Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/75146
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Type: Journal article
Title: A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus
Author: Scanlon, D.
Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009; 106(22):8969-8974
Publisher: Natl Acad Sciences
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0027-8424
1091-6490
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Bryan G. Fry... Denis Scanlon... et al.
Abstract: The predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon)has been a subject of long-standing interest and considerable conjecture. Here, we investigate the roles and potential interplay between cranial mechanics, toxic bacteria, and venom. Our analyses point to the presence of a sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus. We find that the lightweight skull is relatively poorly adapted to generate high bite forces but better adapted to resist high pulling loads. We reject the popular notion regarding toxic bacteria utilization. Instead, we demonstrate that the effects of deep wounds inflicted are potentiated through venom with toxic activities including anticoagulation and shock induction. Anatomical comparisons of V. komodoensis with V.(Megalania) priscus fossils suggest that the closely related extinct giant was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived.
Keywords: Evolution; phylogeny; squamate; protein; toxin
Rights: © Authors
RMID: 0020106217
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP0665971
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP0772814
Appears in Collections:Medical Sciences publications

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