The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

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The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:37 pm

For any discussion relating to hypothetical kaiju science, such as speculative evolution, anatomy, biology, feeding habits, reproductive habits, size measurements, etc.

I'll go ahead and start with these two Tumblr posts by LazerWhale:

Source: http://lazerwhale.tumblr.com/post/15261 ... -the-sheer

Image

LazerWhale wrote:I’m always amazed at the sheer diversity that exists within the Superorder Crocodylomorpha, at least that which existed in the ancient past. Of note is how many take on mammalian traits such as differentiated teeth and skull morphology unlike any other living reptile, archosaur or otherwise. Looking at the cranium of, say,Mariliasuchus, one could easily mistake it for an odd mammal at a glance, even though the living creature would likely be a different story entirely.

It is for this reason that, when attempting to figure out just what the Showa-era Godzilla is, I always grouped it within Crocodylomorpha, giving it the fantastical name of Gigantotherium odonis - the giant beast of Odo Island. Now, I realise that there the skull I conceptualised contradicts what is typically presented, that being the incredibly mammalian design seen in Godzilla X Mechagodzilla. I acknowledge this, but offer up a counterpoint in the fact that the GXMG skeleton itself contradicts what is shown in Gojira, and not just in the fact that the 1954 movie showed the skeleton completely dissolving into nothing. The skeleton in GXMG has completely different features from the ‘54 one! Mind you, the one in Gojira doesn’t match the proportions of the suit in that movie so there’s a discrepancy there, too.

I actually used the ‘54 suit’s features and proportions when designing the skull, making guesses as to the thickness of the flesh and scales relative to the size of the skull and trying to justify some of the stranger features that design possessed. I feel I did a good job.

I’m bringing this over from my Deviantart, the first in a series of images. It’ll be nice to spread my work around, and I love having the opportunity to lay out my thoughts behind it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rebloging this because I can! because I’ve got additional information that I’ve put together.

For starters, when I first made this image I took some measurements to try to get a sense of scale. I’ve since checked the measurements again and revised the old values, which I am happy to share here with you.

The skull measures an approximate 10.7 metres in length and 6.96 metres in height (slightly smaller than I believed it would be). This is still 1.85 times the length of the longest animal skull found in nature; a 5.8 metre specimen belonging to a blue whale.

I’ve also taken the liberty of trying analyse G’54 here from a natural standpoint, seeing how I can fit him in to the natural world.

As that’s gotten rather long, however, I’ll put it into a separate post.



Source: http://lazerwhale.tumblr.com/post/15261 ... ium-odonis

LazerWhale wrote:G. odonis would be a Crocodyliform, likely found within Neosuchia. As we know that Dr. Yamane believed that the animal evolved during the ‘Jurassic Age,’ we do have some measure of where it might sit, but the original film seems to use ‘Jurassic’ as a catch-all term for ‘time with dinosaurs.’ Nonetheless, let’s assume that the species did emerge during the Jurassic. Based on morphological similarities, I’d place the genus Gigantotherium somewhere along the lineage that led to both Eusuchia and Goniopholididae. Regardless of lineage, G. Odonis is heavily derived and modified to accommodate both its massive bulk and unique behavior, and thus becoming far less like what humans see as the typical crocodilian bauplan.

We see in the film that Godzilla does not appear to swim at all times, but rather walks around on the ocean floor; indeed, we hear footsteps before he even surfaces in one scene. As is obvious, Gigantotherium is not very well suited to agile movement, and rather than propelling itself through undulations of its body and tail, I suggest instead that it would function more like a vast reptilian hippopotamus; walking (or lumbering if you will) along the floor and occasionally propelling itself upward by paddling or pushing off with its large and heavily muscled hindlimbs. By becoming more bottom-heavy, G. odonis can facilitate an amphibious lifestyle, spending much of its time in the water and coming to shore to hunt or mate, without succumbing to as many of the issues that ocean-dwelling creatures - such as sea turtles - face when exiting the water.

Despite being rather docile, spending large amounts of time simply resting below the water’s surface, Gigantotherium is capable of notable feats of aggression. When sufficiently provoked, they lash out with their jaws, forelimbs and even tail. Their most impressive defensive or, rather, offensive capability is based around a volume of water that they collect within a modified segment of their esophagus, analogous to the avian crop. This water serves as a heat sink while the animal is on land for the purposes of aiding in cooling the dense tissues of the animal outside of the lower temperatures it normally dwells in. By allowing this water to boil inside it, an individual can produce a store of highly pressurised superheated vapour, which can be ejected from the animal’s mouth. This steam is heated to such temperatures that it can sear and even ignite some substances.

As in many creatures with potent natural defenses, Gigantotherium exhibits a threat display before firing the vapour stream, this being a bright flash of bioluminescence along the length of its dorsal scutes, a trait unheard of in other crocodylomorphs.

