Researches have recently recovered fossil bone of a giant lizard, indicating early humans and reptiles co-existed in Australia.
Researchers have found a fossil bone of a giant killer lizard which they believe lived alongside the early human inhabitants of Australia during the last ice age.
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While digging a cave in central Queensland, researches were amazed to see a 1 centimeter bone fossil of a giant lizard just seven feet below the earth. The lizard lived 50,000 years ago and could grow to almost 20 feet long.
“Our jaws dropped when we found a tiny fossil from a giant lizard during a two meter deep excavation in one of the Capricorn caves near Rockhampton,” said Dr. Gilbert Price, a palaeoecologist at University of Queensland. “The one-centimeter bone, an osteoderm, came from under the lizard’s skin and is the youngest record of a giant lizard on the entire continent.”
The bone examination revealed that lizard found in the same prehistoric era when early human lived in the continent, meaning they had to contend with the giant lizard for their survival. However, researchers are unable to find what exactly the species of lizard belongs to.
“We can’t tell if the bone is from a Komodo Dragon – which once roamed Australia or even bigger species like the extinct Megalania monitor lizard, which weighted about 500 kg and grew up to six meters long.” Price said. “The find is pretty significant, especially from the timeframe that it dates.”
The largest lizard found today in Australia is perentie that can grow up to six feet long, making the newly discovered lizard the largest ever existed in the continent. The fossil discovery also raises the questions about how these lizards went extinct. It is possibly the human activities which led to the extinction of the giant reptile.
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“It’s been long debated whether or not humans or climate change knocked off the giant lizards, alongside the rest of the megafauna,” said Price. “Humans can only be considered as potential drivers of their extinction.”