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-   -   How big are Komodo Dragons? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=820902)

Rick Sanchez 03-06-2017 09:26 AM

How big are Komodo Dragons?
 
Today's Google doodle is an interactive quiz about Komodo Dragons. The first question is: "True or False: Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards on the planet." I figured it was the anaconda so I clicked false, but apparently that was incorrect.

Now, far be it from me to argue with Google, but I compared stats and:

Code:


            Komodo Dragon              Anaconda

Max size:      3m                      8.8m
Weight:      150lbs                    550lbs

It seems clear to me that Anaconda > Komodo Dragon. So why does Google insist on the opposite?

Teuton 03-06-2017 09:28 AM

Snakes aren't lizards.

EDIT: The largest *reptiles* are saltwater crocodiles. Even among snakes, there seems to be a bit of controversy, with Burmese Pythons also being huge.

Mangetout 03-06-2017 09:48 AM

[Alan Davies] The Blue Whale! [/Alan Davies]

Fotheringay-Phipps 03-06-2017 10:00 AM

Besides for what Teuton said, your numbers for anacondas are also way off. Per Wiki
Quote:

The green anaconda is the world's heaviest and one of the world's longest snakes, reaching 5.21 m (17.1 ft) long.[2] More typical mature specimens reportedly can range up to 5 m (16.4 ft), with the females, at around a mean length of 4.6 m (15.1 ft), being generally much larger in adulthood than the male, which averages around 3 m (9.8 ft).[3][4][5] Weights are less well studied, though will reportedly range from 30 to 70 kg (66 to 154 lb) in an average-range adult.

Really Not All That Bright 03-06-2017 10:10 AM

Lizards are all reptiles with overlapping scales (Lepidosauria) other than snakes and turtles. So snakes aren't lizards because lizards are defined as not being snakes. So the anaconda isn't a lizard.

Tom Tildrum 03-06-2017 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps (Post 20046500)
Besides for what Teuton said, your numbers for anacondas are also way off. Per Wiki

Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.

Telemark 03-06-2017 10:27 AM

Then there's my work on behalf of the International Komodo Dragon Foundation. To protect the Komodo dragon, the world's largest living lizard, a ferocious carnivore, found on the steep-sloped island of Komodo in the lesser Sunda chain of the Indonesian Archipelago and the nearby islands of Rinja, Padar, and Flores.

E-DUB 03-06-2017 10:51 AM

Where can these creatures be found?

Lemur866 03-06-2017 11:07 AM

Bats aren't bugs.

Darren Garrison 03-06-2017 11:16 AM

Wait, they aren't commode dragons?

This will seriously change my bathroom habits.

blondebear 03-06-2017 11:19 AM

I got a chuckle one day at the San Diego Zoo's dragon enclosure when a woman exclaimed to her child, "Look, it's a giant monitoring lizard!"

John Mace 03-06-2017 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E-DUB (Post 20046636)
Where can these creatures be found?

The island of Komodo (part of Indonesia).

Telemark 03-06-2017 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 20046668)
Bats aren't bugs.

Look, who's giving this report?

ticker 03-06-2017 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E-DUB (Post 20046636)
Where can these creatures be found?

They find you.

Riemann 03-06-2017 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ticker (Post 20046744)
They find you.

So, Russia?

engineer_comp_geek 03-06-2017 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mace (Post 20046726)
The island of Komodo (part of Indonesia).

Also, on the Indonesian islands of Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar.

Colibri 03-06-2017 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teuton (Post 20046440)
Snakes aren't lizards.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 20046532)
Lizards are all reptiles with overlapping scales (Lepidosauria) other than snakes and turtles.

Close, but not exactly true. Rhynchocephalians (represented today only by tuataras) are also lepidosaurs but not lizards, while turtles are not lepidosaurs.

While it's legitimate to distinguish between lizards and snakes in a popular sense, it should also be pointed out that from a cladistic point of view snakes are just one kind of lizard. Snakes are more closely related to some kinds of lizards than those lizards are related to other lizards, making "lizard" a polyphyletic group in the taxonomic sense.