The skin of G. odonis is composed of a densely structured cavalcade of osteoderms and scutes, forming a rough texture often compared to heavy scarring. This skin offers the creature a significant resistance to harm, also aids in temperature regulation; numerous folds and creases help to increase the total body surface area of the animal and offset its great volume. Interestingly, the hide is almost completely a solid and flat grey or dull brown in colour, with little to no countershading. Presumably this is because of the creature’s behavior and lifestyle; as it spends most of its time walking monolithically, it will be highly visible from most angles. Countershading, despite being common on oceanic species, would help it very little.
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby BooLugosi » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:53 pm

This was an awesome read! I hope to see more stuff like this in the future. :)

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:02 pm

A user I follow on SpaceBattles, Gojirason, made this estimate of the 1954 Godzilla's volume and surface area using Autodesk Meshmixer:

Image

* Volume = 8,270.11 cubic meters. (About 3.308044 times the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool)

* Surface Area = 4,468.74 square meters. (About 1.1042497 acres or 48,101.117 square feet)

Keep in mind that, for context, he set Godzilla's height to 50 millimeters, but you'd still (kinda) get the same results if you converted millimeters to meters.

The significance of this is that most organisms are as dense as liquid water on average. Specifically, as dense as liquid water at a temperature of 4°C (39.2°F): 1,000 kilograms per cubic meter.

* 8,270.11 cubic meters * 1,000 kilograms per cubic meter = 8,270,110 kilograms or 8,270.11 metric tons (9,116.2358 short / U.S. tons).

Now, according to Wikipedia's Orders of magnitude (density) article, the average human body density is 1,062 kilograms per cubic meter.

* 8,270.11 cubic meters * 1,062 kilograms per cubic meter = 8,782,856.82 kilograms or 8,782.85682 metric tons (9,681.44241 short / U.S. tons).

TL;DR: Showa Godzilla (or at least the 1954 individual, since he looks considerably bulkier than his successor, which might make the second individual a good deal lighter) would actually be more likely to weigh around 8,300 - 8,800 metric tons instead of 20,000 metric tons, going off of real organism densities.
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Ivo-goji » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:29 pm

^Would Godzilla's extreme body density be the cause of his invulnerability?

I've heard some speculate that in order for Godzilla to move around without killing himself (much less shrug off waves of military artillery) his flesh and bones would have to contain minerals as a reinforcement- he has diamond hard skin because his skin is literally laced with diamonds (or some other dense substance you wouldn't expect to find in living tissues). That might explain why explain why Godzilla weighs more than he's supposed to.
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby ZillaJr-KaijuKing » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:37 am

Ivo-goji wrote:^Would Godzilla's extreme body density be the cause of his invulnerability?

I've heard some speculate that in order for Godzilla to move around without killing himself (much less shrug off waves of military artillery) his flesh and bones would have to contain minerals as a reinforcement- he has diamond hard skin because his skin is literally laced with diamonds (or some other dense substance you wouldn't expect to find in living tissues). That might explain why explain why Godzilla weighs more than he's supposed to.

Then he'd be too dense to swim and would just sink like a rock in water. I'm pretty sure every Godzilla incarnation can swim.
Gerdzerl wrote:A user I follow on SpaceBattles, Gojirason, made this estimate of the 1954 Godzilla's volume and surface area using Autodesk Meshmixer:

https://i.gyazo.com/83f9f3de17e482b6cb6b47cd9164a278.png

* Volume = 8,270.11 cubic meters.

* Surface Area = 4,468.74 square meters.

Keep in mind that, for context, he set Godzilla's height to 50 millimeters, but you'd still get the (kinda) same results if you converted millimeters to meters.

The significance of this is that most organisms are as dense as liquid water on average. Specifically, as dense as liquid water at a temperature of 4°C (39.2°F): 1,000 kilograms per cubic meter.

* 8,270.11 cubic meters * 1,000 kilograms per cubic meter = 8,270,110 kilograms or 8,270.11 metric tons (9,116.2358 short / U.S. tons).

Now, according to Wikipedia's Orders of magnitude (density) article, the average human body density is 1,062 kilograms per cubic meter.

* 8,270.11 cubic meters * 1,062 kilograms per cubic meter = 8,782,856.82 kilograms or 8,782.85682 metric tons (9,681.44241 short / U.S. tons).

TL;DR: Showa Godzilla would actually be more likely to weigh around 8,300 - 8,800 metric tons instead of 20,000 metric tons, going off of real organism densities.

His measurements for the 1998 Godzilla using the scales the production crew used according to a guidebook for the movie put it at around 6,600 metric tons IIRC. Apparently the movie version of the 1998 Godzilla really is the smallest incarnation of the character. The cartoon version, as it turns out, is significantly bigger according to an official size chart for the cartoon which would put it at 25,000 metric tons.

EDIT: He made comparisons showing both sizes compared to Legendary Godzilla to show the difference.

Movie size:

Image

Image

Cartoon size:

Image

Image

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:28 am

^ 6,649.59 metric tons (7,329.91827 short tons) definitely seems a lot more logical than that nonsensical 500-ton figure! And wow, I had no idea TriStarGoji was that short, but I guess it only makes sense he would be since those guidebooks for the film say he's 180 feet (54.864 meters) tall, presumably standing fully erect.

