The Great Bowser Debate: Is he a dragon or a turtle?



  • Bowser is known as the King of the Koopas, koopas being the turtle-like species of the Mushroom kingdom. However, it is clear that despite having a shell that Bowser can pull his head and arms into, he is not that of a turtle. He has hair, a muzzle instead of a beak, and can breathe fire. On top of this, he is also a lot bigger than any other creature in the Mushroom kingdom which suggests that he is leaning towards that of a Dragon species. His title "King of the Koopas" can simply be that of a title and not a moniker towards his race. He is the ruler, the usurper, the alpha male of the Koopa species thus the title was given onto him

    However, as mentioned, he does have a lot of turtle characteristics. He's a reptile, has a shelled body, and can retract himself into his shell whenever he so desires. Returning to the previous argument of being the "King of Koopas"; Bowser could, in fact, be an Alpha Male Koopa, a species of Koopa that has evolved past the usual turtle look. Being the fact that Bowser prefers living in a hot environment over a water environment, it only makes sense that he is a different breed of Koopa. Like you have Sea Turtles and you have Box Turtles. They are both turtles and yet have very different characteristics that set them apart from one another.

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    We know other Koopas exist. The Fire Brothers and Boomerang Brothers seem to be Koopas that have evolved to stand upright and wear armor. This means that a "Dragon Koopa" like Bowser could possibly exist in that hellish World 8. Thus the King of Koopas can actually be geared towards Bowser's actual species. The Alpha Koopas which involve him, the Koopalings, and Bowser Jr, are a rarer but more powerful and a lot more intelligent breed which allows them to easily rise to power and control all the others.

    So let me ask everyone here; what do you think makes more sense? Bowser being descended of Dragons, or Bowser being an Evolved Turtle-Koopa?



  • He's a dragon turtle. He's a Koopa, a fictional species that is very turtle like.



  • He seems more like a Snapping Turtle to me then a dragon. Dragons normally have wings as well as four legs and don't have shells, at least not traditionally.



  • Mario has deepest lore.

    Actually Kirby has deepest lore, but Mario is close.



  • I think Bowser Jr. has pretty serious implications for Bowser's species. He's clearly a young Bowser, which would imply that at no point in his life was Bowser anything like the Koopa Troopas. And Bowser being King Koopa means that Bowser Jr. is likely Prince Koopa, so the dynasty that rules over the Koopas is separate from the Koopas themselves.

    Therefore, Bowser is not a Koopa. He may not be a dragon, but he is not a Koopa. (and also not a turtle)



  • I always got more of a dinosaur vibe from him honestly, and I know Yoshi is often referred to as a dino as well leading me to believe that dinosaurs aren't uncommon in the Mushroom Kingdom. Come to think of it, aren't there dino enemies in Super Mario World?



  • @inflorescence Could be a different genera in the same family of "Koopa," though. It'd be impossible to say for sure without further genetic testing. My best guess is that they're at least within the same Order, but they're definitely different species than your standard "troopa." I stand by all who say Bowser is a Koopa, which is a distinct lineage from Turtle and Dragon!



  • @inflorescence said:

    I think Bowser Jr. has pretty serious implications for Bowser's species. He's clearly a young Bowser, which would imply that at no point in his life was Bowser anything like the Koopa Troopas.

    Don't forget we've seen "Baby Bowser" in Yoshi's Island. We know exactly what Bowser looked like when he was young. As for saying that makes him a different species than Koopas, not exactly. There's all kinds of ways you could explain it, from him being a more specific kind of Koopa, as we already know there's many kinds of them anyways, to Bowser being of a special bloodline or infused with Kamek's powerful magic. We know from Yoshi's Island that Kamek was with him from a young age, possibly pulling the strings. And before anyone said that is just a spinoff, no it is indeed canon. Hell, the game's full title is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.

    @SabotageTheTruth Yeah, Yoshis are classified as dinos and Super Mario World's Chocolate whatever is the area that also has other dinosaur looking enemies.

    @El-Shmiablo I actually don't think the Mario lore is really that deep, because Miyamoto intentionally tries not to grow it whenever he can now. Zelda, Metroid, Animal Crossing, F-Zero, Splatoon, Pikmin, Golden Sun, etc. and so on all have deeper lore than Mario easily. Hell, if you count it separately, then even Mario KART probably has deeper lore than mainline Mario. Kirby definitely undoubtedly takes the cake though, considering they seed things between games that don't payoff until like a decade later.



  • King Koopa is far more of a Koopa King than Princess Peach is a Toadstool Princess. But the most recent common ancestor of the original cast of Super Mario Kart is the Cheep Cheep. There is an evolutionary split here between Goombas and Koopas. Bowser and Yoshi descend from Koopas. Donkey Kong descends from Goombas, while Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad all descend from Apes.



  • Donkey Kong doesn't descend from apes?



  • @inflorescence Donkey Kong is a great ape, and is closer to the ancestral species than the others are



  • Neither. He's a Koopa.