by Staff Writers
Brisbane, Australia (UPI) Oct 1, 2009
Australian, Malaysian and Indonesian scientists say they've determined the world's largest living lizard species, the Komodo Dragon, is an Australian native.
The research by paleontologists and archaeologists who studied fossil evidence from Australia, Timor, Flores, Java and India, shows Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis) most likely evolved in Australia and dispersed westward to Indonesia.
"The fossil record shows that over the last four million years Australia has been home to the world's largest lizards, including a five-meter giant called Megalania (Varanus prisca)," Scott Hocknull of the Queensland Museum said. "Now we can say Australia was also the birthplace of the three-meter Komodo dragon, dispelling the long-held scientific hypothesis that it evolved from a smaller ancestor in isolation on the Indonesian islands.
"Over the past three years, we've unearthed numerous fossils from eastern Australia dated from 300,000 years ago to approximately four million years ago that we now know to be the Komodo dragon. When we compared these fossils to the bones of present-day Komodo dragons, they were identical," he added.
The study is reported in the online journal PLoS One.
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|