11

In the new Godzilla, Godzilla is said to have feed off radiation and hibernates in modern times, feeding off radiation from the core as there is no longer enough radiation in the modern world to satisfy him. Yet the scientists describe him as an alpha predator and the M.U.T.O's as his prey, so what's the deal? Can he eat organic matter as well or did he switch to a pure radiation diet in the millennia he was hibernating?

9
  • 1
    From what I remember in the movie he kills them and does not eat them. He still hunts them down so I do not see how that makes him any less of a predator.
    – Solomon
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 23:24
  • 1
    @Solomon - that makes zero evolutionary sense. Hunting and killing prey takes resources. If there's nothing in it for you, the only possible benefit would be showing off in front of female for sexual selection. And Godzilla is solitary, no competition between males to show off fitness. Commented May 28, 2014 at 23:32
  • 10
    Alpha particles are a type of radiation. He feeds on those.
    – Oldcat
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 23:41
  • 8
    @DVK Actually, killing competition for your food source does make evolutionary sense -- a dead MUTO isn't eating Godzilla's radiation, which means more for him! Take a look at ants -- they go to "war" with other colonies all the time, yet exceedingly rarely to eat them nor even to steal food from their colony, they're instead just removing competition for their food. See also any and all animals that defend their food source without intending to eat those they attack to do so.
    – Kromey
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 23:42
  • 1
    In the primordial world, their was probably plenty to go around.
    – Donmax
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 23:46

6 Answers 6

11

Godzilla is an alpha predator because he's the biggest*, meanest, killingest thing out there, ever, bar none. Something gets uppity on the planet, he rampages through the nearest major metropolitan area to kill it in a 1-2-hour slugfest with ample gratuitous explosions and collapsing buildings.

Consider the backstory as presented in the latest movie: In the ancient past, when Godzilla and his fellow Daikaiju evolved, Earth was highly radioactive (relative to today). They all fed on this radiation, because that's what was readily available; but Earth has since "cooled off" quite a lot, which means scarce food available for these giant beasts. Hibernation is one survival mechanism they evolved to deal with that; killing their competition, thereby ensuring fewer beasts trying to feed on the small amount of radiation still around, is another.

Godzilla has perfected both of these survival mechanisms, making him an "alpha predator" because he does, in fact, kill for food -- it's just that he's protecting his food from other Daikaiju that would eat it instead.

(*Okay, there may have been a monster or two bigger than him, but the point still stands.)

2
  • 1
    Sure. I guess Godzilla just killed them because they were in his way.
    – Donmax
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 0:03
  • A "predator" is an organism that kills other organism in order to consume them. Plenty of non-predators attack and kill other organisms as part of "competition"; this even includes plants (allelopathy. Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 10:07
2

Technically, an alpha predator is an animal that is not preyed upon by any other animal (this excludes parasites). It has nothing to do with how large, vicious, or carnivorous an animal is, although large animals tend to be at the top of the food chain. Humans, chimps, grizzly bears (which are omnivorous), whale sharks (filter feeders) are alpha predators. So if Godzilla occasionally chomps on another monster and nothing specializes in eating godzillas, that would make it an alpha predator.

