Godzilla leaves distinctive tracks across the landscape, from footprints to tunnels to utter destruction. When an ichnologist watches the iconic monster stomp around, they see a whole different movie.
Godzilla's footprints from 1998 still scar the land near Oahu in Hawaii. Image credit: Varg2000
In the 1998 Godzilla, our titular monster had feet closely resembling those of theropod dinosaurs with three forward-pointing toes, tipped with delicate razor-sharp claws. The footprints are 12 feet long, enough to comfortably hold pack of sleeping humans. Using the same relationship between foot size and hip-height as used with theropod dinosaurs, the 1998 Godzilla's hips should tower 48 feet above the ground.
In the recent release, one of the many changes is a revisioning of Godzilla's feet. Less of a theropod, this time the monster is more like a sauropod with four toes. This means that a ichnologist could identify the two movies just by the tracks left behind by Gozilla stomping around.
Footprints aren't the only tracks Godzilla left behind. Ichnologist Tony Martin has analyzed the entire lot of diverse traces on his blog, The Ichnology of Godzilla. Tomorrow we'll be looking at more ichnology and his book, Dinosaurs Without Bones. For more Godzilla science, we've looked before at scoring the movie based on not just plausibility, but also the imaginative application of science.