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Godzilla vs Kong: Morphologist Uses Science to Pick a 'Deserving' Winner Among the Monster Duo

A PhD student brought in idea of functional morphology to predict a winner between Godzilla and King Kong. (Warner Bros. Entertainment  via AP)

A PhD student brought in idea of functional morphology to predict a winner between Godzilla and King Kong. (Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

Even as Kiersten Formoso acknowledged that both Godzilla and the titular ape King Kong are way beyond the biological possibility of actually existing, a reimagination is an interesting concept.

The recent Monsterverse film Godzilla Vs Kong has been a huge crowd puller for the movie theatres amid a raging pandemic and things are seemingly looking up for theatre cash registers. As the gigantic monsters rain blows on each other as the trailer and reviews are to go by, a PhD student in Vertebrate Paleontology at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences recently tried to imagine an actual battle between the two movie monster, bringing into the fold the understanding of functional morphology, which involves the study of relations between the structure of an organism and the function of their various parts. Kiersten Formoso, who originally wrote the very interesting piece of a reimagined face off between the duo on The Conversation, pegged it as a fight between “a giant reptile and a giant primate, and there are relative biological advantages and disadvantages that each would have.”

Starting off, Formoso acknowledged that even though both Godzilla and the titular ape King Kong are way beyond the biological possibility of actually existing due to the gigantic sheer size and laws of physics, a reimagination is an interesting concept.

About King Kong, as Formoso observes, that due to his upright, bipedal stance and thick legs and grasp of his arms, he will be able to use tools and his similarity with humans will make it easier for him to avail some biomechanical abilities. Also, Kong’s ability to rotate his torso, like humans makes him a good thrower and thus he can wield weapons too.

Formoso also observes that his gorilla-like attributes of long muscular arms, a short snout with large rows of sharp teeth and in general his agility will make him a great contender for the top slot of monster king.

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But coming to Godzilla, the gigantic semiaquatic reptile has been shown an equally dangerous force who is comfortable on both land and water. The monster also has gills as shown in the movies. A very powerful weapon that Formoso points out for the giant reptile is his tail, which the monster keeps low while standing on the ground. Formoso observes that the erect position help the giant monster in getting stability but also provide impetus to its tail and its usage as a weapon. The reptile also has multiple rows of spikes on its back, mouth full of tough teeth and hands that can grasp anything.

Looking at a it while pitting both against each other, Formoso says that although both are pretty much similar sizes(Kong might be a little smaller), their fighting abilities are more which might decide a winner.

As for Godzilla, the giant reptile would likely use its huge tail to attack, pretty much like a lizard. But as for Kong, his agility and comfort level on land, including his strong arms can be quite the threat for his giant adversary. But Godzilla’s bite is deadly, almost like a crocodile and monitor lizard teeth. Also, the spikes on its back can be used to block and injure a threat.

Although both the monsters have a huge fan following, the battle would be very close, something cinema-goers can vouch for. And while Formoso says a battle on land might give Kong a slight edge, but the giant reptile’s strengths of his tail, spike and the huge impact of its body is something very tough for the primate to overcome. Also, the monster has atomic breath, which is a blast of extremely hot nuclear energy. But to use this for this reimagination, Formoso says until some evidence of a dinosaur or any animal with similar trait can be found, this particular trait cannot be counted as a ability for the giant reptile.

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