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby ZillaJr-KaijuKing » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:05 am

Gerdzerl wrote:^ 6,649.59 metric tons (7,329.91827 short tons) definitely seems a lot more logical than that nonsensical 500-ton figure! And wow, I had no idea TriStarGoji was that short, but I guess it only makes sense he would be since those guidebooks for the film say he's 180 feet (54.864 meters) tall, presumably standing fully erect.

I don't think any official sources for the 1998 Godzilla actually state it's 500 tons. I have no idea where it comes from, but I'm almost certain it's just a misconception. One episode of the cartoon states Zilla Jr. to be 60,000 metric tons, but unfortunately (and as is the case with many official kaiju weights) there's no way to justify that based on his volume and the fact that he needs to be around the density of water to be able to swim. It's just something people gloss over.

The old website for the cartoon also states that the cartoon version is 180 feet tall, but the cartoon size chart I linked puts him at 180 feet in the T-Rex stance, not including the dorsal spikes. Including the dorsal spikes, he's 230 feet, which happens to fit another official statement from one guidebook stating the 1998 Godzilla to be 23 stories tall. It's as if the show writers took what may or may not have been intended to be "upright" heights and took them as "theropod stance" heights.

Just for fun, I decided to find out how tall Zilla Jr. would have to be to weigh 2,500,000 metric tons (100x the 25,000 metric ton figure from the cartoon size chart) while still having approximately the density of water and got 325 meters in the theropod stance at the tip of the tallest scute (255 meters without the dorsal plates). Then I thought 2.5 billion metric tons and got 3,249.11 meters up to the tallest spike (2,552.87 meters at the shoulder). Now I'm wondering, if I get into game design and get to design my own giant monsters, what possible justification I could have for making multi-kilometer tall monsters. What kind of environment could I put them in to make them look big while not completely dwarfing everything in sight? A mountain range maybe?
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Ivo-goji » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:23 am

ZillaJr-KaijuKing wrote:
Ivo-goji wrote:^Would Godzilla's extreme body density be the cause of his invulnerability?

I've heard some speculate that in order for Godzilla to move around without killing himself (much less shrug off waves of military artillery) his flesh and bones would have to contain minerals as a reinforcement- he has diamond hard skin because his skin is literally laced with diamonds (or some other dense substance you wouldn't expect to find in living tissues). That might explain why explain why Godzilla weighs more than he's supposed to.

Then he'd be too dense to swim and would just sink like a rock in water. I'm pretty sure every Godzilla incarnation can swim.

Lazer Whale's commentary in the first post suggests Godzilla just walks under water- which seems consistent with how Godzilla works in the older films. Granted, he's shown swimming in the Millennium series.

On the other hand, "swimming when he's too dense to swim" goes along with "standing up when his body shouldn't be able to support its own weight".

Maybe Godzilla can just defy gravity like Superman. Using his atomic breath to fly is just giving himself a speed boost.

Den Valdron offers some interesting ideas about giant monster biology
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby ZillaJr-KaijuKing » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:30 am

Ivo-goji wrote:Lazer Whale's commentary in the first post suggests Godzilla just walks under water- which seems consistent with how Godzilla works in the older films. Granted, he's shown swimming in the Millennium series.

On the other hand, "swimming when he's too dense to swim" goes along with "standing up when his body shouldn't be able to support its own weight".

Maybe Godzilla can just defy gravity like Superman. Using his atomic breath to fly is just giving himself a speed boost.

I've been debating in a vs. debates community lately that likes to take a hard science approach to feats and now I have to justify how an atomic breath that doesn't cause radiation poisoning could work while still being nuclear powered. Aneutronic fusion is the first thing I thought of.

If it's true that Showa Godzilla just walks on the sea floor, then maybe a 20,000-ton weight is justifiable.

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:37 am

Well, going off of what Gojirason noted here, I think 180 feet (54.864 meters) is accurate for a fairly erect but still partially hunched stance: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads ... it.492094/

Image

Image

Image

Gojirason wrote:Some observations:
The skull on the 1/24 model is a little over a foot in length, and around 5-ish feet on the 1/6 model. The Ford Crown Victoria (taxi), which is 17.7 feet long is over half as long as his skull. This all in mind, his skull should be less than 30 feet long. This matches up with my earlier assessment and point about the Deep Dweller's 40-foot wide jaw appearing to be noticeably wider than Godzilla Jr's skull is long.

It's noted that the 1/6th model can reach 30 feet high. 30*6=180.

His claws look like they'd be around 6 feet or longer. His teeth definitely are not 5 feet in length, save possibly including the root of the tooth, which was never modeled anyway, so I dunno what to say about that.

