Study Asserts Komodo Dragon Uses Venom to Kill Prey

Phil Noble/Reuters

A new study by Dr. Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne argues that the Komodo dragon uses venomlike proteins to assist in a kill.  The Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, has intrigued scientists for years because of its uncanny ability to take down large prey.  In some cases, the prey would manage to flee the scene, only to die later.  The ongoing theory was that bacteria in the lizard’s serrated teeth infected its victims.

But Dr. Fry wasn’t convinced. After dissecting three lizards’ mouths, Fry and a team of researchers found a set of glands that  produced special proteins. One protein disabled clotting while the other relaxed artery walls. If injected into an animal, these proteins would cause the victim’s blood pressure to drop dramatically and the animal to lose consciousness.

For more info: NY Times

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Baby Tuatara Hatched

A recently hatched rare reptile, the tuatara, has been discovered in New Zealand for the first time in 200 years. The species’ lineage dates back to the dinosaur age.  The tuatara was found in the wild in the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington.

While numbering in the tens of thousands on the islands surrounding New Zealand, the tuatara was nearly extinct on the main island. Their near extinction was brought about by the introduction of predators, including rats.

The hatching of the tuatara is a sign that reintroduction and conservation efforts are working.

For more: Associated Press

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