Cryptozoology and the Giant Monitor... - FaunaClassifieds
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General BS forum I guess anything is fair game in here. Just watch the subject matter doesn't get carried away too much.

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Old 01-15-2003, 05:27 PM   #1
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
Cryptozoology and the Giant Monitor...

Just curious if there are any others out there with an interest in cryptozoology. I've always had a passing interest and thought I'd bring up the issue of giant Australian monitors to discuss here.

As some of us know, there were species of monitor down in Oz that made Komodos look like pups. I don't know the species names, but I do remember the genus name is Megalania and if I recall some finds hit the 20 foot mark. They are supposed to have gone extinct thousands of years ago, but every now and again there are "sightings" of giant monitors in the interior of Australia's "Outback." Of course it could be simple misidentification and the animal in question may be a crocodile(though some of the sightings I've read about are from Aborigines and from what little I've read on them I believe they have a very good idea of how to differentiate them). Or it could also be sightings of perfectly normal sized monitors(like Varanus varius or V. giganteus, both of which attain lengths over 5 feet).
However, in my opinion I feel there very well could still be large monitor species undiscovered in the interior of Oz. After all, that area is not exceptionally well explored, right? And let's also not forget that the Komodo "evaded" modern scientific discovery until the early 20th century.

But no matter what your views, I thought this might be an interesting issue to start up a discussion on. Hopefully this is the right forum, but seemed the only one that made sense to me.

Cheers!
 
Old 01-16-2003, 04:26 PM   #2
BEN SPARKS
CRYPTOZOOLOGY

Welp,

In a word, yes, I do think there is a great possibility that there are yet undiscovered varanids in the outback of oz.
The "giant" that your thinking about is "Megalania Prisca", or occasionally referred to as "Varanus Prisca". Its been theorized that it weighed in around 1100lb as a adult and around 20-21' long. While this is the largest land lizard known (I think) to have existed, one aspect of it that is rarely mentioned is the bony head
crest that they had. I can only imagine what that must have looked like. These giants were wide spread in Australia with fossils from Megalania being from from New S. Wales, to Queensland and S. Australia.
Its been theorized that monitors made it to Australia about 20 years ago. Its interresting to me that once in Australia, they evolved into very large and very small species. While monitors in Africa, Europe, and N. America never really did (What are they feeding them critters down there!!lol) Fossils have been found in N. America, Europe, Africa, etc... of varanids dating back 20million + years. One large species thats fossils have been found in Mongolia (Telmasaurus grandgeri) showed to have grooved teeth very similar to the heloderms (cousins of varamus) of today. Can you imagine a 9' monitor with the bite of a heloderm!!! OUCH!
I'll stop here, but yes I do find this topic of great interrest and do
think that some larger more reluctant monitors may still have yet to be found by science.

God Bless!!
 
Old 01-16-2003, 09:25 PM   #3
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
Ben, thanks!!! I'd been racking my brain trying to remember the species name of Megalania. At least I got the size about right. lol
I wasn't aware of the head crest, though. Nothing I've read mentioned that(granted much of the material I've read on this animal is probably a bit dated). Are there any online sources you can recommend to read up on this monster varanid? I've tried online searches with very little result.

And I'm glad you brought up the info about varanid evolution on the different continents. Aren't there varanid fossils dating back to the Late Cretaceous here in North America? I will try looking that up, but I seem to remember several mentions of their fossils turning up in Cretaceous sediments.

But yes, as I said, I believe that there very well could be a large monitor species hiding out down in Australia. There are plenty of places a 20 foot monitor could hide.
 
Old 01-16-2003, 09:50 PM   #4
WebSlave
It wouldn't even have to hide.

If an animal as a species had a habit of eating any human it ever came across, and it lived in a rather remote area, it may be a LONG while before anyone was lucky enough to survive an encounter and tell about it. And even then, how many might believe such a tall tale? Look at the number of reliable sightings of UFOs that are skoffed at by the general public.
 
Old 01-16-2003, 11:22 PM   #5
Seamus Haley
This is slightly off topic but it reminded me of something...

For those of you with a decent internet connection and a liking for flash animation and vulgarity involving an obvious Steve Irwin parody, http://www.joecartoon.com has a cartoon called "Goanna Humpah" which is worthwhile (although not among the best animation on the website).
 
Old 01-17-2003, 10:33 AM   #6
BEN SPARKS
Hi,

Your right Rob. Some fossiles have dated back to the Cretaceous.
One thing I cant believe I forgot to mention earlier is that not only
have Megalania fossils been found that date back around 20 million years ago, but they have also been found that only dated
back 300 YEARS!
A while back (10 years?) a farmer in central Queensland found some large, LARGE bones. Feeling he may have discovered something of interrest he called some University palaeontologist in Brisbane and handed the situation over to them. What he had discovered where indeed Megalania bones and foot prints in mud
where the creature had walked before it layed down and died.
The most likely situation was that the animal died during the downpour of the rainy season at the time. What seemed unreal was the fact that the bones dated to 300 years ago!
THIS is one of the biggest reasons I think a large giant may still be undiscovered. There are literrally thousands of square miles of
desert and forest that, while being mapped from the air, have not
been explored by man. THOUSANDS OF SQUARE MILES!!!!
If you type in "Extinct Megalania" in your search engine Rob you will probably find several small articles. I have not been able to find an inclusive website with Megalania info. All of what I have found out I got from reading I dont how many small articles and
talking to others that have interrest in Megalania.
It should be noted that there are hundreds if not thousands of small islands (similar to Komodo and its neighboring islands that the Komodo Dragon inhabit) that have not been explored or even found. Some islands in the solomons chain are believed to contain some large monitors also (rumored at around 12-22'). These claims come from natives of the Solomon Islands and others. This should be taken with a grain of salt however. Remember that natives also said that the "Tree Crocodile" was 20' long (actually varanus salvadorri). Unlike the giant crocodile monitors talked about by natives, Megalania has the bones to prove its immense size.
Let me know what else you come up with and think Rob. I'll have to break out the Austalia map in a little bit.
Seamus, have you any thoughts or theories on this?? I tried your
link to the cartoon but my internet filter turned up a page that said "Tasteless Material" and would let me see it. lol, oh well.

 
Old 01-19-2003, 02:47 AM   #7
CheriS
An article on the Queensland find
Megalania-Extinct or hiding?
 
Old 01-19-2003, 02:56 AM   #8
Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
I read that article too, very interesting.

I am curious about something though. Ben, you mentioned Megalania prisca having bony spines/crest, but I haven't seen mention of it after doing a search(thanks by the way, I was able to find some cool cryptozoology sites). Are there any pictures or diagrams of the skeleton available anywhere to look at? So far I haven't had any luck.
 
Old 01-20-2003, 09:17 AM   #9
BEN SPARKS
Hi Rob,

I'll look around today and see if I can find some old articles on the
crest. They werent described in detail to be like the casque of a veiled or anything, but something rather low. I'll let ya know soon
as I find one or two articles.

God Bless!
Ben
 
Old 01-20-2003, 11:03 AM   #10
BEN SPARKS
Ok, I looked and looked and the only mention I can find so far on the net is a piece taken from Danial Bennetts book "Little Book of
Monitor Lizards". It can be read and viewed at:

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~nhi770/fosslils.html

Lot of good info and theories in his book and one of the sources
I'v read for my info. Let me know what ya think.

God Bless
Ben
 

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