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Megalania

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<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22double-brackets%22%2C%22lineStart%22%3A%22%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Italictitle%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%7B%7BItalictitle%7D%7D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-double-brackets" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="double-brackets" /> <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22double-brackets%22%2C%22lineStart%22%3A%221%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Template%3ATaxobox%5Cn%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%7B%7BTemplate%3ATaxobox%5Cn%7Cname%20%20%20%3D%20%27%27Megalania%27%27%5Cn%7Cfossil_range%20%3D%20%5B%5BLate%20Pleistocene%5D%5D%20%3Cbr%3E0.04%20%5B%5BMa%5D%5D%5Cn%7Cimage%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D%20Image%3AVaranus_priscus_BW.jpg%5Cn%7Cimagewidth%20%20%3D%20275%5Cn%7CRow%201%20title%20%3D%20Class%5Cn%7CRow%201%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BReptile%7CSauropsida%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%202%20title%20%3D%20Order%5Cn%7CRow%202%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BSquamata%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%203%20title%20%3D%20Suborder%5Cn%7CRow%203%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BScleroglossa%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%204%20title%20%3D%20Infraorder%5Cn%7CRow%204%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BPlatynota%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%205%20title%20%3D%20Superfamily%5Cn%7CRow%205%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BVaranoidea%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%206%20title%20%3D%20Family%5Cn%7CRow%206%20info%20%20%3D%20%5B%5BVaranidae%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%207%20title%20%3D%20Genus%5Cn%7CRow%207%20info%20%20%3D%20%27%27%27%27%27Varanus%27%27%27%27%27%5Cn%7CRow%208%20title%20%3D%20%5B%5BSpecies%5D%5D%5Cn%7CRow%208%20info%20%20%3D%20%2A%20%27%27V.%20priscus%27%27%20%28%5B%5BType%20species%7Ctype%5D%5D%29%3Cbr%3E%28%5B%5BRichard%20Owen%7COwen%5D%5D%2C%20%5B%5B1859%5D%5D%20%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Owen%2C%201859%5C%22%3EOwen%2C%20R.%201859.%20Description%20of%20some%20remains%20of%20a%20gigantic%20land-lizard%20%28%27%27Megalania%20prisca%27%27%2C%20Owen%29%20from%20Australia.%20%27%27Philosophical%20Transactions%20of%20the%20Royal%20Society%20of%20London%27%27%20%27%27%27149%27%27%27%3A%2043-48.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%29%5Cn%7D%7D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-double-brackets" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="double-brackets" /> Megalania ("great roamer") is a giant <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22extinct%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22extinct%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bextinct%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Extinct" title="Extinct" class="mw-redirect">extinct</a> <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22goanna%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22goanna%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bgoanna%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Goanna?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Goanna (page does not exist)">goanna</a> or <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22monitor%20lizard%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22monitor%20lizard%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bmonitor%20lizard%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Monitor_lizard?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Monitor lizard (page does not exist)">monitor lizard</a>. It was part of a <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22megafaunal%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Australian%20megafauna%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BAustralian%20megafauna%7Cmegafaunal%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Australian_megafauna?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Australian megafauna (page does not exist)">megafaunal</a> assemblage that inhabited southern <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Australia%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Australia%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BAustralia%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Australia" title="Australia">Australia</a> during the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Pleistocene%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Pleistocene%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BPleistocene%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Pleistocene" title="Pleistocene">Pleistocene</a>, and appears to have disappeared around 40,000 years ago. The first aboriginal settlers of Australia may have encountered living Megalania.<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%3E%5Bhttps%3A%5C%2F%5C%2Farchive.is%5C%2F20120526022832%5C%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%5C%2Fnature%5C%2Fwildfacts%5C%2Ffactfiles%5C%2F3046.shtml%20Megalania%2C%20giant%20ripper%20lizard%5D%2C%20BBC%20-%20Science%20%26%20Nature%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />

Taxonomy

Naming confusion

The name Megalania prisca was coined by Sir Richard Owen to mean "Ancient Great Roamer." A name he made "in reference to the terrestrial nature of the great Saurian" <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Owen%2C%201859%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />. To do this Owen used a modification of the Greek word ἠλαίνω ēlainō ("I roam"). The close similarity to the Latin word: lania (birdsfemine form of "butcher"), resulted in numerous taxonomic and popular descriptions of Megalania mistranslating the name as: Ancient Giant butcher. deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezz nutssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22category%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BCategory%3APleistocene%20reptiles%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-category" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="category" /> <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22category%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BCategory%3APrehistoric%20reptiles%20of%20Australia%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-category" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="category" /> <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22category%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BCategory%3AMegafauna%20of%20Australia%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-category" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="category" />

