Skeletal reconstruction of Megalania

Megalania ( Varanus priscus, Syn: Megalania prisca ) is an extinct about 45,000 years ago genus of lizards from the Pleistocene of Australia. The giant monitor lizard reaching up to seven meters in length and an estimated weight of about 1000 kg. The genus was described scientifically in 1860 by Richard Owen on the basis of the type species Megalania prisca.


Megalania was a very strong and compact -built monitor lizard, the self in relation to the already very stocky built Komodo dragon had a very short tail and enormously strong limbs, striking was the so- otherwise known with any monitor species small medial ridge on the head.


Megalania was next to the large carnivorous marsupials such as Thylacoleo carnifex and the land crocodile Quinkana one of the dominant predators in Pleistocene Australia and even met yet on the first Aborigines. Also on the island of New Guinea, north of Australia, there was a population.

Way of life

Lived and fed the lizard has perhaps similar to the still living Komodo dragon. As this was Megalania probably a lurking predators, most of which was his prey from ambush - small reptiles, birds and small or medium-sized marsupials, such as kangaroos - like today's monitor lizards but not disdain carrion on occasion. It is unclear whether Megalania chased the huge Diprotodons that were larger than today's white rhino - the ability to do so had Megalania.

If Megalania lived like today's Komodo dragons, he decreed possibly via a similar method of hunting on large animals. When the monitors an injury extends through a bite, as in the saliva of many different bacteria live monitor species that cause injuries in blood poisoning and gangrene. The bitten victims often die in a short time and can then be sensed and identified.

According to recent studies Komodo dragons also possess venom glands in the lower jaw, which, among other things reduce the blood pressure in the victim and these can fall into a state of shock. For anatomical comparisons should probably Megalania have had the ability to bite with paralyzing poison effect. Since estimates are even talking about masses of up to 2000 kg and body length of seven meters, this Riesenwarane the largest venomous animals that ever lived on the earth would thus.

Megalania in Cryptozoology

Cryptozoologists collected about 30 reports of encounters with unusually large monitor lizards, which they interpret as evidence of the continued existence of Megalania. In a brief encounter can be difficult to estimate the size of the lizard, so paleontologists see in the reports encounters with normal, certainly large monitor lizards, their size, however, was misjudged. Furthermore, cryptozoologists rely on references to Megalania in the myths of Aborigines, which usually but simply refer to lizards. Most plausible appears the story of a " whowie " designated Riesenwarans, who was six feet long and three pairs of legs is said to have possessed. It is not impossible that stories about Megalania from the beginnings of Aborigines survived until today, but it is difficult to distinguish whether the stories were actually inspired by Megalania or other lizards.