The 1/24 model is literally a suit, and only a small bit larger than a person. His hips are about 4 feet tall in full horizontal therapod stance (legs bent), which would make his height at the hips no more than ~90-105 feet. His shoulders don't come much higher than this in therapod; maybe 10 feet higher. With his legs full straightened and his head held high (the image seen with the actor in the suit in the second image in the album), he appears to be in the area of 7.5 feet tall—which would make that stance nearly exactly 180 feet tall when multiplied by 24 as per appropriate scale. If he's could get to 8.2 feet, 60 meters / 20 stories becomes plausible as an absolute maximum height. I wouldn't dismiss the idea that Junior is a tad bit smaller. It's less than a 10% difference.

Anyway on that same page, while he's walking (with rather straight legs), his shoulders appear to be about 10 stories up by the building next to him. That could be anywhere from 100-130 feet (likely range) depending on the building.

Image

Using this model (also from the same book—I could probably take a picture with clearer resolution), we can test a couple figures. Assigning a tail length of 256 feet results in a height at the hips ~96-105 feet, and a height at the head in this posture of ~140-150 feet. Projecting his posture upwards a standing height of ~180 feet at the same posture as he appears in the other image. His head at this scale comes to 27-28 feet. Everything checks out perfectly.

On a similar note I noticed that in my image measuring Godzilla's height around 145 feet compared to the bridge, that I wasn't measuring perpendicular to the bridge itself, and that the bridge is technically further away. With this in mind, a much lower hip height is definitely possible.

Image

This posture is closer to the one in the wiremesh image, and given the height of the towers as around 157 feet (measuring from beneath the bridge) this looks just about perfect to me.



Image

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Quick rescaling in MS Paint for Gojirason's image gives me this as to what 180 feet and "23 stories" would look like next to his measured ~145-foot height:

Image

180 feet seems a bit more plausible to me, unless the "23 story" figure actually refers to him standing on the tips of his toes with his neck pointed completely vertically. Kinda like this:

Image
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby ZillaJr-KaijuKing » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:52 am

Yeah, I remember. 180 feet would have been partially upright and 230 feet would have been a possible maximum height for a fully upright stance using the movie model, although the portion of the bridge in that shot is shown from a slight angle so 276 feet should be somewhat taller.

It's interesting how the cartoon size chart fits all of the numbers that appear in official statements but reaches a different conclusion. That tail comparison just highlights the differences.

Image

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:07 pm

ZillaJr-KaijuKing wrote:Yeah, I remember. 180 feet would have been partially upright and 230 feet would have been a possible maximum height for a fully upright stance using the movie model, although the portion of the bridge in that shot is shown from a slight angle so 276 feet should be somewhat taller.

It's interesting how the cartoon size chart fits all of the numbers that appear in official statements but reaches a different conclusion. That tail comparison just highlights the differences.

Image


If that's the case, then the commonly cited 60-meter (~196 feet, 10.21 inch) height would make perfect sense for a "standard" upright height when measuring off a movie-scaled TriStarGoji. Basically, poses like these, if you will:

Image

Image

Image

It'd be great if they were a way to somehow acquire the original CGI model used for Godzilla (1998) and measure it's volume and the length of it's body parts. A lot of official kaiju stats in general could use some significant revising, in fact, as their validity is often pretty questionable given the lack of proper sourcing as to how these statistics were decided on / figured out and the fact that many official stats tend to contradict each other (IE: Heisei King Ghidorah's height being inconsistently listed as either 140 meters or 150 meters).
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby ZillaJr-KaijuKing » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:33 pm

Yeah, it's confusing when there are no explicit size charts for the movie version.

I'd like to know of any possible scientific explanations for atomic breaths that don't lead to radiation contamination. Aneutronic fusion is the only one I can think of aside from one explanation involving thorium that I can't remember.

I also saw a comment about how Shin Godzilla synthesizing "unknown elements" inside his body could possibly mean theoretical elements in the "island of stability" on the periodic table, which might require more intense conditions than inside stars or even supernovae due to the elements being heavier than what stars create.

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:24 am

This Tetrapod Zoology article on ScienceBlogs.com has some interesting things to say about the 1998 Godzilla as well.

Source: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology ... -of-zilla/

Darren Naish wrote:I recently posted an updated version of the ‘Science of Godzilla’ article, and what a great success it was. But I’m kicking myself, because I totally forgot something else I should have mentioned: Tracy L. Ford recently had cause to produce a number of anatomical drawings of Zilla (aka GINO*/Deanzilla/Fraudzilla), the monster bipedal reptile that invades New York in the 1998 TriStar movie Godzilla. Like all Godzilla fans, I don’t regard Zilla as a ‘Godzilla’ at all; rather, it’s a charlatan, an imposter. And the movie itself is awful.

Image

* Godzilla In Name Only

Anyway, Tracy has been kind enough to let me use his drawings here. Here they are, with a bit of commentary.

We begin with a full skeletal reconstruction (and anatomical life drawing) of the creature. In the skeleton, note that Tracy has provided Zilla with a pelvis where both the pubis and ischium are relatively short: indeed, Zilla’s body and pelvic region is not particularly deep, so it cannot have had long-shafted, rod-like pubes and ischia like those present in theropod dinosaurs. Tracy has also given Zilla a lizard-like, fenestrated scapulocoracoid. We don’t know whether Zilla has gastralia or not: if it is a mutated lizard (see below), the presence of inscriptional ribs incorporated into the abdominal musculature would be predicted.

