The komodo dragon holds the title of the largest lizard on earth. Weighing in at 150 pounds with the largest growing up to 10 feet long, this giant reptile with a deadly bite lives at the top of the food chain on the islands of Indonesia where they live.
But archaeologists have found quite the contender that the komodo dragon’s large size would pale to in comparison. According to R & D Magazine, a new fossil suggests that early humans living in Australia lived alongside a beast of a lizard.
“Our jaws dropped when we found a tiny fossil from a giant lizard during a 2-m deep excavation in one of the Capricorn Caves, near Rockhampton,” said Dr. Gilbert Price of the University of Queensland. “The find is pretty significant, especially for the time frame that it dates.”
This new species is double the size of the komodo dragon. Measuring at up to 20 feet long, it joins the ranks of the other large reptiles that roamed the earth during the Pleistocene period nearly 50,000 years ago.
“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.
The Capricorn Caves, located just outside of Rockhampton, Queensland in Australia, has been a haven for archaeologists, who have unearthed thousands of fossils since the early 1900s. Whether more of this giant lizard will be discovered in the same area is yet unknown, but researchers remain hopeful.
“There is great opportunity to look at the fine scale change of fauna over time in the…region in the last 40,000 years,” said the Capricorn Cave’s website advertising the caves to tourists and scientists.