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Old 03-06-2017, 09:26 AM
Rick Sanchez Rick Sanchez is offline
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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?
  #2  
Old 03-06-2017, 09:28 AM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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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.

Last edited by Teuton; 03-06-2017 at 09:31 AM.
  #3  
Old 03-06-2017, 09:48 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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[Alan Davies] The Blue Whale! [/Alan Davies]
  #4  
Old 03-06-2017, 09:15 PM
Suburban Plankton Suburban Plankton is offline
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[Alan Davies] The Blue Whale! [/Alan Davies]
I'm sorry, that's negative 20 points.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:00 AM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is online now
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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.
  #6  
Old 03-06-2017, 10:25 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
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.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:34 PM
SantaMan SantaMan is offline
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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)
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:23 PM
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Are we the only ones who have heard of Bob and Ray? (along with EDUB)
That's one of my favorite routines,
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:49 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.
I hear that anacondas can be poorly cooperative unless you offer them buns.
  #10  
Old 03-07-2017, 05:19 AM
chorpler chorpler is offline
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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.
  #11  
Old 03-07-2017, 01:57 PM
Corner Case Corner Case is offline
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Maybe the OP would post some pictures of his anaconda.
Careful! This isn't that kind of forum.
  #12  
Old 03-06-2017, 10:10 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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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.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:27 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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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.
  #14  
Old 03-06-2017, 10:51 AM
E-DUB E-DUB is offline
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Where can these creatures be found?
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:07 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Bats aren't bugs.
  #16  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:39 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Bats aren't bugs.
Look, who's giving this report?
  #17  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:34 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Where can these creatures be found?
The island of Komodo (part of Indonesia).
  #18  
Old 03-06-2017, 12:17 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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The island of Komodo (part of Indonesia).
Also, on the Indonesian islands of Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar.
  #19  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:40 AM
ticker ticker is online now
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Where can these creatures be found?
They find you.
  #20  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:45 AM
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They find you.
So, Russia?
  #21  
Old 03-16-2017, 09:27 AM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
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.
Are they of the lizard family?
  #22  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:38 AM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
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.
Where are they from?
  #23  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:16 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Wait, they aren't commode dragons?

This will seriously change my bathroom habits.
  #24  
Old 03-14-2017, 05:06 PM
MacLir MacLir is offline
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Wait, they aren't commode dragons?

This will seriously change my bathroom habits.
A while back, Old Spice put out a series of deodorants named after exotic islands. Komodo was one of them. The commercial had their "manly black guy" spokesman riding two Komodo dragons like a trick rider.

It disappeared from the lineup before the rest, in spite of having what I thought was the best scent. I figure the reason was "Who names a deodorant after a place that sounds like 'commode'?"

Actually, my first thought was that some Marketing "genius" needed to remove their dorsal organ cluster from their aboral orifice and think for a change.
  #25  
Old 03-15-2017, 09:52 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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I've been talking about the popular use of the term, not the scientific one.
My point was that there are characteristics that set Serpentes apart from other "legless lizards". But you are correct that those characteristics are not as obvious as major structural changes like no legs.

I think I need to backtrack on this one. Science seems to be full of situations where they take a common word and apply it in a scientific manner as part of a system, and then the definition of the word has to adjust to fit the scientific application as the system gets modified to fit new information.

For example, the highly controversial discussion about how to define "planet". Or the excitement we all feel when we try to decide if birds are dinosaurs. Or do we categorize sharks and dolphins and whales as "fish".

I suppose in the same vein, we can differentiate between the scientific category of "serpents" and the common use of the word "snake".
  #26  
Old 03-15-2017, 10:07 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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I think I need to backtrack on this one. Science seems to be full of situations where they take a common word and apply it in a scientific manner as part of a system, and then the definition of the word has to adjust to fit the scientific application as the system gets modified to fit new information.
That's exactly the kind of thing I'm objecting to (and I'm a scientist). It's OK to have a popular definition of a word, and a more restrictive scientific one, but that doesn't make the original popular definition wrong. There's no reason to change the popular definition of a word just because scientists use it in a different way.

Quote:
I suppose in the same vein, we can differentiate between the scientific category of "serpents" and the common use of the word "snake".
But there's no reason to restrict the perfectly good English word serpents that way. Scientists can always just say they are talking about Serpentes when they want to talk abou that clade. Non-scientists can call any legless Squamata a snake, regardless of what clade it's in.