Megalania vs Varanus

Megalania prisca was originally classified in its own <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22monotypic%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22monotypic%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bmonotypic%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Monotypic?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Monotypic (page does not exist)">monotypic</a> <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22genus%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22genus%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bgenus%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Genus" title="Genus">genus</a>. Its status as a valid genus remains controversial, with many authors preferring to consider it a <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22junior%20synonym%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22junior%20synonym%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bjunior%20synonym%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Junior_synonym" title="Junior synonym" class="mw-redirect">junior synonym</a> of <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Varanus%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Varanus%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BVaranus%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Varanus?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Varanus (page does not exist)">Varanus</a> <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%5C%22%3EMolnar%2C%20R.E.%202004.%20Dragons%20in%20the%20Dust%3A%20The%20paleobiology%20of%20the%20giant%20monitor%20lizard%20%27%27Megalania.%27%27%20Indiana%20University%20Press.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />, which encompasses all living monitor lizards. As the gender of the genera Megalania and Varanus are different (feminine and masculine, respectively), the epithet prisca changes to priscus (in alignment with the Code of the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22I.C.Z.N.%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22International%20Commission%20on%20Zoological%20Nomenclature%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BInternational%20Commission%20on%20Zoological%20Nomenclature%7CI.C.Z.N.%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/International_Commission_on_Zoological_Nomenclature?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (page does not exist)">I.C.Z.N.</a>) <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%3B%20in%20Pianka%20%27%27et%20al.%27%27%2C%202004%5C%22%3EMolnar%2C%20R.E.%20History%20of%20monitors%20and%20their%20kin.%20In%3A%20Pianka%2C%20E.R.%2C%20King%2C%20%20D.%20and%20King%2C%20R.A.%20%28Editors%29%202004.%20Varanoid%20lizards%20of%20the%20world.%20Indiana%20University%20Press%2C%20588%20pp.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />.

