News Round-Up

Elaborate Komodo dragon armour defends against other dragons

Source: news.utexas.edu

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

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