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The evolutionary biology of the monster.



Godzilla is back and is bigger than ever: the evolutionary biology of the monster.

Letter of the size of Godzilla, 1954-2019. Credit: Illustration created by Noger Chen.

Godzilla made his debut for the first time in 1954. At first, it was a 50-meter-tall metaphor for indiscriminate destruction, particularly the testing of US hydrogen bombs in the Marshall Islands, which in the film destroyed the ecosystem of Godzilla's deep water. Sixty-five years and 35 movies later, Godzilla is back and bigger than ever at Godzilla: King of the Monsters. At 119.8 meters high, Godzilla fights for supremacy against three monsters the size of a god, all with the future of humanity at stake. Film critics and fans have long observed that Godzilla has been growing over time, as buildings get taller. In fact, Godzilla has evolved 30 times faster than other organisms on Earth, according to a team of Dartmouth scientists whose findings are published in Science.

The researchers propose that Godzilla has been "evolving in response to an increase in the collective anxiety of humanity." They used US military spending. UU As a proxy for our collective anxiety and found a strong correlation between this and the body size of Godzilla between 1954 and 2019. If Godzilla is the embodiment of our anxiety, they argued, then our collective anxiety seems to be increasing. He did it during the nuclear age of the fifties.

If one accepts that Godzilla is a ceratosauric dinosaur of the Jurbadic period, as argued in the film series, then it represents a sensational example of evolutionary stability in a span of at least 145 million years. However, Godzilla has doubled in size since 1954, far exceeding the rate of evolution observed in 2,500 natural organisms today. "The body of Godzilla was consistent for about 150 million years until 1954, suggesting a sudden and strong selective pressure on body size over the last 65 years," says co-author Nathaniel J. Dominy, anthropology professor Charles Hansen. and Professor of Postgraduate Program in Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems and Society in Dartmouth. Dominy co-authored the study with Ryan Calsbeek, badociate professor of biological sciences and Dartmouth's postgraduate program in ecology, evolution, ecosystems and society.

The co-authors add that Godzilla endures as a cultural icon because it is a "fable with a lesson for our times".

Godzilla is back and is bigger than ever: the evolutionary biology of the monster.

Bivariate diagram of the 9 size categories of Godzilla in relation to the US military expenditure. Credit: Nathaniel J. Dominy and Ryan Calsbeek.


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More information:
Nathaniel J. Dominy and Ryan Calsbeek. The extraordinary growth of Godzilla over time reflects an increase in anthropogenic anguish. Science. May 28, 2019

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Dartmouth University




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Godzilla is back and is bigger than ever: the evolutionary biology of the monster (2019, May 30)
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