Size

<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22image%22%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BImage%3AVaranus_priscus_Melbourne_Museum.jpg%7Cthumb%7Cright%7C%27%27Megalania%27%27%20skeletal%20reconstruction%20on%20%5B%5BMelbourne%20Museum%5D%5D%20steps%5D%5D%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Varanus_priscus_Melbourne_Museum.jpg%22%2C%22params%22%3A%7B%22thumbnail%22%3Atrue%2C%22alt%22%3A%22Varanus%20priscus%20Melbourne%20Museum%22%2C%22align%22%3A%22right%22%2C%22caption%22%3A%22%27%27Megalania%27%27%20skeletal%20reconstruction%20on%20%5B%5BMelbourne%20Museum%5D%5D%20steps%22%2C%22captionParsed%22%3A%22%3Ci%3EMegalania%3C%5C%2Fi%3E%20skeletal%20reconstruction%20on%20%3Ca%20_rte_dataidx%3D%5C%220081%5C%22%20href%3D%5C%22%5C%2Fwiki%5C%2FMelbourne_Museum%3Faction%3Dedit%26amp%3Bredlink%3D1%5C%22%20class%3D%5C%22new%5C%22%20title%3D%5C%22Melbourne%20Museum%20%28page%20does%20not%20exist%29%5C%22%3EMelbourne%20Museum%3C%5C%2Fa%3E%20steps%22%7D%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" alt="" src="Varanus_priscus_Melbourne_Museum.jpg" width="180" height="147" class="image thumb alignRight withCaption" data-image-name="Varanus priscus Melbourne Museum.jpg" data-image-key="Varanus_priscus_Melbourne_Museum.jpg" type="image" /> <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22image%22%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BImage%3AVaranus_priscus_skull.jpg%7Cthumb%7Cright%7C%27%27Megalania%27%27%20skull%2C%20about%2074%20%5B%5Bcentimeter%7Ccm%5D%5D%20%2829%20%5B%5BInch%7Cin%5D%5D%29%20long%2C%20at%20%5B%5BMuseum%20of%20Science%2C%20Boston%5D%5D%5D%5D%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Varanus_priscus_skull.jpg%22%2C%22params%22%3A%7B%22thumbnail%22%3Atrue%2C%22alt%22%3A%22Varanus%20priscus%20skull%22%2C%22align%22%3A%22right%22%2C%22caption%22%3A%22%27%27Megalania%27%27%20skull%2C%20about%2074%20%5B%5Bcentimeter%7Ccm%5D%5D%20%2829%20%5B%5BInch%7Cin%5D%5D%29%20long%2C%20at%20%5B%5BMuseum%20of%20Science%2C%20Boston%22%2C%22captionParsed%22%3A%22%3Ci%3EMegalania%3C%5C%2Fi%3E%20skull%2C%20about%2074%20%3Ca%20_rte_dataidx%3D%5C%220083%5C%22%20href%3D%5C%22%5C%2Fwiki%5C%2FCentimeter%3Faction%3Dedit%26amp%3Bredlink%3D1%5C%22%20class%3D%5C%22new%5C%22%20title%3D%5C%22Centimeter%20%28page%20does%20not%20exist%29%5C%22%3Ecm%3C%5C%2Fa%3E%20%2829%20%3Ca%20_rte_dataidx%3D%5C%220084%5C%22%20href%3D%5C%22%5C%2Fwiki%5C%2FInch%3Faction%3Dedit%26amp%3Bredlink%3D1%5C%22%20class%3D%5C%22new%5C%22%20title%3D%5C%22Inch%20%28page%20does%20not%20exist%29%5C%22%3Ein%3C%5C%2Fa%3E%29%20long%2C%20at%20%3Ca%20_rte_dataidx%3D%5C%220085%5C%22%20href%3D%5C%22%5C%2Fwiki%5C%2FMuseum_of_Science%2C_Boston%3Faction%3Dedit%26amp%3Bredlink%3D1%5C%22%20class%3D%5C%22new%5C%22%20title%3D%5C%22Museum%20of%20Science%2C%20Boston%20%28page%20does%20not%20exist%29%5C%22%3EMuseum%20of%20Science%2C%20Boston%3C%5C%2Fa%3E%22%7D%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" alt="" src="Varanus_priscus_skull.jpg" width="180" height="87" class="image thumb alignRight withCaption" data-image-name="Varanus priscus skull.jpg" data-image-key="Varanus_priscus_skull.jpg" type="image" /> The lack of complete, or nearly complete fossil skeletons has made it difficult to determine the exact dimensions of Megalania<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />. Early estimates placed the length of the largest individuals at 7 metres (23 ft), with a maximum weight of approximately 600–620 kilograms (1,300–1,400 lb).<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Hecht%2C%201975%5C%22%3EHecht%2C%20M.%201975.%20The%20morphology%20and%20relationships%20of%20the%20largest%20known%20terrestrial%20lizard%2C%20%27%27Megalania%20prisca%27%27%20Owen%2C%20from%20the%20Pleistocene%20of%20Australia.%20%27%27Proceedings%20of%20the%20Royal%20Society%20of%20Victoria%27%27%20%27%27%2787%27%27%27%3A%20239%5Cu2013250.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> However, more recent and more rigorous studies give very different results from one another.

In <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%222002%22%2C%22link%22%3A%222002%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5B2002%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/2002" title="2002" class="mw-redirect">2002</a>, Stephen Wroe determined that Megalania had a maximum length of 4.5 metres (15 ft) and a weight of 331 kilograms (730 lb)<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Wroe%2C%202002%5C%22%3EWroe%2C%20S.%202002.%20A%20review%20of%20terrestrial%20mammalian%20and%20reptilian%20carnivore%20ecology%20in%20Australian%20fossil%20faunas%2C%20and%20factors%20influencing%20their%20diversity%3A%20the%20myth%20of%20reptilian%20domination%20and%20its%20broader%20ramifications.%20%27%27Australian%20Journal%20of%20Zoology%27%27%20%27%27%2750%27%27%27%3A%201%5Cu201324.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />, while its average length would have been around 3.5 metres (11 ft), and mean body weight would have been between 97–158 kilograms (210–350 lb).<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Wroe%2C%202002%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /><img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Wroe%20%27%27et%20al.%27%27%2C%202004%5C%22%3EWroe%20S%2C%20Field%20J%2C%20Fullagar%20R%2C%20%26%20Jermiin%20LS.%202004.%20Megafaunal%20extinction%20in%20the%20late%20Quaternary%20and%20the%20global%20overkill%20hypothesis.%20%27%27Alcheringa%27%27%20%27%27%2728%27%27%27%3A%20291-331.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> He concluded<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Wroe%2C%202002%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> that the earlier estimates reaching lengths of 6 metres (20 ft) or more and a weight of several tons<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Rich%20%26%20Hall%2C%201984%5C%22%3ERich%2C%20T%20%26%20Hall%2C%20B.%201984.%20In%3A%20%27%27Vertebrate%20Zoogeography%20and%20Evolution%20in%20Australasia%20%28eds%20Archer%2C%20M.%20%26%20Clayton%2C%20G.%29.%20Pg.%20391-394.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /><img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Martin%20%26%20Kline%2C%201984%5C%22%3EMartin%2C%20P.S.%20%26%20Kline%2C%20R.G.%201984.%20%27%27Quaternary%20Extinctions%27%27.%20University%20of%20Arizona%20Press%2C%20Tucson.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> were exaggerations based upon flawed methodologies.