The gracile, slender-shafted hindlimb bones of Zilla appear somewhat surprising in view of Zilla’s incredible size (unwards of 20,000 tons): you might predict that there would be large trochanters for hypertrophied musculature, expanded articular ends, or much thicker bone shafts… but no. The gracility of Zilla is, indeed, a bit of a paradox (Christiansen 2000).

Note in the life drawing that Zilla has pronated forelimbs where the radius is medially positioned and the palms face the ground. This configuration is most likely present because the designers looked at old illustrations of theropod .

Image

Zilla’s dorsal armour is undeniably similar to that of the true Godzilla. Note in Tracy’s illustrations that there are several parallel rows of osteoderms, extending from the pectoral region to the end of the tail. Transversely-arranged, flat scutes and lateral rows of smaller scutes cover the dorsal surface of the neck.

Zilla’s identity is somewhat obscure. It’s implied in the movie that it’s a mutated giant lizard (perhaps a marine iguana… which would explain why Zilla originated in the south Pacific* and eats fish**), and a mutated giant lizard only superficially similar to theropod dinosaurs. Zilla’s feet don’t make much sense in that the hallux (digit I) is absent, while the small, divergent digit is digit V (the one on the outside edge of the foot). I reckon that the designers looked at theropod feet, but then ‘flipped’ the foot anatomy in order that Zilla didn’t look precisely like a theropod. You can see from Tracy’s drawings of the hand that Zilla has a divergent thumb, in which case it’s superficially similar to theropod and different from lizard.

* Given that marine iguana only live on the Galapagos Islands.
** Given that marine iguana are strict herbivores.

Image

Finally, we come to cranial anatomy. Zilla’s massive lower jaw and protruding chin region are peculiar and anatomically novel, and perhaps incongruous with its diet of fish: you might regard its head as ‘over designed’, or perhaps the result of a hormonal imbalance. Indeed, the creature proves to be a parthenogenetic female, pregnant with a clutch of several hundred eggs, so something freaky is going in hormonal terms (Zilla’s parthenogenetic ability is at least consistent with a squamate identity: e.g., Maslin 1971, Lenk et al. 2005, Watts et al. 2006). The laterally positioned nostril and eye don’t appear at all consistent with Zilla’s amphibious/semi-aquatic lifestyle, but then neither do any other of its characteristics. It looks about as aquatic as a psittacosaur (ha ha – – an in-joke).

Image

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Above is Tracy’s take on the skull. That massive coronoid process is consistent with a very powerful bite. The fact that the tooth crowns appear borne on bony pedicels is peculiar and makes it looks as if the dentition is acrodont (where sockets or an anchoring groove are absent, and where the teeth are fused to the jaw bones), but…

Image

… as you can see here, the teeth are very long-rooted and hence the dentition must in fact be thecodont (where the teeth implant in deep sockets). Tracy surmises that canals in the tooth crowns are connected via ducts to specialised labial glands.

To my knowledge, none of this has been published, though I believe it did form the topic of a conference presentation. The skeleton anatomy of Zilla is evidently quite well known (arguably more so than that of the real Godzilla), though no information is yet available on its internal soft-tissue anatomy. I hope you enjoyed this additional excursion into monster anatomy, and many thanks indeed to Tracy Ford for allowing use of his illustrations.



Another interesting thing to note is that while the TriStar Godzilla is commonly assumed to be a mutated marine iguana, it's possible he might instead be a mutated green iguana, going off the fact that the nest his egg was in was guarded by one in the film's opening:

Image
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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:25 am

Bumping since I don't want this thread to die.

Hauntedmech has a menagerie of excellent kaiju science posts on her blog. Here are two in particular that deal with the commonly pointed out square-cube law issue.

Source: http://hauntedmech.tumblr.com/post/1122 ... nd-i#notes

Hauntedmech wrote:
Godzilla is (theoretically) Quite Plausible, and I Used SCIENCE to Figure Out How! (v2.0: It Involves Diamonds!)

Ten days ago, I posted my little theory on how Godzilla and animals the size of Godzilla could support their massive bulk without their bones shattering. I determined that in order to support themselves and be able to survive the stresses of moving and fighting at that size the bones would need to be made of a material with a Young’s modulus of at least 460 gigapascals. I selected tungsten carbide as being a likely material which fits that requirement, and presented some mass estimates for Godzilla and Kiryu based on the assumption that that was what their bones were largely made of.

Of course, the tungsten carbide skeleton theory had a lot of problems. No other animal has a skeleton with that kind of composition, and tungsten isn’t exactly the most common element on the planet. In order to sustain even one Godzilla-sized creature with a tungsten carbide skeleton, an entire specialized ecosystem would need to exist specifically for the extraction and refinement of tungsten ores. The existence of such a specialized ecosystem can be considered practically impossible, since tungsten provides no other benefits to a species beyond its proposed use in bone reinforcement.

