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Godzilla, not to be confused with Gojirasaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Gojirasaurus (Japanese/Greek for "Godzilla lizard"); pronounced go-GEE-rah-SORE-us


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Triassic (225-205 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 18 feet long and 500 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Bipedal stance; slender build


About Gojirasaurus:

Here's a quick Japanese lesson: the enormous monster we know as Godzilla bears the Japanese name Gojira, which is itself a combination of the Japanese words for whale ("kujira") and gorilla ("gorira"). As you can guess, the paleontologist who named Gojirasaurus (the bones of which were dug up in North America) grew up as a die-hard fan of the Godzilla movies.

Despite its name, Gojirasaurus was far from the biggest dinosaur that ever lived, though it did attain a respectable size for its time--in fact, at 500 pounds, it may have been one of the biggest theropods of the Triassic period. So far, paleontologists have only found the fossil of a single juvenile, so it's possible that adults of this genus may have been even bigger (though nowhere near as massive as later carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex, much less Godzilla himself).


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