The terms "frog" and "toad" have no scientific meaning, nor do "turtles" and "tortoises" represent clades. They refer to appearance and way of life, not taxonomy. There's no reason snake and lizard shouldn't be used the same way.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-15-2017 at 10:09 PM.
  #27  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:19 AM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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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!"
  #28  
Old 03-06-2017, 01:28 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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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.
  #29  
Old 03-06-2017, 02:47 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
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.
  #30  
Old 03-06-2017, 04:43 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
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.
  #31  
Old 03-07-2017, 05:51 PM
DtypeJag DtypeJag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
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.

Last edited by DtypeJag; 03-07-2017 at 05:52 PM.
  #32  
Old 03-08-2017, 11:18 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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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.
Saltwater crocodiles regularly exceed 2,000 lbs., and there are fairly convincing estimates of 4,000 lb. salties based on skull measurements.
  #33  
Old 03-10-2017, 05:48 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
If snakes are just legless lizards, there isn't too much justification for insisting that other kinds of legless lizards aren't snakes.
Except that all snakes are of the suborder Serpentes, and have characteristics besides being legless reptiles that are different than the other types of legless lizards, which fit into other suborders of Squamata. I suppose we could call them "serpents", as distinct from "snakes", and let any legless lizard be a snake.

Currently, lizards is a polyphyletic group but snakes is not.
  #34  
Old 03-11-2017, 11:05 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Except that all snakes are of the suborder Serpentes, and have characteristics besides being legless reptiles that are different than the other types of legless lizards, which fit into other suborders of Squamata. I suppose we could call them "serpents", as distinct from "snakes", and let any legless lizard be a snake.
I've been talking about the popular use of the term, not the scientific one. This would be just more linguistic hair-splitting on the basis of cladistics of the type I've been criticizing. If you're discussing herpetology, fine, you can talk about Serpentes along with other clades of Squamata. The fact that Serpentes is a clade within Squamata doesn't require one not to call other legless lizards snakes.

Quote:
Currently, lizards is a polyphyletic group but snakes is not.
Right, but if you recognize snakes linguistically there would be justification to also recognize around 10 separate clades of lizards that would be of equivalent taxonomic rank.
  #35  
Old 03-06-2017, 05:37 PM
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I am so glad I read this thread. It was all so confusing before.
  #36  
Old 03-06-2017, 06:25 PM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is offline
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Their relatives were even bigger.
  #37  
Old 03-06-2017, 07:03 PM
River Hippie River Hippie is offline
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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.
  #38  
Old 03-06-2017, 09:04 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Originally Posted by River Hippie View Post
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!"

That guy got a death wish or something?
  #39  
Old 03-07-2017, 10:39 AM
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There's "close proximity" and then there's "scratching under the chin, coochiecoooo!"

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.
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Old 03-07-2017, 04:36 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River Hippie View Post
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.
  #41  
Old 03-17-2017, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
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.
When I was there last year, the guides met the boat (all armed with forked sticks), walked us to the guide station/shop to pay the park permit fees, past about 6 big dragons lounging round outside. We then walked round a trail, saw a couple of baby dragons, then back to the shop, at which point all the guides buggered off, right in front of the big dragons, then they left us to walk back to the boat by ourselves, past several other large dragons

So yeah, I don't think Rinca's guides take the whole thing *quite* seriously.
  #42  
Old 03-07-2017, 09:33 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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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.
  #43  
Old 03-07-2017, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
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?
  #44  
Old 03-07-2017, 11:40 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
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.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-07-2017 at 11:40 AM.
  #45  
Old 03-07-2017, 01:35 PM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
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.
  #46  
Old 03-07-2017, 04:58 PM
Trancephalic Trancephalic is offline
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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.

Last edited by Trancephalic; 03-07-2017 at 05:00 PM.
  #47  
Old 03-07-2017, 05:05 PM
Hector_St_Clare Hector_St_Clare is offline
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Giant monitors might have coexisted on Flores Island with miniature humans, although I guess the whole Homo floresiensis hypothesis is still controversial.
  #48  
Old 03-07-2017, 05:33 PM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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They're about yea big, but only this tall.
  #49  
Old 03-07-2017, 06:10 PM
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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.
  #50  
Old 03-07-2017, 07:36 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Quote:
Quoth Tom Tildrum:

What if it used its fire breath?
I don't know about fire, but I'd guess that a monitor lizard's halitosis would be bad enough to qualify as a breath weapon.

Now that we've established that the "lizards" aren't a proper clade, what about the fragile-tailed lizards (a category which I assume doesn't include the Komodo or Gila)? You know, the ones whose tails break off easily so they can escape predators (including glass snakes, hence the "glass" part of their name). Are they a clade?
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