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GODZILLA



     
      Kenneth Carpenter has let me take a peek at a paper he has written
for a compendium on _Godzilla_ due out shortly before the movie, and given
me permission to talk a little bit about it on the list.   I have thrown
in some thoughts and ideas of my own in on the end...

     Ken's paper includes discussion of _Godzilla_'s relationship to other
theropods.  The four fingered hand is a primitve feature lost in
tetanurans, as are the teeth extending ventral to the eye socket.  He
cites the dermal armour as evidence of a relationship with _Ceratosaurus_,
and also notes the apparantly deep premaxilla and very large
temporal fenestra as evidence of abeliosaur affinity.  He considers
_Godzilla_ to be a Jurassic basal ceratosaur.          
      Ken also makes a mass estimate for _Godzilla_ of about 9,800 tonnes,
and a conservative height estimate of 100 feet rather the the oft-repeated
400 feet, based on footage of Godzilla next to high voltage transmission
towers.  He chalks up the larger estimations to stress-induced
exaggeration by witnesses.
     The paper further includes speculations on the source of _Godzilla_'s
fire-breathing abilities, thourougly nifty skull and skeletal
reconstructions, and the probable mechanism for Dr. Serizawa's "oxygen
destroyer".      
      Ken speculates that _Godzilla_'s upright tailing dragging posture is
due to radiation induced mutations.  I have thought of another
possibility; it may be that _Godzilla_'s upright posture, and plantigrade
feet, are actually adaptations to its extreme mass.  Pillar-like 
liegs and plantigrade feet are found in large, relatively slow moving
animals like elephants and sauropods.  Moreover, the upright posture might
be a way of taking a lot of stress off the posterior dorsal vertebrae,
rather then having those vertebrae have to suppormost of that presacral
mass that was hanging off into space, as in most theropods.  Standing more
upright might reduce this stress, similar to humans putting balancing our
big fat heads on a vertical vertebral column.     
     Anyway, the paper is a lot of fun and the reconstrcutions are cool.
I'd love to say more, but you are just going to have to wait! HA HA HA HA
HA HA !!   
  
LN Jeff
"POOCHIE'S DEAD!"