The Komodo Dragon

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Varanus komodoensis more commonly known as the Komodo Dragon is a testament to animal adaptation. Based on fossil records, the Varanidae family of lizards appeared around 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. Then, about 3.8 million years ago, the direct ancestor of the Komodo Dragon first evolved on or near Australia. (Hocknull et al. 2009) It was previously thought that the Komodo Dragon evolved in Indonesia. In 1912, Pieter Antonie Ouwens, a Dutch scientist, was the first person to write a formal description of the Komodo Dragon. Since that time much has been learned about the dragons, some during the last 10 years.
Komodo dragons are the largest and heaviest living lizard in the world; weighing between 150 and 350 pounds,
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Females reach reproductive maturity around nine years, males at ten years. The female lays between 15 and 30 eggs in a nest dug into the ground and covered with dirt and leaves; the eggs gestate for an average of eight to nine months. While the eggs are incubating the female lies on the nest, but once they hatch, weighing approximately a quarter of a pound, there is no indication that care continues. (Lawwell 2006). The Sedgwick County Zoo was the first United States zoo to hatch parthenogenic Komodo dragons; this is when the female lays fertile eggs without the presence of a male. There are only three documented cases of parthenogenesis in the world. (Watts et al. 2006) Young Komodo dragons live in trees so as not to be eaten by adults of their species. When they grow too large to continue living in the trees, around eight months old, they change their diet, and descend to the ground. (Murphy, et al. 2002)
The lifespan of the Komodo dragon is still not clear and research ranges from 25 to 62 years. They appear capable of living at least 25 years in captivity [0448], but probably much more. One study estimated that males can live over 62 years in the wild based on extrapolations from body size [1100]. Other anecdotal reports indicate that animals can live over 50 years in the wild. Although plausible, these values remain unverified. Although many Komodo Dragons individuals fall prey to other animals as hatchlings, ones that live to
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The teeth are similar to those of flesh eating sharks, laterally compressed, and are specifically adapted for tearing meat. It has up to 57 different kinds of powerful bacteria in its saliva plus a recently discovered venom gland that infects its prey by flowing into open bite wounds. The bacteria cause sepsis and the venom lowers the preys blood pressure and inhibits its clotting ability causing the animal to bleed to death. The dragon then tracks the prey up to several days until the animal dies.
Due to the physiology of lizards, it is hard to run and breathe at the same time. Komodo dragons have adapted a gular pouch under their chin. They fill the pouch with air and pump it down into their lungs, allowing them to chase down prey at speeds up to 20

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