The superb case of the Komodo dragon, a thriller for science | The stone ax Science | EUROtoday

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The dragon is a mythological animal with an extended literary historical past. It is an invincible monster {that a} hero at all times faces, whether or not it’s Saint George in Christian legend or Hercules in Greek mythology.

There is a speculation about this fantasy that takes us again to our primate ancestor, from after we had been hominins and our response mechanism was activated each time hazard appeared within the type of a snake, large feline or chook of prey. For this cause, dragons mix facets of all these animals, unleashing the terrors of the unconscious and populating the collective creativeness with their supernatural determine. There are dragons in China and there are Mesoamerican dragons in addition to Mediterranean and African ones.

The dragon that brings us right here immediately is among the nice mysteries of science. It is a reptile with sharp claws and shark enamel whose yellow tongue strikes nervously each time it pounces on its prey. As if that weren’t sufficient, the saliva of this dragon accommodates plentiful toxic micro organism, which might finish the lifetime of its sufferer in lower than 24 hours. It just isn’t a joke; 58 totally different bacterial populations have been discovered, of which 54 are doubtlessly infectious as a result of scavenging feeding of this reptile that lives on the island of Komodo, positioned 400 kilometers east of Bali, on the confluence of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Its scientific title is Varanus komodoensis, though it’s generally often called the Komodo dragon, the biggest lizard on Earth. To give us an thought, essentially the most brutal specimen discovered to this point measured 3.13 meters and weighed 166 kilograms. When they’re born, the animals are greenish and striped, however, as they develop, their pores and skin takes on the colour of grey medieval armor coated in reddish rust.

Six Komodo dragons in the cage at Surabaya Zoo in East Java, Indonesia, on March 5, 2019.
Six Komodo dragons within the cage at Surabaya Zoo in East Java, Indonesia, on March 5, 2019.NurPhoto (NurPhoto through Getty Images)

We are going through a harmful reptile, with a carnivorous food plan, which, in line with Michel Gall in his examine on Arabian Nights, Sinbad confronted on one in every of his journeys. Of this monster with medieval armor, it’s value highlighting its sense of scent; He senses your presence earlier than you see him. If he reaches you, he is not going to depart you even your bones. Of course, solely your cell phone will likely be saved. Therefore, if such an unlucky encounter happens, it’s best to set your telephone to file, in order that the feast of viscera watered with blood that the animal goes to eat is recorded. An actual film snuff; no tips.

Jokes apart, Baron Rudolf von Reding Biberegg, a Swiss explorer who was on an expedition to the island, disappeared and not using a hint in the summertime of 1974. Everything signifies that he was eaten by a Komodo dragon. They solely discovered the baron's glasses, a hat and a digital camera. Today, a picket cross nailed to a small mound commemorates him with the next legend: “In memory of Baron Rudolf von Reding Biberegg, born in Switzerland on August 8, 1895 and disappeared on this island on July 18, 1974.”

The stone ax It is a bit the place Montero Glezwith a need for prose, workout routines its explicit siege on scientific actuality to display that science and artwork are complementary types of information.

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