We all are familiar with those science fiction movies in which humans are fighting giant lizards or birds. But until a research was published this week we did not know that our species co-existed with such creatures.
Archaeologists have known for quite a while that Australia’s outback used to be roamed by giant reptiles similar to lizards. However, until now it was believed that the massive animals disappeared long time before humans started inhabiting the Australian continent.
Scientists have recently discovered a bone that could be part of a giant lizard that terrorized Australia hundred of thousands of years ago. However, after the radiocarbon technique was applied on the bone researchers found that it belonged to a 50,000 years old lizard. However, they are not exactly sure from which species of giant lizard the bone came from. The best guess is that the bone is from a Megalainia Prisca, a lizard that was as long as 16 feet.
Other researchers say that the bone may be from a komodo dragon. Currently, the komodo dragon can only be found on a couple of islands in Indonesia, but is possible that the species have lived in Australia before they were isolated. This type of lizard can grow up to 10 feet long.
More importantly is that scientists discovered that the giant reptile was still roaming the Earth just 50,000 years ago, right about when humans started settling on the Australian territory. If we take into account the size of this species of lizards, it is more than plausible to assume that they could have been human predators, or at least to other smaller mammals.
The majority of scientists believe that the situation was not like this at all, but rather the opposite. They think that the arrival of humans may have reduced the populations of this species of lizard to the point of extinction. And considering that it was confirmed by some recent studies that humans were and still are the world’s greatest predators, there is no doubt that is what happened here.
The biggest living lizard in Australia is six feet long. It is a monitor lizard which is also called perentie. Rather evidently, these lizards avoid attacking humans, and they even run as fast as they can once they come in contact with them. These reptiles prefer to snack on small mammals such as rabbits or rats.
Australia is not only known for its large reptiles, the scrub python for instance grows up to 23 feet long, while a recently extinct kangaroo called procoptodon was almost 7 feet tall.
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