However, Ralph Molnar <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> in 2004 determined a range of potential sizes for Megalania (made by scaling up from dorsal vertebrae, after he determined a relationship between dorsal vertebrae length and total body length). If it had a long thin tail like the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Lace%20monitor%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Lace%20monitor%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BLace%20monitor%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Lace_monitor?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Lace monitor (page does not exist)">Lace monitor</a> (Varanus varius), then it would reached a length of 7.9 metres (26 ft), while if its tail-to-body proportions were more similar to that of the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Komodo%20dragon%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Komodo%20dragon%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BKomodo%20dragon%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Komodo_dragon?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Komodo dragon (page does not exist)">Komodo dragon</a>, then a length of around 7 metres (23 ft) is more likely. Taking the maximal 7 m length, he estimated a weight of 1,940 kilograms (4,300 lb), with a leaner 320 kilograms (710 lb) being average<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />.

Palaeobiology

Megalania is the largest terrestrial lizard known to have existed. Judging from its size, Megalania would have fed mostly upon medium to large sized animals, including any of the giant marsupials like <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Diprotodon%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Diprotodon%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BDiprotodon%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Diprotodon" title="Diprotodon">Diprotodon</a> along with other reptiles, small mammals, and birds and their eggs and chicks.<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22double-brackets%22%2C%22lineStart%22%3A%22%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Fact%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%7B%7BFact%7D%7D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-double-brackets" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="double-brackets" /> It had heavily built limbs and body and a large skull complete with a small crest in between the eyes, and a jaw full of serrated blade-like teeth <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Molnar%2C%202004%3B%20in%20Pianka%20%27%27et%20al.%27%27%2C%202004%5C%22%5C%2F%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />.

Several studies have attempted to establish the phylogenetic position of Megalania within the Varanidae. An affinity with the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Perentie%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Perentie%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BPerentie%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Perentie?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Perentie (page does not exist)">Perentie</a>, Australia's largest living lizard, has been suggested based on skull-roof morphology <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Lee%2C%201999%5C%22%3ELee%20MSY.%201996.%20Possible%20affinities%20between%20%27%27Varanus%20giganteus%27%27%20and%20%27%27Megalania%20prisca%27%27.%20Memoirs%20of%20the%20Queensland%20Museum%2039%3A%20232.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />. The most recent comprehensive study <img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Head%20%27%27et%20al%27%27%2C%202009%5C%22%3EHead%2C%20JJ.%3B%20Barrett%2C%20PM.%3B%20Rayfield%2C%20EJ.%202009.%20Neurocranial%20osteology%20and%20systematic%20relationships%20of%20%27%27Varanus%20%28Megalania%29%20prisca%27%27%20Owen%2C%201859%20%28Squamata%3A%20Varanidae%29.%20Zoological%20Journal%20of%20the%20Linnean%20Society%2C%202009%2C%20155%2C%20445%5Cu2013457.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> proposes a sister-taxon relationship with the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Komodo%20Dragon%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Komodo%20Dragon%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BKomodo%20Dragon%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Komodo_Dragon?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Komodo Dragon (page does not exist)">Komodo Dragon</a> based on neurocranial similarities, with the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Lace%20Monitor%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Lace%20Monitor%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BLace%20Monitor%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Lace_Monitor?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Lace Monitor (page does not exist)">Lace Monitor</a> as the closest living Australian relative. Conversely, the Perentie is considered more closely related to the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Gould%27s%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Gould%27s%20monitor%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BGould%27s%20monitor%7CGould%27s%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Gould%27s_monitor?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Gould's monitor (page does not exist)">Gould's</a> and <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Argus%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Argus%20monitor%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BArgus%20monitor%7CArgus%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Argus_monitor?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Argus monitor (page does not exist)">Argus</a> Monitors.