The theory isn’t dead yet, however. As I was doing my calculations, I discovered that there are even more and even better ways for a kaiju-sized animal to support itself, and that despite common wisdom to the contrary, creatures much, much larger than Godzilla are mechanically plausible with hardly any stretch of the theory’s boundaries. In fact, the possibilities are as close to infinite as one might care to make them. This could all be made possible if the skeleton was reinforced with veins of diamond.

Some Important Realizations, and How I Came to Them:

Despite the prohibitive challenges standing in the way of the tungsten carbide skeleton theory, I was prepared to go ahead with it, and claim “artistic license” as my defense. After all, in the fictional universe of tokusatsu, it is a scientific fact that kaiju exist, and therefore science isn’t concerned with proving that they can, but how and why they can. In order to produce the tungsten carbide, the animal would need a source of tungsten, a source of carbon, and a furnace within its body which can heat the materials to temperatures of over 1,400 degrees Celsius (there are other methods which require lower temperatures). The carbon is easy; it’s one of the most common elements on Earth, and the air, ground, and all living things on the planet are full of it. The high-temperature furnace would pose a bit more of a problem, because it could very easily melt the entire animal, but that problem could be circumvented (these are kaiju, after all). The biggest problem would be a source of tungsten, which is not found naturally in animals in more than trace quantities. With all that in mind, I set out to find some outer limits for just what kinds of possibilities there were for this theory, assuming that all of those requirements could be met. The most obvious outer limit is, of course, size.

To estimate the maximum size of that an organism could attain with a tungsten carbide skeleton, I hypothesized a species specially adapted to attain that size. The species would be a quadruped, and would move very slowly, only lifting one foot off the ground at a time as it carefully plodded along between long periods of motionless rest. I reasoned that in order to have a reasonable assurance that the bones would hold together, the pressure on the leg bones would have to be less than 400 Gigapascals (tungsten carbide has a Young’s modulus of around 550Gpa). I took that rule and turned it into an algebraic inequality:

400,000,000Pa>(Mass/3 limbs on the ground)/(Cross-sectional area of limb bone).

When it’s broken down into a form that can be plugged into a calculator, the equation looks something like this:

400,000,000Pa>(((height^3)*61.1)/3)/((height^2)/20), where 61.1 is the estimated average density of the animal in kilograms per cubic meter, and 20 is the estimated percent of the animal’s total volume taken up by its skeleton.

Incidentally, I discovered that this whole equation can be reduced to the simple formula, f(x)=407.333x, where “f(x)“ is the pressure on each of the legs in pascals, and ”x“ is the animal’s approximate height at the shoulder in meters (that is, assuming the animal is a cube, which it isn’t, but it is likely very boxy in appearance and therefore that number won’t be too far off).

Now, this is where things start to go a little nuts. Because you see, if the pressure on its leg bones is 300,000,000 pascals, then the animal’s theoretical maximum height at the shoulder would be over 700 kilometers. Obviously, it can’t grow that big, because that’s about seven times the height of Earth’s atmosphere, and no ecosystem on the planet could ever, by any stretch of the imagination, support an animal of that size. Hell, I don’t even think there’s enough tungsten on the entire planet to make that thing’s skeleton. To top it off, it would be so heavy that the Earth’s crust would crumble like the skin on top of a bowl of split pea soup beneath its mass, and the creature would drop straight down into the planet’s molten mantle in a catastrophic event which would most likely destroy the entire surface of the planet and end not just all life as we know it, but all life in general on Planet Earth, with no exceptions.

The point is, contrary to popular wisdom, a truly specialized animal will be constrained in size by things like age, nutritional requirements, the presence of an atmosphere for it to breathe, or the ability of the planet’s crust to hold it up without catastrophically imploding, a looooong time before its bones are ever at risk of collapsing under its weight.

So we can put that one to rest forever now.

How to Build a Kaiju Without Tungsten Carbide, and Make Your Life a Whole Lot Easier in the Process (except for the presence of a giant monster that you have to deal with):

As I was making my calculations for that theoretical maximum size, I realized that if the animal’s body was able to produce tungsten carbide, then it would also have the ability to produce another famously strong material: diamond. I hadn’t initially considered diamond as a practical material to make a skeleton out of, as diamond is a crystal, and therefore highly rigid, and could easily break if it were twisted or bent, not a property that you want to have if you’re trying to make a skeleton out of something. But as it turns out, I had been looking at the problems with diamond all wrong, and there were in fact some unconsidered possibilities that suddenly brought everyone’s favorite wedding ring fodder back onto the table.

