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A new study dispels the widely accepted theory that the Komodo dragon kills by infecting its prey with toxic bacteria.
Instead, the world's largest lizard delivers a powerful bite with its serrated teeth and uses a powerful venom to bring down its victims.
Komodo dragons are native to the islands of Indonesia. They can weigh more than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length.
But their bites are not as strong as that of a crocodile, for example. And they cannot hold down their prey. So, researchers wondered, what lay behind the dragons' hunting success
Originally posted by iamcamouflage
This is so strange that it took this long to figure out that they had venom. I have heard the bacteria thing for as long as I can remember.
Research by an Aussie lizard lover has uncovered venomous evidence that is going to rewrite the history of reptile evolution.
The new discovery has found that goannas and iguanas are venomous, and share a common venomous ancestor with snakes.
As deputy director of the Australian Venom Research Unit, Bryan's childhood dream of playing with venomous animals for a living has come true
Based at the Australian Venom Research Unit, Dr Bryan Fry led a team of 14 researchers spread over six countries. Their findings describe the existence of oral venom glands in goannas and iguanas. The discovery already has herpetologists reaching for their reptile family trees - because it proves that venom systems in snakes and lizards evolved before, not after, the two species started their shuffle down different evolutionary paths.
Bryan is no stranger to toppling established theories, with earlier work showing that venom systems were a shared trait of all advanced snakes, not just ones with their pearly whites up front.
From their names, you can imagine that the Gila monster and Mexican bearded lizard are two fellows you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. Until now, these species had the exclusive position of being the only lizards known to have venom systems. Because their venom glands had a different structure than those of their snakey counterparts, everyone assumed that the venom systems had evolved independently.
If you have ever been confronted by a human with breath bad enough to knock you out, spare a thought for monitor lizards like the Komodo Dragon. Everyone thought that it was toxic bacteria in their mouth that gave them the ability to kill prey.
Monitor lizards - commonly kept as pets - and iguanas produce venom, according to surprising new research that is rewriting the story of lizard and snake evolution.
Until now, nasty swellings and excessive bleeding as a result of a lizard bite were blamed on infection from the bacteria in the creatures' mouths. Venom had been considered the preserve of advanced snakes and just two species of lizard - the gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. And scientists had thought these lizards evolved venom production independent of snakes.
But research Bryan Fry's team at the University of Melbourne, Australia, now suggests that venomous lizards are much more widespread than anyone realised. Furthermore venomous lizards and snakes are in fact descended from a common ancestor that lived about 200 million years ago.
Originally posted by ravenshadow13
reply to post by iamcamouflage
Funny, I always was told by zoology and biology teachers that they used venom, similar to the way that snakes do.
I had only heard the bacteria theory maybe once.
Originally posted by earlywatcher
how exactly is this conspiracy oriented? it sounds like science. I thought breaking alternative news was supposed to have a conspiracy component. just asking.
Originally posted by EnlightenUp
reply to post by MCoG1980
Bugger. You posted while I was preparing my post! Well, it has an earlier mention anyway, by four months.
[edit on 5/20/2009 by EnlightenUp]
Originally posted by mostlyspoons
This is probably a good example of "group think"
SO one scientist says "komodos kill prey with bacteria" and no one saw a need to question that finding until now? Science is pretty flawed sometimes...