Devil Dragon in the Australian Rainforest
In Australia, local Aborigines talk about a giant, monsterous lizard that roams the rainforests roughly 40,000 years after scientists say it has become extinct. Cryptozoologists say this creature, the so-called "Devil Dragon," is a living fossil known to science as Megalania prisca, the largest ground-dwelling lizard that's ever lived. Megalania was at least twice the size of today's Komodo dragon. With large, serrated teeth that bend inward and sharp claws for ripping through flesh, Megalania was likely a fearsome predator. Over the last 30 years, several reports of unexplained and mysterious human disappearances in the rainforest has been associated with strange animal foot prints. Some eyewitness reports talk of giant, tree logs that dashes away when startled. Though a full fossil skeleton of Megalania has never been discovered, a farmer in Queensland, Australia found bones of this prehistoric creature in his fields. When tested, they turned out to only be 300 years old. Whether or not Megalania continues to roam the Australian rainforests today, it surely did encounter humans when Aborigines arrived on the continent 40,000 to 125,000 years ago.
Megalania lived across much of eastern Australia, although complete fossils are rare. In Queensland, Megalania has been found at Bluff Downs and Wyandotte in the north, Marmor Quarry near Rockhampton on the south coast, and the Darling Downs in the southeastern of the state. In New South Wales, Megalania has been found at Cuddie Springs in north central New South Wales and at Wellington Caves, central New South Wales. Victorian Megalania fossils come from the southern coastal region. In South Australia, Megalania has been found in the arid Lake Eyre region (Warburton River, Cooper Creek and Lake Kanunka) and at Naracoorte Caves near the South Australian coast. Megalania is not yet known from Tasmania, Western Australia or New Guinea.
The closest relatives of Megalania are other goannas or monitor lizards. Although the Komodo Dragon or ora of Indonesia is the largest living goanna, Megalania may be more closely related to the Australian perentie. Proposed relationships between Megalania and the ora are probably based primarily on size. Although, Megalania fossils are rare and incomplete, and relationship hypotheses may change with discovery of new fossil material.