It’s generally accepted that the insides of a kaiju’s body reach incredibly hot temperatures (after all, Goji’s fire has to come from somewhere), and in order for tungsten carbide to be produced, high temperatures are a necessity. However, if the temperature inside the body starts to exceed 500 degrees Celsius, the tungsten carbide will begin to break down and oxidize, becoming normal tungsten and carbon. The temperatures required to produce tungsten carbide in the first place (approximately 1,400 degrees Celsius, as mentioned above) are, coincidentally, just above the temperatures that diamonds form at (between 900 and 1,300 degrees Celsius), and the pressure within the bones would provide substantial compression; with very little alteration, the bones could provide the ideal conditions in which to form diamonds. If this were to occur, it would provide the creature with a very important level of extra strength, should its bones be subject to repeated stress in a particular manner: if the tungsten carbide begins to break down, then the heat and pressure within the bones will compress the newly freed carbon atoms into diamonds, which have a Young’s modulus twice that of tungsten carbide, and a significantly higher compressive strength, meaning that, if properly positioned, they would be able to withstand almost any force that could be dealt on them. Furthermore, the diamonds would naturally form more frequently at high-stress points, with their strongest sides in line with the direction of the stress, automatically organizing themselves in the places that they are needed most; a vital property for any reinforcement material in the ever-changing body of a living being.

Since the diamond forms in reaction to the stresses on the bone, it is not nearly as extensive as the tungsten carbide would be, and thus the bone would lose very little, if any, of its flexibility and elasticity, but would still benefit from the diamond’s strength. In the end, even if the tungsten carbide were completely eroded, the bone would still function perfectly fine, if not better, with its new, more sparse reinforcement of diamond.

This leads us to a very, very important conclusion: as long as there’s carbon, the tungsten doesn’t actually need to be there at all.

With that revelation, the idea of a giant animal with bones reinforced with some super-strong exotic substance jumps from being a lovely theoretical experiment that would realistically never happen to being something that, while still very unlikely, is no longer very far at all outside the realm of possibility. It’s not only based on hard math, and lacks the glaring drawbacks of the tungsten carbide theory, but it follows a clean, straightforward path of evolutionary transition, with each new step benefiting the animal in similar ways at every stage, something that the tungsten carbide theory would be unable to do until its final, completed stage, making its evolution a near impossibility. As evolution is reactive, causing changes in response to environmental feedback, not goal-oriented as much of pop culture would have us believe, in order to consider an adaptation practical for a species to have, it would need to be immediately beneficial for the species’ ancestors to adopt a much more basic form of that adaptation, and subsequently become more and more beneficial for the lineage to continue specializing it. This was a major problem with the tungsten carbide theory, but is perfectly in-line with this new theory.

Here’s the new theory as it currently stands:

The Theory as it Currently Stands:

The kaiju have all evolved (most likely in parallel, as several species are clearly not related to each other) to take advantage of their high body heat to synthesize various carbon allotropes, which they use to reinforce their bones. Even before diamond is produced, the carbon can take other forms, which are just as useful for reinforcement at smaller sizes. Their bones are likely saturated with pure carbon dust particles, probably in the form of graphite, which is compressed into progressively stronger and stronger allotropes as the animal grows, building up naturally at high-stress points that require more reinforcement.

This is similar to the process by which normal bones become stronger over time. Normal bones develop microfractures when subjected to repeated stress. Normally these fractures aren’t noticed unless they expand beyond the bone’s capacity to self-repair, and develop into a painful stress fracture, but the tiny fractures form every time the bones are strained. If the microfractures are allowed to heal properly without being further stressed beyond their limits, then fibrous cartilage will form in the resulting clot, which increases the strength of the bone at the stressed point. This process is delicate, and can be easily upset, especially if not induced intentionally, but it has been harnessed and controlled in microfracture surgeries, which are often used by professional athletes to increase the strength of their bones and avoid future downtime by reducing the risk of potentially dangerous stress fractures.

In kaiju, which have accelerated healing compared to other animals, this process, combined with the compression of graphite deposits, creates bones that are far stronger than the bones of normal animals. As the creature grows larger and the stresses become more severe, the graphite is compressed into the bones to compensate, always keeping up with the required strength to support the creature in anything it does.

By the time the organism reached the size of Godzilla, a cross-section of its bones would reveal a beautiful matrix of miniscule diamond veins throughout the bone, refracting an ever-changing rainbow of polarized colors as the pressure on the bone shifts. It is safe to say that kaiju most likely have the most beautiful skeletons of any animals due to their crystalline reinforcements.

Mass Estimates Revised:

I concluded my last post on this subject by giving some mass estimates for Godzilla and Kiryu based on their skeletal composition. Diamond is significantly lighter than tungsten carbide, and since by far the largest part of Godzilla’s overall mass by that estimation was the skeleton, the mass estimate according to this new theory is significantly lighter. We can use the same estimations for the volume of Godzilla’s skeleton that we used last time.

Since the bones are not made entirely of diamond, the overall density will be somewhere between that of diamond and normal bone. With that in mind, I calculated the mass of the skeleton to be approximately 54,404 tons. Since the remainder of the flesh can be assumed to be about equal in average density to water, weighing in at approximately 80,000 tons overall, that makes Godzilla’s total weight 134,404 metric tons. This means that Kiryu, whose artificial “flesh” is made mostly of graphene composites, carbon nanotubes, and tungsten, would weigh approximately 220,000 metric tons. Both these measurements are quite a bit lighter than my initial estimations, but they are still true heavyweights none the less. Even given their massive bulk, neither should have any trouble surviving the stresses of moving and fighting at that size, thanks to their ultra-strong diamond-reinforced skeletons.

