Is Godzilla a Dinosaur?
Making his first appearance in 1954, the Godzilla dinosaur is a fictitious movie monster, one that became a global pop culture icon. In the movies, Godzilla is shown as an amphibious dinosaur that is as large as a mountain. While the monster’s Japanese filmmakers certainly took liberties in creating the beast, what kind of dinosaur is Godzilla? Ken Carpenter, a paleontologist, published an article in 1998 that attempted to answer this question.
Godzilla: A Unique Dinosaur Medley
When Carpenter broke down Godzilla’s anatomy, he pointed out that the beast has characteristics that evolved several times within different groups of big carnivorous lizard-like dinosaurs. Since the creators of Godzilla pieced him together and added a few radiation-inspired mutations, the monster is a unique dinosaur medley.
Godzilla has long arms. He also has four fingers. With these features, that makes him a basal theropod, one that is a part of the first branches of the group’s ancestors. According to Carpenter, some theropods had less-noticeable bony armor on their spines. On the Godzilla dinosaur, the most pronounced characteristic is the tweaked body armor, which was a subtle trait among the beast’s predecessors.
The key feature to determining Godzilla’s dinosaur lineage is his head. The monster’s skull is short and deep. This type of head would suggest that Godzilla belongs to the theropod group called Abelisaurids. Actual dinosaurs that belong to this group include the Skorpiovenator and the Carnotaurus. Both creatures were related to the Ceratosaurus. When you consider the number of fingers that Godzilla has and his scales, the creature could be a type of Ceratosaur. He could even be one that bridges the gap between the archaic Ceratosaurs and the Abelisaurid group.
The Godzilla Dinosaur’s Film Origins
In the Japanese films, the beast’s roots vary, but in most of them, he is portrayed as a big, violent prehistoric sea creature, one that nuclear radiation woke up and made powerful. While the monster’s appearance has changed throughout the years, his general impression has stayed the same. Godzilla’s creators were inspired by the fictional Rhedosaurus that animator Ray Harryhausen created for the movie “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.”
The famous Godzilla design is that of an amphibious coldblooded beast. He is also based on a dinosaur that stands erect, has scaly skin and spikes on his back. According to film experts, Akira Watanabe, the movie’s art director, combined characteristics of a tyrannosaurus, a stegosaurus, an iguanodon and an alligator to make a mixed chimera.
Godzilla continues to be a popular movie monster because people have been fascinated by dinosaurs since scientists discovered that the creatures used to occupy the planet. This fascination extends to learning about the beasts, buying models of them and making movies starring them.
Animatronic dinosaur costumes are now a thing. For instance, you can get a tyrannosaurus rex costume that fits over your body. A velociraptor costume is also available as is an allosaurus costume. These costumes look like the real deal, making them perfect for adventure parks, theater productions and other forms of entertainment.