6
  • 2
    Here's a reference for that: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_predator However, I notice that filter-feeding whales like blue whales are not listed as examples, despite eating animal life (zooplankton), so I wonder if it might be a requirement that the animal actively hunts its prey, or that hunted prey is its main diet. Searching "blue whale" and "apex predator" doesn't seem to turn up any links from biologists or other experts who label the blue whale as one. Do you have a reference for the idea that filter feeders like whale sharks qualify as apex predators?
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 13:28
  • Yep, there's a list on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apex_predators They don't have to be active hunters or full carnivores. I figure Godzilla has carnivorous-looking teeth and jaws, so he must be eating something meaty and not just running on nuclear power.
    – Viergacht
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 19:48
  • 1
    that wiki page doesn't cite references for individual entries (though it does have a general list of refs at the bottom), and it has a warning at the top saying "This article needs additional citations for verification". If you look at an old version at en.wikipedia.org/w/… you see the only whales it mentions are orcas and sperm whales, but it lists all the same refs at the bottom of the article (meaning that whoever added those refs did so at a time when the article didn't mention any other whales).
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 20:08
  • I do agree that "realistically" it would make sense that Godzilla is carnivorous given his teeth, but Godzilla isn't guaranteed to make biological sense, and the question is taking the movie at its word that Godzilla "feeds" on radiation and not other life (maybe you could image he evolved from a carnivorous creature, and the teeth are just vestigial).
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 20:11
  • 1
    Granted, Godzilla makes almost no sense at all. To be honest, I haven't seen this movie yet so I don't know how its rubber science is justified.
    – Viergacht
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 11:31
-1

Maybe because because full grown MUTOs are full of radiation since they feed on it too ? So by killing them Godzilla feeds on natural source of radiation,I mean radiation from living beings.Those were my two cents,they weren't elaborate on that topic in the movie at all,maybe they will explain it better in sequels.

0
-2

Godzilla could of been killed by the M.U.T.O's and their thousands of babies if he didn't kill them first. It's either kill it be killed. That's why he didn't eat them. He just killed them before they killed him!

-2

Like what James said. To become an Alpha Predator you have to kill all of the animals that are better than you and Godzilla I think found another Alpha Predator. If the M.U.T.O.s killed Godzilla then the M.U.T.O would be the new Apex Predator or Alpha Predator, but they didn't kill him, Godzilla killed them and now once again Godzilla is still the Alpha Predator.

-3

Since "predation" means getting nutrients and energy by killing and eating other organisms, Godzilla and the MUTOs are obviously not predators. So if they really do get their energy from "radiation", what does that make them?

The answer is clear once we remember that we already have plenty of examples of organisms which get their energy from radiation.. The unavoidable conclusion is that Godzilla/MUTOs are fundamentally plants. ("But they move around!" I hear you object. Yes, well, so do some algae. QED.)

I'll note that there is additional evidence that MUTOs, at least, cannot be "apex predators". This comes from the fact that MUTO female in the movie lays hundreds of eggs all at once. This is a clear example of what's sometimes called an r reproductive strategy (or "fast life history"): produce lots of offspring all at the same time, most of which won't survive. This is typically seen in organisms low down in the food chain, and suggests that MUTOs come from an ecosystem where they are the frequent victims of predation by other organisms.[*]

(So why does Godzilla have what seem like predatory attributes: viz, claws and teeth? I think the obvious answer is that these are actually meant for digging up and consuming radioactive ore.)

[*] Obviously not Godzilla, since he doesn't try to eat the MUTOs, nor does he seek out their eggs. (This means, by the way, that the Godzilla from the 1998 American movie, which lays more than 200 eggs, is following the same reproductive strategy. The actual "apex predators" that feed on baby or immature MUTOs and Godzillae are presumably bigger and scarier than any of the kaiju in the movies we've seen so far. Sadly, I doubt the Monsterverse screenwriters are going to take advantage of the obvious biological implications.)

3
  • Come on. Photosynthetic bacteria also exist. Producing energy from radiation does not make an organism a plant.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 4:06
  • @Adamant I am, of course, deliberately being somewhat silly, in part to counter the ignorance about what constitutes a "predator" displayed by the screenwriters (and some of the answers here). To be a bit pedantic, an organism getting its energy from radiation would be an autotroph. Since we're told Godzilla and the MUTOs subsist on radiation, and we never see them eating any other organisms, they are autotrophs. (Which is as far from being a predator as you can get.) Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 9:48
  • That said... the only multicellular autotrophs we know of are those called "plants". So unless you want to argue that Godzilla is a single-celled organism.... Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 9:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.