Scientists reported the “spectacular” discovery a previously unknown species of fruit-eating lizard as big as a full-grown man.AFP
A komodo dragon is seen in the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. A newly discovered Indonesian relative of the dragon grows to gigantic proportions -- and has two penises.GambitMG / Wikipedia
A newly discovered relative of Indonesia's famous komodo dragon grows to gigantic proportions -- and has two penises, according to biologists.
The secretive but brightly-colored beast, a monitor lizard, is a close cousin of the komodo dragon and grows as long as a full-grown man is tall. But unlike the fearsome dragon, it is not a carnivore, nor does it feast on rotting meat.
Instead, it is entirely peaceable and tucks into fruit.
Dubbed Varanus bitatawa, the lizard measures two meters in length, according to the account, published by Britain's Royal Society. It was found in a river valley on northern Luzon Island in the Philippines, surviving loss of habitat and hunting by local people who use it for food.
Males have a double penis, called hemipenes, also found in some snakes and other lizards. The two penises are often used in alternation, and sometimes contain spines or hooks that serve to anchor the male within the female during intercourse.
How many of the lizards have survived is unclear.
The species is almost certainly critically endangered, and might well have disappeared entirely without ever being catalogued had a large male specimen not been rescued alive from a hunter last June.
Finding such a distinctive species in a heavily populated, highly deforested location "comes as an unprecedented surprise," note the authors, writing in the journal Biology Letters.
The only finds of comparable importance in recent decades are the Kipunji monkey, which inhabits a tiny range of forest in Tanzania, and the Saola, a forest-dwelling bovine found only in Vietnam and Laos.
For more details on the strange creature, see News.com.au.