Saturday, April 24

New species of giant fruit eating lizard discovered

NewsDaily: Philippines dragon-sized lizard is a new species

NewsDaily (2010-04-24) -- A dragon-sized, fruit-eating lizard that lives in the trees on the northern Philippines island of Luzon has been confirmed as a new species, scientists reported on Tuesday. ... > read full article

This news is a little far out of my usual reach, but its a pretty big deal for the zoology world. You can throw a bag into a bush in the Amazon and pull out a bunch of bugs and find your self looking at a few new species, but when it comes to six foot long, 22 pound lizards, there's just not of opportunities left. The last similar event I remember was when they discovered a new species of tree kangaroo in '94.

From an ethology standpoint, this is particular interesting because the lizard lives in the trees and feeds primarily on fruit. There are only three known species of fruit eating lizards in the world, and this new lizard is apparently quite distantly related to its closest relative (another fruit eater), so it open up some great opportunities to investigate the hitherto unknown behavioral ecology of this animal.

Good luck to any ethologist who wished to rise to the challenge of chasing a rare and extremely skittish lizard through the jungles of the Philippines for the purposes of understanding its behavior.

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