"Dragons" live in Indonesia and under their skin there is a layer of armor

Many fabulous creatures have realprototypes - for example, in the world there are lizards that are very similar to dragons. No, they cannot spew flame from their mouths, but they have a frightening forked tongue, strong muscles, natural bloodthirstiness and have been known to people since very ancient times. These “dragons” are Komodo lizards who live on some Indonesian islands and often attack people for which were called by the locals in honor of the fabulous monsters. It sounds really scary and cool, but these creatures recently surprised scientists with another feature - a thick layer of armor was found under their skin, designed to protect against heavy blows.

Komodo dragons are much better protected than previously thought.

For the first time about the presence of a protective layer of skin in the monitor lizardsIt became known in 1928. Then a naturalist named William Douglas Byrden mentioned in his notes that poachers began to catch giant lizards in order to sell their skin, but it had no value. The fact is that under it there is a layer of many small bones that are able to protect the body of the monitor lizards from heavy blows and bites and complicates the cutting of the skin. Since then, the natural lizard armor was of little interest to scientists, but recently researchers from the US state of Texas decided to carefully study it.

The largest lizards are protected by a thick layer of armor.

The skin of giant lizards is pretty hard to gettherefore, scientists asked for help from local zoos. The body of a 19-year-old monitor lord who died in 2013 was provided by a zoo located in the Texas city of Fort Worth. The owners of the menagerie of the city of San Antonio gave scientists the body of a baby monitor lizard, who died only a few days ago before the start of the study.

Tomography of the head of a Komodo lizard

Having got at the disposal of the body of "dragons",a team of scientists studied them using a tomographic apparatus. The adult monitor lizard was so huge that only his head got into the apparatus, but this was enough to reveal interesting structural features of his body. Under his skin, the researchers really found a layer of many hard bones that can protect him from the head to the tip of the tail.

How are crocodiles and other reptiles protected?

These tiny bones in a scientific language are known asosteoderma or secondary skin ossifications. They were among many extinct reptiles, as well as in dinosaurs. Today they are especially well developed among crocodiles and play an important role both in protection and in the regulation of heat within the body. But for what the lizards need a protective layer of skin, because these formidable predators cannot have enemies - they are able to catch and tear apart any predator to shreds.

This is interesting: Can dragons fly? And breathe fire?

Scientists are sure that armor is needed for monitor lizardsprotection from their relatives. After examining the skin of a young monitor lizard, researchers noticed that he had no subcutaneous armor. It follows from this that it develops only in adulthood, when giant lizards begin to war with each other for territory. To be honest, it sounds pretty boring - it would be better if the armor was intended to be protected from the fabulous knights who came to save the princess from being imprisoned in the "dragon" tower.

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Jokes jokes but lizards reallyamazing creatures. In addition to their strength, bloodthirstiness and security, they are interesting in the composition of their blood. A 2017 study proved that it contains substances that can be used to create a new type of antibiotic. Read more about this in our material.