Lemur866 03-06-2017 01:23 PM

Now tell them about the legless lizards. That aren't snakes.

Tamerlane 03-06-2017 01:28 PM

Colibri + Fotheringay-Phipps give the correct answer I believe. Rick Sanchez you can get a technical pass on the lizard/snake thing as Colibri noted ( depending on which systematist you query ), but google was lying to you. There probably has never been an anaconda that reached 550 lbs - that is just a fantasy estimate for a fantasy length that has never been verified and probably never will be.

The heaviest ever verified Komodo dragon weighed 366 lbs ( including a full stomach, which probably added a lot ), which beats the largest verified anaconda at 215 lbs.

Darren Garrison 03-06-2017 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 20046971)
Now tell them about the legless lizards. That aren't snakes.

Also the legless amphibians that aren't snakes.

Colibri 03-06-2017 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 20046971)
Now tell them about the legless lizards. That aren't snakes.

This is kind of like the monkeys and apes thing where pedants used to be able to "correct" people who referred to apes as monkeys. As it turns out, cladistically speaking apes are just one kind of monkey (being more closely related to Old World Monkey than the latter are to New World Monkeys). If snakes are just legless lizards, there isn't too much justification for insisting that other kinds of legless lizards aren't snakes.

DrDeth 03-06-2017 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamerlane (Post 20046983)
Colibri + Fotheringay-Phipps give the correct answer I believe. Rick Sanchez you can get a technical pass on the lizard/snake thing as Colibri noted ( depending on which systematist you query ), but google was lying to you. There probably has never been an anaconda that reached 550 lbs - that is just a fantasy estimate for a fantasy length that has never been verified and probably never will be.

The heaviest ever verified Komodo dragon weighed 366 lbs ( including a full stomach, which probably added a lot ), which beats the largest verified anaconda at 215 lbs.


http://www.extremescience.com/biggest-snake.htm


The dimensions that have earned the anaconda the title of king is its total body mass or its weight (the sheer physical bulk of it). The largest anaconda ever measured was almost 28 feet long with a girth of 44 inches. She wasn't weighed at the time she was caught, but scientists estimate that she must have weighed over 500 lbs.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ht-in-malaysia

“It is eight metres in length and weighs about 250kg,” he said by phone.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.e48e6b6e87eb

Not 100% verified, yes, but hardly tall tales. So a 500# anaconda is possible.

Lemur866 03-06-2017 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 20046992)
This is kind of like the monkeys and apes thing where pedants used to be able to "correct" people who referred to apes as monkeys. As it turns out, cladistically speaking apes are just one kind of monkey (being more closely related to Old World Monkey than the latter are to New World Monkeys). If snakes are just legless lizards, there isn't too much justification for insisting that other kinds of legless lizards aren't snakes.

But isn't it the case that classic snakes form a real clade (within "lizards"), but the various random legless lizards that aren't snakes are not members of that clade?

So snake doesn't just have to mean "a lizard without legs". Just like "ape" doesn't have to mean "a monkey with no tail".

Agreed that apes are a kind of monkey.

Also, it turns out that whales are artiodactyls! Birds are reptiles! Turkeys are from North America! Common names for animals were not assigned systematically! It's a disaster!

E-DUB 03-06-2017 03:18 PM

I remember a number of years back that actress Sharon Stone and her (then) husband were touring a zoo somewhere and he was attacked, somehow by a Komodo Dragon. I read about it in the paper and the headline was "Giant Lizard Attacks Husband of Sharon Stone". I'm ashamed to say I laughed , finding this one of the funniest headlines I'd seen in sometime.

SantaMan 03-06-2017 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum (Post 20046570)
Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.

Are we the only ones who have heard of Bob and Ray? (along with EDUB)

Darren Garrison 03-06-2017 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum (Post 20046570)
Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.

I hear that anacondas can be poorly cooperative unless you offer them buns.

Colibri 03-06-2017 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 20047226)
But isn't it the case that classic snakes form a real clade (within "lizards"), but the various random legless lizards that aren't snakes are not members of that clade?

True. But "lizards" don't form a clade, and the name does not have taxonomic significance.

