The bones of the extinct Australian goanna, Megalania (Varanus) prisca, will be anatomically described and illustrated. Features on the bones will be compared to those of a range of size classes of modern monitor lizard species, which are the nearest living relatives to the study species. One of the species to be used as a comparison to M. prisca is the Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis. The soft tissue anatomy of modern species will also be compared.  These two data sets will form the basis of the soft tissue reconstruction of the study species.

In addition an attempt will be made to reconstruct, from available data, the paleo-environments in which the species evolved, lived and eventually went extinct. The merging of the two primary findings, morphology and palae- environments, will allow a discussion of how Megalania behaved in its environment and the role it played in the ecosystem.

Funding: IPRS Scholarship, UQ Centennial Scholarship

Advisors: Assoc Prof Patrick Moss, Dr Scott Hocknull

 

Project members

Lorraeme Shume

Lorraeme Shume

PhD candidate