bowles (not verified) on 14 Feb 2007 #permalink

If only one kid gets interested in actual biology, science or math as a result of this blog or similar blogs dealing with fictional characters, worlds, or sci-fi, then Darren's comments and those who write similar commentaries will have proven themselves of great value. Please continue with your exploration of the unreal!

How much does he (she?) really weigh? Douglas G. is on the right track about this. If you don't need to eat, running on an atomic powered plasma gland and all, then you don't need a digestive tract. Also, those isotopes inside exert an outward force, making Big G a lot more hollow than your average monster. I mean, no one has done an autopsy or taken an X-ray, have they? I have also heard speculation that the inside of Godzilla has the physical properties of a small Japanese actor.

By Alan Javel (not verified) on 14 Feb 2007 #permalink

Large dinosaurs are also impossible in today's gravity. The only way large dinosaurs were able to bear their weight, breathe, and move, was because planet Earth used to be a smaller circumference with lower gravity.

Bullshit. Just because you haven't done any biomechanics doesn't mean nobody has. Animals up to 140 tonnes are possible under today's gravity -- Amphicoelias fragillimus has recently been estimated at 122, and that's probably too high (not taking enough the air-filled vertebral column into account)...

Besides, where did the extra matter come from to enlarge the Earth? And why hasn't the solar system fucking fallen apart? Why hasn't the moon fallen down if the Earth has become heavier? Why isn't it at the very least spiraling in?!?


Stop shouting, please.

What do I suppose is causing ALL TH DISRUPTIONS? That's easy: the Earth is hot inside. Go to a coal mine -- the deeper you go, the hotter it becomes. Why is it hot? Because radioactive decay produces heat. There are small amounts of radioactive materials (uranium, thorium, certain potassium isotopes...) in just about every rock. That sums up. You can do the math if you like.

The things in the Mars meteorite were supposed to be fossil, not living, bacteria, and probably they are not even that.

Sure we can rule out the possibility of a lot of things. For example, we can rule out that the Earth is flat...

And we can rule out that either of you knows what you are talking about, my friends. Spend more time reading.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Feb 2007 #permalink

Someone should make a "Science of Gigan" or something like that. They should see if his saw blade chest might thing actually work.

Not sure why I haven't posted on this before, being the obsessed Godzilla fan that I am. Loved the post, and the links were very funny. I'm fine with Big G being a mutated dinosaur, but more perplexing is that, in "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" (Heisei series), Godzillasaurus lives on Loas Island, the last of his kind (I guess), but it's never explained how he got there. I've always maintained that Godzillasaurus was frozen sometime during the Cretaceous by unknown means, and was defrosted some 65 million years later on Lagos Island.

And apparently, Godzilla has been "created" several times. After the 1954 Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, a new Godzilla turned up just a year later in "Godzilla Raids Again," this time fighting Anguiras. When the Heisei series began, with "Godzilla 1985," (filmed as a direct sequel to the 1954 original) another Godzilla creature arose in the Pacific. When the 1954 Godzilla's origin was supposedly blocked by the Futurians in "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" by transporting the big dinosaur into a deep-sea trench, an accident involving a Russian nuclear submarine serindipitously (mispelled) rebuilt the monster YET AGAIN, larger than before, in fact.
Then the Heisei Godzilla died in "Godzilla vs. Destroyah." The Millenium series introduces a new timeline, but the "Godzilla 2000" monster must be completely different than the 1954 animal, who, again, died via Oxygen Destroyer. After "Godzilla vs. Megaguiras," you start seeing self-contained Godzilla films. In "Giant Monsters All-Out Attack," Godzilla "returns," and consists of the "angry spirits of the soldiers of WWII" or something. In "Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla" and its sequel, "Tokyo S.O.S.," the skeleton of the 1954 Godzilla provides the basis for a cybernetic construction, Kiryu, who battles another Godzilla creature. And in Final Wars...well, I don't want to talk about Final Wars. It's so terrible.

Great post though! Now you've gotta tell us how Gamera can fly.

