Megalania vertebra Megalania vertebra - anterior view

Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia
Symonston, Australia

The largest predators in the Australian Pleistocene Megafauna were both reptiles - the crocodile Pallimnarchus, and a giant goanna. The giant goanna was first described scientifically in 1859 as Megalania prisca. Later studies showed that it was anatomically so similar to modern goannas (including the Komodo dragon) that it belonged to that genus. It is now officially named Varanus priscus. The name Megalania is often still used informally. No complete skeletons of Megalania are known, but they are estimated to have reached about the size of the modern salt-water crocodile - 5.5 m or more. Megalania's sharp, serrated teeth indicate it was a carnivore, and a recent study shows that it was venomous. It was probably an ambush predator, but may have supplemented its diet by scavenging. This vertebra was found near Eulo, in South West Queensland, Australia


  • Title: Megalania vertebra Megalania vertebra - anterior view
  • Type: Fossil, Fossil
  • Rights: Geoscience Australia / CC-BY 4.0
  • Photographer: Chris Fitzgerald

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