Just beneath their scales, Komodo dragons wear a suit of armour made of tiny bones. These bones cover the dragons from head to tail, creating a “chain mail” that protects the giant predators. However, the armour raises a question: What does the world’s largest lizard – the dominant predator in its natural habitat – need protection from?
After scanning Komodo dragon specimens with high-powered X-rays, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin think they have an answer: other Komodo dragons.
Jessica Maisano, a scientist in the UT Jackson School of Geosciences, led the research, which was published Sept.10 in the journal The Anatomical Record. Her co-authors are Christopher Bell, a professor in the Jackson School; Travis Laduc, an assistant professor in the UT College of Natural Sciences; and Diane Barber, the curator of cold-blooded animals at the Fort Worth Zoo. MORE