I'm hoping I get the address here sent to my e-mail. I'll post a responce I got to asking if the cadmium missles might actually work(see 'G-VS Biolantte'-or however you spell the FICTICIOUS Norse god myth's name. Shirigami was NUTZ).
The scientist at this sight said indeed that it might work as cadmium slows down nuclear reactions. How cool is that?!
If I don't get this blog's e-mail. Feel free to respond directly & politely.'
By the way: We have found NO transitional forms after nearly 150+ yrs of searching. And since the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a proven fact of real science(like Einstien's e=mc@[proper typing?]) and no reputable scientist would deny it's truth, big bang dosen't work either(and now for the Ann coulter haters...)

[from Darren: thank you for your thoughts, but your 'no transitional forms' comment is so off-the-scale in terms of being utterly wrong that it's difficult to understand what research you might have done on this subject. If fossils are a problem for you, you might like to note that we do not require them in order to support evolution. Hundreds of living species are 'transitional'. I am not interested in this blog becoming yet another battle ground on the topic of creationism, so I may not post follow-up responses, should they appear.]

Godzilla. What some people call "The King Of The Predators" is a giant, massive, radioactive Komodo Dragon. It is 6x the size of king kong. One foot on king kong could squash him to death. Kink kong dosn't have a chance. Godzilla really i-s king!

Don't mess with GODZILLA!!

Don't mess with him becase if you chase him, he will take revenge and will chase you!

If you mess with Godzilla!

If you mess with Godzilla,
He will mess with you!
If that happens,
What else will you do?

Let me just mention that the 2nd Law of thermodynamics only holds for isolated systems. Isolated systems are ones where neither matter nor energy can enter or leave.

For crying out loud, the sun shines.

By David Marjanovi? (not verified) on 09 Nov 2007 #permalink

Could millions of years of mutation/evolution in the deepest parts of the ocean allow Godzilla's body (or any other creature for that matter) to support this kind of mass on land?

Could millions of years of mutation/evolution in the deepest parts of the ocean allow Godzilla's body (or any other creature for that matter) to support this kind of mass on land?

To the contrary. Weight support is not needed in water.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 21 Dec 2007 #permalink

Perhaps Godzilla and those other monsters are actually mutated to the point that their bodies are hydrogen-based, making them really light? Of course, this would mean that a person could kick him and he'd fly a hundred feet.

By Belaaquatica c… (not verified) on 27 Feb 2008 #permalink

Well Darren, you have certainly drawn a varied crowd with this one! (Enough to populate your very own monster-island, and to have some animated battles ;-) Had you wished...)

I love the idea of trying to rationalise the extreme, and loved the kaiju-biology. No apologies needed!

Mike's paper on joints was neat. But of course begs the question... did dinosaurs use Cartilage As We Know It?

I wonder if some quoted masses for Gojira were theatre-blurb hyperbole, or maybe jinxed in translation?

Super-huge (or super-small for that matter) may suggest creatures composed of forms of matter other than our familiar atoms'n'molecules stuff, and forces of magnitudes beyond what we are used to (strong nuclear force as a binding energy?). Condensed matter may have interesting possibilities. Stephen Baxter has ventured here with "Flux". "The Girl in the Golden Atom" is an Edison-era delight. Richard Matheson's "The Incredible Shrinking Man" I recently re-read with pleasure. At the low end of the density spectrum, Olaf Stapledon's epic "Last and First Men" had Martian communal-cloud-beings intermittently comprised of magnetically-linked microbes, and his "Star Maker" introduces numerous interstellar weirdnesses of biology.

At High School I wrote a book report on "The feasibility of the life-forms portrayed in science fiction", and spent many happy childhood hours documenting the biology and cultures of my own imagined species, so this post of yours has met a long-felt appetite. More, please!!

By Graham King (not verified) on 26 Mar 2008 #permalink

It's like godzilla is my whole life, without godzilla I don't know what I would do. But atleast you guys are with me & have a passion for godzilla.And yes I do collect anything that has to do with godzilla. And knowing that people make fun of him, he will burn them to a crisp.

By Jon Nagle (not verified) on 29 Mar 2008 #permalink

But of course begs the question... did dinosaurs use Cartilage As We Know It?

