Many fantasy creatures are real prototypes, for example, there are lizards, which are very similar to dragons. No, they can’t spew fire from its mouth, but have frightening forked tongue, strong muscles, a natural bloodlust and famous people for a very long time These “dragons” are the Komodo dragon, which lives on some Indonesian Islands, and often attack people, for which he was nicknamed by local residents in honor of the fabulous beasts. Sounds really scary and cool, but these beings has recently surprised scientists another feature under their skin, was found a thick layer of armor designed to protect from heavy blows.
For the first time about the presence of the protective layer of the skin in lizards became known in 1928. Then a naturalist named William Douglas Bearden in his notes mentioned that poachers have started to catch giant lizards for the purpose of selling their skin, however, it had no value. The fact that beneath it is a layer of many small bones that can protect the body of monitor lizards from heavy blows and bites and complicates the cutting of the skin. Since natural armor lizards and practically not interested in scientists, but recently, researchers from the U.S. state of Texas decided to study it.
Most large lizards are protected by a thick layer of armour
The skin of giant lizards quite difficult to get, so the scientists asked for help from local zoos. The body of the deceased in 2013, 19-year-old varane has been provided by the zoo, located in the Texas city of Fort worth. The owners of the zoo of San Antonio gave scientists the body of a baby lizard that died only a few days ago before the study began.
Having at its disposal a body of “dragons”, a team of scientists examined them with a tomographic apparatus. Adult lizard was so huge that the device got only his head, but it was enough to reveal interesting features of the structure of his body. Under his skin, the researchers did find the layer of the plurality of solid bone that can protect it from the head to the tip of the tail.
As protected crocodiles and other reptiles?
These tiny bones in scientific language known as osteoderm or secondary dermal ossification. They were in many extinct reptiles, and dinosaurs. Today they are especially well developed in crocodiles and play an important role in defense and in the regulation of heat inside the body. But what is the protective layer of the skin need the lizards, because these fearsome predators may not be enemies — they are able to catch and to tear to shreds any predator.
This is interesting: Can dragons fly? And to breathe fire?
Scientists believe that the armor needed to protect the lizards from their relatives. Examining the skin of a young monitor lizard the researchers noticed that he has subdermal armor is completely absent. From this it follows that it develops only in adulthood, when the giant lizards begin to quarrel with each other for territory. Honestly, sounds pretty boring — would be better if armor was meant to protect from the fabulous knights who came to rescue the Princess from captivity in the “dragon” tower.
Cool, right? Let's find an interesting video with the lizards and discuss them in our Telegram chat?
Jokes aside, lizards are truly amazing creatures. In addition to its strength, bloodlust and security, they are an interesting composition of their blood. The study of 2017 have proven that it contains substances that can be used to create a new type of antibiotics. To read more about this in our material.