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Godzilla is real!

  • Key Stage 3
  • GCSE
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Information retrieval
Topic: Biodiversity

Science changes fast in this area! We are developing a new activity for this context, as part of upd8 Crucial. Find out more. The original activity is no longer available.

Scientists have found a huge fossilized skull in Argentina. The remains are from a huge 'sea monster' which scientists have nicknamed 'Godzilla'. How do the fossils give us clues to how the animal lived? Where did it come from and why did it disappear? Students look at evidence to work out answers to these questions.

11-14 Inheritance and selection; variation and classification
14-16 Evolution

Published: 14th November 2005
Reviews & Comments: 8

Learning objectives

Students will learn
how fossil evidence can explain how living things once lived
how an animal was adapted to a marine environment
how variation and adaptation can lead to evolutionary change and the arrival of new species

Try the activity

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QCA 7d Variation and Classification
Investigate patterns of variation in living things and ways of representing and explaining the occurrence of variations

QCA 8d Ecological Relationships
That different habitats support different living things

Unit 9A Inheritance and selection
Identify characteristics in an animal that are desirable in particular circumstances and outline how these characteristics might be passed on

Running the activity

Display page 1 through a projector or OHP. Ask groups of students to study the drawing and written information about the fossil finds. Get them to sketch the animal the skull belonged to and discuss the other questions on the page. Emphasise that there are no 'right answers' here – students are using the evidence to work out as much as they can.

Display page 2. This shows an artists impression, created using computer reconstructions, of the ancient crocodile species 'Godzilla'. Tell students that they will use the information on page 3 and the writing frame on page 4 to work out answers to the questions the people are asking on this page (groups will need hard copies of these pages). You might like to ask students to take on the roles of palaeontologists during their small group discussions.

As a plenary, ask students to compare 'Godzilla' to the modern crocodile – which do they consider to be more successful, and why?

News links

BBC newsround
Very simple news story from BBC 'Newsround.'
BBC news
More detail from the 'grown-up' BBC news site
National Geographic magazine
Very easy read about the fossil discovery, with good pictures – both photos and artists' impressions. Story will be a major article in December 2005 issue of NG.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?


Nov 6th, 2014

5 Star

I used for y8. They really enjoyed this style of teaching

Reviewer: fm mirza


Sep 18th, 2013

3 Star

Top set found this interesting but didn't really enjoy it

Reviewer: Charlene Gayle


Mar 24th, 2013

4 Star

It was a great resource to share with year 9 class. They liked it.

Reviewer: Swatantra Tripathi


Mar 16th, 2011

5 Star


Reviewer: Tom Egerton-Jones

Godzilla resource

Jul 12th, 2008

4 Star

The students really enjoyed the starter activity and came up with some imaginative bodies. The sheet of adaptations was concise and contained all useful info for main discussion. Take care when photocopying the adaptation sheet to ensure all print is readable.

Reviewer: Angie Sweeney

Godzilla is real! review

Jul 7th, 2008

4 Star

This task was used with a top Year 9 group and a middle Year 10 group, it provided a great introduction and main activity for these groups and really got their imaginations going, providing a basis for discussion on many levels, a thrilling activity

Reviewer: Tessa Lashley

Godzilla is real! review

Oct 16th, 2007

4 Star

The class really enjoyed this activity it opened up many of their ideas on evolution and switched on their creative and artistic ability.

Reviewer: anthony stennett


Nov 18th, 2005

4 Star

Pupils thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work! It gave them an insight into the rockets etc they were seeing in the sky!!
Some ,of course, wanted the real things!! Oh well we can't satisfy them all!!

Reviewer: carrie bonham