Wroe et al. (1999)<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%20name%3D%5C%22Wroe%20%27%27et%20al.%27%27%2C%201999%5C%22%3EWroe%20S%2C%20Myers%20TJ%2C%20Wells%20RT%20%26%20Gillespie%2C%20A.%201999.%20Estimating%20the%20weight%20of%20the%20Pleistocene%20marsupial%20lion%2C%20%27%27Thylacoleo%20carnifex%27%27%20%28Thylacoleonidae%20%3A%20Marsupialia%29%3A%20implications%20for%20the%20ecomorphology%20of%20a%20marsupial%20super-predator%20and%20hypotheses%20of%20impoverishment%20of%20Australian%20marsupial%20carnivore%20faunas.%20%27%27Australian%20Journal%20of%20Zoology%27%27%20%27%27%2747%27%27%27%3A%20489-498.%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" /> regard the contention that Megalania was the only, or even principal, predator of the Australian Pleistocene megafauna with skepticism. They note that the <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22marsupial%20lion%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Marsupial%20Lion%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BMarsupial%20Lion%7Cmarsupial%20lion%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Marsupial_Lion" title="Marsupial Lion">marsupial lion</a> (<a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Thylacoleo%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Thylacoleo%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BThylacoleo%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Thylacoleo" title="Thylacoleo">Thylacoleo</a> carnifex) has been implicated with the butchery of very large Pleistocene mammals, while Megalania has not. In addition, they note that fossils of Megalania are extremely uncommon, in contrast to Thylacoleo carnifex with its wide distribution across Australian Pleistocene deposits.

The Australian biologist <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Tim%20Flannery%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Tim%20Flannery%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BTim%20Flannery%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Tim_Flannery?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Tim Flannery (page does not exist)">Tim Flannery</a> suggested that if one wanted to reconstruct the ecosystems that existed before the arrival of the humans on Australia, it may be desirable to introduce Komodo dragon as a replacement for Megalania.<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%3EFlannery%20T.%201994.%20%27%27The%20Future%20Eaters%27%27%2C%20pp.%20384-385.%20ISBN%200802139434%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />

Claims of surviving remnants

There have been numerous reports and rumors of living Megalania in Australia, and occasionally in <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22New%20Guinea%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22New%20Guinea%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BNew%20Guinea%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/New_Guinea?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="New Guinea (page does not exist)">New Guinea</a>, as recently as the late 1990s<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%3E%5Bhttp%3A%5C%2F%5C%2Fwww.cryptozoology.com%5C%2Fcryptids%5C%2Fmegalania.php%20Cryptozoology.com%3C%21--%20Bot%20generated%20title%20--%3E%5D%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />. Australian <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22cryptozoologist%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22cryptozoology%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Afalse%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5Bcryptozoology%7Ccryptozoologist%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Cryptozoology?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Cryptozoology (page does not exist)">cryptozoologist</a> <a data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22internal%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Rex%20Gilroy%22%2C%22link%22%3A%22Rex%20Gilroy%22%2C%22wasblank%22%3Atrue%2C%22noforce%22%3Atrue%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%5B%5BRex%20Gilroy%5D%5D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" href="/wiki/Rex_Gilroy?action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="Rex Gilroy (page does not exist)">Rex Gilroy</a> has stated that Megalania is still alive today, and it is only a matter of time until one is discovered alive.<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%3E%5Bhttp%3A%5C%2F%5C%2Fwww.mysteriousaustralia.com%5C%2Faustralian_giant_reptilian_monsters-qld.html%20Australian%20Giant%20Reptilian%20Monsters%20-%20Queensland%20Reports%3C%21--%20Bot%20generated%20title%20--%3E%5D%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />

The possibility of a surviving population of the giant lizards in the Australian Outback is not accepted by mainstream scientists<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22ext%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%3Cref%3E%5Bhttp%3A%5C%2F%5C%2Fwww.cryptomundo.com%5C%2Fcryptozoo-news%5C%2Fmegalania%5C%2F%20Cryptomundo.com%20%5Cu00bb%20Megalania%3C%21--%20Bot%20generated%20title%20--%3E%5D%3C%5C%2Fref%3E%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-ext" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="ext" />, as reports of giant lizards only began after Megalania was first described.


References

<img data-rte-meta="%7B%22type%22%3A%22double-brackets%22%2C%22lineStart%22%3A%221%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22reflist%22%2C%22placeholder%22%3A1%2C%22wikitext%22%3A%22%7B%7Breflist%7C2%7D%7D%22%7D" data-rte-instance="11843-21453793845735223e61b9d" class="placeholder placeholder-double-brackets" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D" type="double-brackets" />

External links

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