Is Godzilla a dinosaur? Is he related to the dinosaurs of the Triassic-Cretaceous period moreso than just a random lizard of today?

  • 4
    Godzilla used to be a dinosaur, then he took an arrow to the knee... Jan 4, 2012 at 20:06
  • 3
    @OrigamiRobot flagged as a tired meme Jan 4, 2012 at 20:27
  • @Origami: Looks like somebody has been spending time reading a lot of YouTube comments lately. =P
    – gnovice
    Jan 4, 2012 at 21:26
  • 1
    No... According to movie, they are mutated lizards...
    – user931
    Jan 5, 2012 at 17:38
  • I think this question is in reference to the Japanese Godzilla franchise. I answered it assuming as such. However, if it was asked with respect to the American-made atrocity, then the question (and perhaps tags) should be edited to clarify.
    – gnovice
    Jan 5, 2012 at 18:31

5 Answers 5


The Wikipedia page states this about his origins:

Although his origins vary somewhat from film to film, he is always described as a prehistoric creature, who first appeared and attacked Japan at the beginning of the Atomic Age. In particular, mutation due to atomic radiation is presented as an explanation for his size and powers.

It also states that the design of Godzilla has been largely inspired by a number of dinosaurs, although the ones listed there span the Late Jurassic through Late Cretaceous periods, some 50 million years or more after the Triassic period:

Godzilla's approximate appearance, regardless of the design of the suit utilized for the creature, remains the same general shape, which is instantly recognizable: a giant, mutant dinosaur with rough, bumpy charcoal-grey scales, a long powerful tail, and jagged, bone-colored dorsal fins. Godzilla's iconic character design is a blended chimera inspired by various prehistoric reptiles, gleaned from children's dinosaur books and illustrations from an issue of Life magazine: Godzilla has the head and lower body of a Tyrannosaurus, a triple row of dorsal plates reminiscent of a Stegosaurus, the neck and forearms of Iguanodon and the tail and skin texture of a crocodile.1,2

  1. William M. Tsutsui (2003). Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 23.
  2. Gojira Classic Media audio commentary

In-universe, the movie Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) shows that Godzilla mutated from a Godzillasaurus, a species of therapod which had survived on Lagos island until World War II. An incident with a nuclear submarine irradiated it, creating Godzilla.

Based on the above, Godzilla would be more related to prehistoric dinosaurs than lizards of today.

  • Are is origins a mutated lizard from today or more a dinosaur frozen-in-time?
    – Nick T
    Jan 4, 2012 at 19:58
  • @NickT: I'd say a "mutated dinosaur frozen-in-time" (a little from column A, a little from column B). ;)
    – gnovice
    Jan 4, 2012 at 20:21
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    This does depend on whether it's the Japenese or American Godzilla - the American Godzilla was unequivocally a mutated lizard, whereas the Japanese Godzilla was a fictional dinosaur frozen in a block of ice who got mutated by radiation from nuclear bomb testing. Jan 4, 2012 at 20:26
  • @IanPugsley: There was an American Godzilla? Surely you jest? I refuse to acknowledge that anyone would have such a bad idea as to remake Godzilla so as to pander to the slack-jawed, explosion-dependent American audiences.
    – gnovice
    Jan 4, 2012 at 20:41
  • 2
    The frozen in a block of ice and hit with an A-bomb dinosaur was The Beast From 20,000 fathoms: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_from_20,000_Fathoms Jan 6, 2012 at 4:22

No.Conventional wisdom states."Dinosaurs were neither aerial or aquatic." The evidence of finding 200 m.y.o. sand and a trilobite,suggests that Godzilla,(Godzillasaurus),is a thecodont,now called crurotaris. They are thought to be the common ancestor of dinosaurs,crocodiles,and birds. Theses crurotaris were known to be at least semi-aquatic from tests of oxygen isotope ratios on their teeth. They had two or more rows of armored plates on their backs, and have mistaken of true dinosaurs.Godzilla is the perfect example of "Parallel Evolution".


In the 1954 film, an apparently live trilobite is discovered in one of Godzilla's footprints. Given that the last trilobites died out 252 million years ago, before there were dinosaurs, it certainly establishes the big guy has direct connections that go way back. There's talk in later movies of some cataclysm driving the dinosaurs underground, where they await improved surface conditions, but the series never developed a consistent origin theory along those lines.


The original Godzilla is more gorilla whale than dinosaur. Look at the way he stands somewhat upright with a long tail. Spines down his back not unlike a Dimetrodon which is a distant relative of mammals. The sheer size of Godzilla is enormous which whales are also way larger than any dinosaur has ever been. Look at the face of Godzilla he has a wide fully toothed jaw With larger canines in the front. with a blunt nose with nostrils and eyes that point to the front of the face. Dinosaurs have Large teeth that are usually the same throughout the mouth and nostrils (which can be somewhat close together are usually on each side of the face. The eyes are usually on each side as well.

Dinosaurs were not great swimmers even though there were aquatic reptiles bigger than some dinosaurs on land. Whales however are aquatic but have to breathe also. Again Godzilla is a mutant of many species he could be part fish and amphibian which is well known in evolution that both mammals and reptiles had to come from.

Godzilla's legs are very muscular, but he is not a toe walker like most dinosaurs that walked on two legs. Toe walkers look like their knees are backwards but what people think is a knee is actually a heel. The knee is farther up towards the body. Being so large and not a toe walker Godzilla is much slower than a dinosaur style monster. The 1998 Godzilla (Zilla) is a reptile style monster and was very fast. Did you ever see the original Godzilla go faster than a casual walk?

The skin on Godzilla is a mutation but is not scale like in the sense of a dinosaur it is rough and some areas are bone like the fins on the back. Dinosaurs have similar in the bone to scale design, but scales are uniform where Godzilla's skin is not.

Now Godzilla lays an egg to reproduce yes he does do that. He is also asexual which means only one needs to procreate. Zilla laid several eggs because that one was reptile like. Godzilla lays one huge egg which is more Platypus like. Godzilla takes care of his offspring and is always protecting it. Zilla is similar to crocodile in that aspect it watches the nest makes sure they are ok then will leave the nest after a while.

The movies say Godzilla is a mutation of a dinosaur a Godzillasaurus that was to please the American public. Godzilla is also suppose to be invincible due to the G cells that can regenerate any part of him. Of course the Americans can beat him with conventional weapons, When the Japanese could not touch him. The 2014 movie fixed the problem with that.

All in all think what you want, but the original Godzilla is more a Gorilla whale design than any dinosaur design.

  • Look at the way he stands somewhat upright with a long tale.... it's a guy in a suit in a movie made in the 50s.
    – Daft
    Jul 16, 2015 at 15:35
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    Gorilla whale? This needs to be a thing. NOW.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 18, 2015 at 4:39

Godzilla is clearly based off of dinosaurs due to his stance, his largely relatable appearance to the Tyrannosaurus-Rex (Facial Features) and the 'Spinosaurus' (the spikes on his back.) Now, in the original Japanese Godzilla he is a dinosaur frozen and mutated due to nuclear bomb testing making the original Godzilla a dinosaur.

                  Simple Answer
  • In "King Kong vs Godzilla" from 1962, a paleontologist character explains that Godzilla is a hybrid of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus. Oct 19, 2022 at 13:55

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