Certainly. That's by far the simplest assumption, because all vertebrates use the same kind of cartilage.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 30 Mar 2008 #permalink

The wait service was a bit chilly early on in the dinner (I think it is more of a neighborhood "joint"), but by the time I had finished my entree, msn nickleri they had really warmed up and after our espressos were finished (even my 10 yo old had an unsweetened cappuccino!) they sent us off with a couple of pieces of their logo-ed pottery, smiles and waves. Wasn't the dish I most savored on the trip, but it was the most satisfying on a number of levels.

What Type Of Animal Is Godzilla? Is It Tyrannosarus Rex?Or Is It Plateosaurs Is It.

What Type Of Animal Is Godzilla?

None whatsoever. It's made up.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

Even though Godzilla is physically and physiologically impossible, it can be a lot of fun to speculate on the plausability of mythical creatures, and whether they could exist in some kind of alternate reality (I have enough knowledge to ponder these questions, if not to answer them definitively.) How about King Kong as the next subject in monster biology? The demi-god of Skull Island is at least as popular as the radioactive reptile from Tokyo!

By Raymond Minton (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

I just wondered if Velociraptor/Deinonychus could make such incredible jumps as in Jurassic Park. IMHO, not.

What no one has yet addressed is Godzilla's reproductive capabilities. The baby Godzilla (sometimes called Godzooky) breathes smoke rings instead of the deadly radioactive fire of its parent. And while it is generally assumed that Godzilla is male, there must be some sort of female available for Godzooky to exist. We cannot postulate that young simply arise from the carcass of their elders, as Godzooky is seen with Godzilla. The question must be asked: If Godzilla is indeed King of the Monsters, where--and who--is the Queen?

u are ad and t was not meant to be scientificly explined eta lie!!!

By xkeranx95x (not verified) on 03 Jul 2009 #permalink

I married a rabid Godzilla fan who shares my love for dinosaur science, so this sort of thing has been dinner table conversation for a couple of decades now. We've discussed Minilla a few times and it makes the most sense to us that it is an adopted hatchling and not Godzilla's actual biological offspring. Toho has not established canon on this, though either is possible.

Saying that Godzilla's Organs would melt down due to the heat and he would eventually die from it, wouldnt the rest of him, much like his body, adapt to the changes?

I personally think that Gojira is some sort of trans-dimensional deity/being, as opposed to an animal or terrestrial entity. How else could he be that big and not simply implode???

By Tim Morris (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

PS - as a "ghey" I always found Zilla alot sexier than that lardass Gojira.

By Tim Morris (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Unlike most monster sci-fi movies, Godzilla was classic camp, a monster with a sense of humor as well as sense of honor. The rubber costume with diminutive Japanese stuntman inside and city and vehicle models used on the set dictated the anatomical proportions. There wasn't a whit of presumption regarding biological authenticity. The Japanese film-makers created the improbable for an people prosaic in the face of death from frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and city-eating H-bombs - people attempting to win against the odds, a resurrected dinosaur with atomic breath, a bevy of other improbable monsters from sea, distant lands and even space.

Psychosocial analysis and interpretation of post-war societies love-affair with the long-running Godzilla series (IMO, more entertaining and less damaging than all of the 'Halloween' genre put together) would be a fitting sequel blog post, eh?


Re: Godzilla offspring, Gadzooky.

Think: Parthenogenesis. Dinosaurs laid eggs.

Alot of this stuff is pretty cool, but those things about Godzilla not being able to live at such a massive size is off. Godzilla is a mutation, and has evolved far beyond recognition of any other animals on earth. You are talking as if Godzilla is a big animal, but you must remember that the atomic bomb mutated him in to a new species of animals, which Godzilla is the only member of. As you know, Godzilla has abilities, cells, and organs that are unique and only he has. My guess is that the atomic bomb mutated his cells to change the DNA code, so that the cells have different limits to that of normal organisms, thus allowing himself to live at such a massive size.