Quote:

So snake doesn't just have to mean "a lizard without legs".
But it originally did. Glass snake is the traditional name for glass lizards. It was changed to reflect what was thought to be their taxonomy. But since "lizard" has no taxonomic meaning, the change was not justified on those grounds.

Quote:

Just like "ape" doesn't have to mean "a monkey with no tail".

....

Also, it turns out that whales are artiodactyls! Birds are reptiles! Turkeys are from North America! Common names for animals were not assigned systematically! It's a disaster!
That's my point. "Snake" and "lizard" and "reptile" and "ape" are common names with no taxonomic significance, so it's not necessary to change them to reflect taxonomy.

Tamerlane 03-06-2017 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 20047183)
http://www.extremescience.com/biggest-snake.htm
Not 100% verified, yes, but hardly tall tales. So a 500# anaconda is possible.

Possible, yes. If you're comfortable with that, I think that's fine. But myself, I'll stick with what is reasonably verified. It's repeatedly been shown that people are tremendously inaccurate at measuring these critters ( which is actually harder to do than you might think - they don't stretch out nicely for folks while alive, are hard to weigh and skins of dead ones aren't very useful because they do stetch ). There are a lot of potential contenders circulating on the internet - so for example you can find plenty of recent stories about the 18' Burmese python named Delilah in Georgia that purportedly weighs 400 lbs. But I'm kinda dubious on the accuracy of that report given that a recent 17'7" Burmese python killed in Florida weighed all of 164.5 lbs.

I don't discount that some new heavyweight champion may be out there in the wild and I'd be thrilled to see one ( hopefully not eating Jon Voight ). But I'm waiting for real conclusive proof.

Tom Tildrum 03-06-2017 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 20046992)
This is kind of like the monkeys and apes thing where pedants used to be able to "correct" people who referred to apes as monkeys. As it turns out, cladistically speaking apes are just one kind of monkey (being more closely related to Old World Monkey than the latter are to New World Monkeys).

This explains Curious George.

bob++ 03-06-2017 05:37 PM

I am so glad I read this thread. It was all so confusing before.

Malleus, Incus, Stapes! 03-06-2017 06:25 PM

Their relatives were even bigger.

River Hippie 03-06-2017 07:03 PM

Komodo Dragon in close proximity to an adult human
There are some images on Google that make the dragon seem much larger but they are probably "forced perspective" photography.

seal_cleaner 03-06-2017 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SantaMan (Post 20047336)
Are we the only ones who have heard of Bob and Ray? (along with EDUB)

That's one of my favorite routines,

purplehorseshoe 03-06-2017 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by River Hippie (Post 20047812)
Komodo Dragon in close proximity to an adult human
There are some images on Google that make the dragon seem much larger but they are probably "forced perspective" photography.

There's "close proximity" and then there's "scratching under the chin, coochiecoooo!" :eek:

That guy got a death wish or something?

Suburban Plankton 03-06-2017 09:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mangetout (Post 20046471)
[Alan Davies] The Blue Whale! [/Alan Davies]

I'm sorry, that's negative 20 points.

chorpler 03-07-2017 05:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20047382)
I hear that anacondas can be poorly cooperative unless you offer them buns.

This made me laugh so hard that my wife woke up in a panic thinking someone was attacking us.

Really Not All That Bright 03-07-2017 09:33 AM

Related question: why are large lizards so common in South and Southeast Asia and Australia? The largest lizards (Komodo dragon, water monitor, crocodile monitor and perentie) are all limited to those areas.

Riemann 03-07-2017 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 20048813)
Related question: why are large lizards so common in South and Southeast Asia and Australia? The largest lizards (Komodo dragon, water monitor, crocodile monitor and perentie) are all limited to those areas.

There are large iguanas in the Americas.

In Africa, I don't know. Perhaps large land-based reptiles would be too easy a target for the many large predators?

Machine Elf 03-07-2017 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe (Post 20048009)
There's "close proximity" and then there's "scratching under the chin, coochiecoooo!" :eek:

That guy got a death wish or something?

He might get a painful bite, but someone's taking the picture, so he's clearly not alone and would have immediate assistance if the dragon attacked.