… Or you could do what Pacific Rim and the Gamera movies do and just say that they’re made entirely of ridiculously low-density aerofoam materials and that the biggest hardly ever weigh more than 5,000 tons. But then your kaiju could get knocked over by a strong breeze.))


Source: http://hauntedmech.tumblr.com/post/1132 ... ters#notes

Hauntedmech wrote:
Osteothermopolium: The Secret to Giant Monsters

((Osteothermopolium: Oss•tee•oh•therm•oh•pole•ee•um

What the heck is osteothermopolium? Well, my good friends, it’s this nifty little substance that I’ve just come up with that conveniently fills the one remaining hole in my theory of how kaiju bones are able to support their immense bulk: where the heat necessary to produce the diamonds that reinforce the bones comes from.

“Osteothermopolium” roughly means “hot ink of the bone,” because it is a black, viscous fluid that is produced by the bones and generates intense heat when pressurized. It can also mean “bone cafe,” which is what I originally meant for it to be, since osteothermopolium is a carbon-based nanofoam, which reminded me of the microfoam toppings on many espresso drinks, since it is hot, juicy, and helps you stand up in the morning when you feel like your body is just too heavy to lift. Since “osteothermopolium” is a really long word, we’ll call it “OTP” for short

Nanofoams are composed largely of air, and thus the OTP adds almost no weight to the bones that it forms inside, but it is vital to their growth into the skeleton of a giant monster. The thing that makes OTP different from other carbon nanofoams is that it functions like a liquid rather than a solid or a gel. This liquid seeps into the microfractures that form naturally when bones are stressed, and when the fractures are stressed again, the bubbles of air inside it are pressurized, and collapse, releasing immense amounts of heat on a microscopic scale. The pressure and heat inside the fracture momentarily emulate the conditions beneath the tectonic plates of the Earth, where diamonds naturally form. Under those conditions, a certain percentage of the OTP’s carbon matrix crystallizes, forming microscopic diamonds inside the fracture. Since the reaction is so small, even the intense heat is dissipated almost immediately when the pressure is removed, cooling the newly formed diamonds and preventing them from deteriorating into graphite during their formation. After they are cooled, the diamonds can withstand nearly any stress placed on them, and the OTP that remains un-crystallized springs back to its original foamy shape, ready to be compressed again. This process repeats until the diamonds fill the fracture, forming an ultra-strong scar inside it, and dramatically increasing the strength of the bone by providing reinforcement in the form of the hardest substance on the planet.

Even in smaller animals, which aren’t heavy enough to compress the OTP into diamond, it can still provide reinforcement when it builds up in the bone’s scar tissues. Because of its structure, OTP exhibits non-newtonian fluid dynamics. As a liquid, OTP can flow to fill any shape of any size if it is allowed to flow gradually. If it is subjected to sudden pressure, however, its pneumatized structure becomes momentarily stiff and resistant to compression, like a solid. A similar effect can be observed in the material, “oobleck,” which can be made easily in your kitchen at home by mixing 1 parts water with 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch. Inside the scars, although not as strong as diamond by a long shot, OTP’s non-newtonian properties could cushion the bone’s high-stress points, and prevent them from collapsing as the creature grows. Eventually the creature would grow to to a “critical mass,” at which point the pressures experienced by their bones would become sufficient to synthesize diamond.

Of course, osteothermopolium is a fictional kind of phlebotinum that I invented to fill the last remaining gap in my bone theory, meaning that giant monsters with diamond-reinforced bones are still technically impossible. However, since we now have a clear idea of exactly what kind of thing we need in order to make them possible, they are now closer to being theoretically possible than ever. Previously I had needed to work with the assumption that kaiju needed to have body temperatures significantly higher than those of other animals in order to produce the diamond, which would have necessitated that they have some way to survive those high temperatures without cooking themselves, but since OTP produces intense heat in small quantities with pneumatic cavitation, which is dissipated as soon as the pressure is relieved, that problem is solved, and the kaiju can have an average body temperature closer to that of a normal animal. The properties that OTP has are based on the properties of various similar substances that do exist in real life. Nanofoams, non-newtonian fluids, and cavitation-induced bursts of heat are all real things, and taken at face value, osteothermopolium isn’t really all that exotic; it’s just a substance that doesn’t happen to exist, but there’s no reason that it couldn’t. Of course, I’m sure there are other problems with this theory, small things that turn into big issues when they’re compounded, but this is still just for fun and is meant as a thought exercise for just how a kaiju could really exist. Good science makes as few assumptions as possible, and as always, the biggest assumption that I’m making with this theory is that giant monsters even exist at all.

That said, if they did exist, this would be one very possible way that they could do it.))

Last edited by Gerdzerl on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Speculative Kaiju Science Thread

Postby Gerdzerl » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:26 am



Yes, I know this thread hasn't been updated in nearly a year now, but I didn't know where else to put this, so, eh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Last edited by Gerdzerl on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.


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