By Alex Mooney (not verified) on 02 Apr 2010 #permalink

OK! Godzilla was a very important favorite of mine as a kid.... without Godzilla I wouldn't be the Science/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Geek/Nerd Freak that I am today.... As a kid I always wondered how the hell he was able to exist under the stress of his weight, and all the other things everyone has discussed here.... now that I've finally found others like minded as I I can see that the vast number of answers I came up with just might be right!..... Man I'm a sad individual.....

By David Chenoweth (not verified) on 27 Sep 2010 #permalink

A poltergeist in fact.
A primal spirit that has existed on the Earth since prehistoric times
It's mind is that of a dinosaur that is eternally going through the motions of being a dinosaur.
Like the ghost of a soldier who constantly repeats his march across the field of battle upon which he had died.
Godzilla's spirit, not knowing that he is already phisically dead, believes he is still alive.
An Earthbound Spirit trapped within his corporeal form in a flash of Thermonuclear fire!

Dinosaurs were the absolute peak of evolutionary life forms on Earth.
Their diversity filled every imaginable ecological nitch until, by whatever means, meteoric or otherwise, doomed them to extinction
. When a spirit leaves the body, it is usually allowed to "step into the light" to merge with its spiritual source.(Heaven or God)
The dinosaurs that were killed by the extinction event, died so quickly that they were deprived of their spiritual transition.
Their spirits were thrust into a dinosaurian PURGATORY where the last living memory they had was a flash of bright light and a huge wave of heat, radiation and pain!

The Godzillasaurus, one of the last remaining living true dinosaurs, was deprived of its "White Light Spiritual Transition Event."
At the time of its death by the intervention of a thermonuclear event!
Another event resulting in bright light, searing heat, radiation and pain.
Godzillasaur's transition was split asunder and all the SPIRITUAL ENERGY of the Dinosaur PURGATORY poured out of the source and into the body of the dinosaur.

Something along the lines of spiritual demonic possesion!
It literaly became the living spirit of ALL the dinosaurs that had died from that explosive extinction event!
It's actions may even be influenced by possesion of HUMAN spirits that died in a similar instant and horrible manner. (Nagasaki and Hiroshima!)
Perhaps explaining its affinity for Japan.

The early speculation that it was a peculiar mix of bipedal carnasaur and armored stegosaur may have been close to right.
It is an amalgam of ALL those dinosaurs and more!
Its Bodyform is a mixed-up concensus of what all dinosaurs aspired to become. Bigger! Stronger! Impervious to all harm!
Because the last, living memory of all those spirits was of light, heat, radiation and pain, they all chose a Bodyform that could not only be immune to these things, but be able to inflict them upon others, in self defense.

Thus came into being the Physical form that we refer to as the Classic ORIGINAL Godzilla !
His body is held together, telekineticly, by the will and self-image of those spirits.
That is why his body does not conform to, or have the weaknesses of biological entities.
He is held together by his thoughts.
He insists upon believing He is still alive.

By Mick King (not verified) on 29 Oct 2010 #permalink



By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 19 Nov 2010 #permalink


Hello, Darren! Well, in my honest opinion, Gojira (Godzilla) is NOT a dinosaur, at all! And CERTAINLY not a type of theropod! Oh, dear me, no! :P! However, I DO believe that Godzilla is a actually a species of anapsid reptile, descended from ancient anapsids, that existed during the Triassic time period. While all of the other anapsids died out, (except for Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins), Godzillas survived, and they wreaked havoc, in the present-day, in modern-day Tokyo! Well, goodbye! :D!

1 Clown in Rubber Suits
3 Talks to monsters
4 Inaccurate posture
Why Jap.Godzilla Does not suck?
1 Atomic Breathe
2 strong muscles perfect for a large creature
3 many fans
4 Smart
Why Zilla ( Gino,American Godzilla Patzilla,ETC...) Sucks
1 always follows it's instincts to survive not fight
2 Few fans
why Zilla Does not suck
1 Realistic for a mutated creature
2 Asexual Reproduction
3 a little bit smart
4 has personality of veangence
why Zilla and godzilla does not suck
2 they are Dangerous

why zilla and godzilla suck