It's more fun if you appeal to their sense of hunger by dragging meat behind you. :D

Colibri 03-07-2017 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 20048813)
Related question: why are large lizards so common in South and Southeast Asia and Australia? The largest lizards (Komodo dragon, water monitor, crocodile monitor and perentie) are all limited to those areas.

Most of those are limited to islands or to Australia, where they have limited competition with carnivorous mammals. Also, monitors have a specialized anatomy including an effectively four-chambered heart that gives them greater aerobic capacity and allows them to be more active than other lizards. Monitors are more "mammalian" than other reptiles.

Pleonast 03-07-2017 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 20049112)
Also, monitors have a specialized anatomy including an effectively four-chambered heart that gives them greater aerobic capacity and allows them to be more active than other lizards. Monitors are more "mammalian" than other reptiles.

Interesting! That makes mosasaurs (basically monitor lizards adapted to live exclusively in the ocean) make more sense.

Corner Case 03-07-2017 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum (Post 20046570)
Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.

Careful! This isn't that kind of forum.

Tom Tildrum 03-07-2017 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Machine Elf (Post 20048988)
He might get a painful bite, but someone's taking the picture, so he's clearly not alone and would have immediate assistance if the dragon attacked.

What if it used its fire breath?

CairoCarol 03-07-2017 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by River Hippie (Post 20047812)
Komodo Dragon in close proximity to an adult human
There are some images on Google that make the dragon seem much larger but they are probably "forced perspective" photography.

I dunno, it looks like a particularly large dragon, but not unrealistically so. I've seen lots of monitor lizards on Java, and Komodo dragons on Rinci. To me, the photo looks reasonable.

As to the behavior of the guy, what he's doing is probably unwise, but if the dragon is sated after a big meal, it is probably pretty logy. And if this guy is one of the handlers/tour guides who work on Rinci and Komodo, he's probably very familiar with their behavior.

On Rinci (and probably Komodo too, but I don't know because we didn't go there), you can hike all around the island with a guide, and see lots of dragons pretty close up along the way. The guides carry big forked sticks just in case, but nothing untoward happened while we were there and I suspect that's the norm.

Trancephalic 03-07-2017 04:58 PM

Yeah, but there're other differences between glass lizards and true snake, like the latter having a longer body and shorter tail in comparison to the former (the cloaca in GL is found nearer to the center; in snakes, it's nearer to the "end"). And, y'know, the having eyelids thing.

Hector_St_Clare 03-07-2017 05:05 PM

Giant monitors might have coexisted on Flores Island with miniature humans, although I guess the whole Homo floresiensis hypothesis is still controversial.

Kobal2 03-07-2017 05:33 PM

They're about yea big, but only this tall.

DtypeJag 03-07-2017 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamerlane (Post 20046983)
Colibri + Fotheringay-Phipps give the correct answer I believe. Rick Sanchez you can get a technical pass on the lizard/snake thing as Colibri noted ( depending on which systematist you query ), but google was lying to you. There probably has never been an anaconda that reached 550 lbs - that is just a fantasy estimate for a fantasy length that has never been verified and probably never will be.

The heaviest ever verified Komodo dragon weighed 366 lbs ( including a full stomach, which probably added a lot ), which beats the largest verified anaconda at 215 lbs.

If we are talking about the world's largest living reptile I've heard that Leatherback sea turtles can be up to 1000lbs? But probably one of the Crockagators would be larger.

Quartz 03-07-2017 06:10 PM

I was on Komodo last year and saw a number of the dragons. They were mostly sheltering from the sun. Their colouring works surprisingly well as camouflage.

FoieGrasIsEvil 03-07-2017 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 20046992)
This is kind of like the monkeys and apes thing where pedants used to be able to "correct" people who referred to apes as monkeys. As it turns out, cladistically speaking apes are just one kind of monkey (being more closely related to Old World Monkey than the latter are to New World Monkeys). If snakes are just legless lizards, there isn't too much justification for insisting that other kinds of legless lizards aren't snakes.

All Champagnes are sparkling wines, not all sparkling wines are Champagne.


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