Is Godzilla a Dinosaur?

what is godzilla

Hundreds Question Godzilla’s Dinosaur Status

I love Godzilla. I prefer the older movies from the 70s, and even the original black and white, to the movies of the 90s and 2000s. The latest movie was fantastic, and I can’t wait for the 2018 follow-up. Clearly I’m not the only one either. Every month, 823,000 people from around the world search for Godzilla on Google alone. Then you have the misguided 2900 people a month who ask if Godzilla is real. Let’s hope for humanity’s sake, those are all kids. Meanwhile, 480 people a month ask a halfway intelligent question: Is Godzilla a dinosaur?

Applying Science to Fiction

I never considered Godzilla a dinosaur. The cautionary tale of nuclear power warns he was created by atomic bomb testing in the south pacific. The most recent movie implies that he was merely awakened by the testing. Dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. That was always my baseline for considering whether or not Godzilla was a dinosaur. Lately though, Jack Horner’s chickensaurus project has opened my mind a little on the subject of creating new animals that could be classified as a dinosaurs. Not to mention that birds of today, while certainly not in the same form as 65 million years ago, also remain dinosaurs. So, let’s get a little sciencey before we go full on silly.

Scientific Classifying Dinosaurs

It was hard to find an easy definition as to what characterizes a dinosaur. A dinosaur is an Archosaur that could stand upright, hind legs positioned beneath the body. For our purposes, think Tyrannosaurus Rex. Basically, they could stand upright, instead of legs out to the side like lizards or crocodiles. That still drags us a little deeper down the rabbit hole. What is an Archosaur? Archosaurs are reptiles that have teeth set in sockets, openings in the skull in front of the eyes and in the lower jaw, and a ridge on the femur bone. Dinosaurs (and alligators/crocodiles) are directly descended from Archosaurs. If we can prove Godzilla is an Archosaur, we can definitively prove he is a dinosaur.

Analyzing Godzilla Scientifically

Now that we know what to look for, this still isn’t going to be easy. Let’s go ahead and make a checklist with our dinosaur characteristic, as well as our Archosaur characteristics. I’m going to go ahead and cross out the first one, because Godzilla is always depicted as walking upright. As you’ll also see in the following scientific illustrations, he is still depicted as upright. One down, four to go.

  • Hind legs upright under body.
  • Skull openings in front of eyes.
  • Skull opening in lower jaw.
  • Ridge on femur bone.
  • Teeth in sockets

Because Godzilla is fictional (or is he?),not only could it be a little tough to find an X-ray machine big enough but to actually get Godzilla to hold still. Luckily, imagination will suffice for this pseudo-scientific research. Franz-Jozef73 of Deviant Art along with artist Chris “Panda” Mercier have produced X-ray skeleton images of Godzilla. There are some discrepancies so put your best science hat on. We’ll need to examine the images separately.

Exhibit A: Godzilla Circa 2014

First up is the Franz-Jozef specimen from Deviant Art. This is the original image size, making it a little difficult to examine. I’ve tried to mark the pertinent items on our checklist. I have also provided an enlarged section, but it is a little distorted. I think this image clearly shows the skull openings, as well as the femur ridge. Clearly the Franz-Jozef specimen indicates Godzilla is a dinosaur. But we’ll still need to check on teeth.

is godzilla a dinosauris godzilla a dinosaur

Godzilla Circa 2014 Tooth Structure

I was able to locate a good movie still of Godzilla’s teeth. I think it clearly shows they are in sockets, completing our Archosaur checklist. Feel free to click the image for a full size version and judge for yourself.

socket teeth

Exhibit B: Godzilla Circa 2014

The Mercier specimen, from his personal website, is our next piece to examine. Best I could tell, it also shows the form of the 2014 Godzilla. The head is the key distinction. Again, we clearly have the skull opening in front of the eye. The opening on the lower part of the skull is a little trickier. I have outlined where it looks as though there may be an opening, however given the illustration style, I cannot be sure. It’s difficult to tell which lines are separation of bones, and which show details in the exterior skin. You’ll have to make your own call on this one. The femur ridge is clearly present, and this image also shows socketed teeth pretty clearly. Given that three factors are present, and a fourth is possible, I think the Mercier specimen leans towards a positive identification as a dinosaur.

is godzilla a dinosaur

Yes, Godzilla is a Dinosaur

So we have definitive evidence that Godzilla is an Archosaur, and subsequently also a dinosaur evolutionarily. While he clearly is vastly larger than any dinosaur discovered to date, size isn’t a characteristic of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs could be smaller than humans, to larger than houses. Godzilla could just be an evolutionary outlier, a status further supported by his radioactive-fire breath. Given that Godzilla looks like the product of a Tyrannosaurus mating with a Stegosaurus, classifying just what kind of dinosaur Godzilla is could be extremely difficult. That’s a task for another day though. For now, go spread the word that Godzilla is in fact, a dinosaur. There are 480 new inquiring minds every month that want, no, NEED to know.

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2 Responses

  1. José Roberto says:

    You forgot to mention the bones of the hip, typical in the sauristiquios.
    If Godzilla is a dinosaur, it must have some trace of feathers and surely the tail touches the ground to reduce the pressure on the legs.
    Another possibility is that Godzilla is more related to crocodiles, but being amphibious does not need to be bipedal (remember the basics that indicate that the spinosaurus was quadruped).

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