Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dragons do spit fire!

Chemicals in Dragon’s Glands Stir Venom Debate

As if the Komodo Dragon could not get any more fascinating (and terrifying), some scientists are claiming that they are poisonous:

...a provocative paper to be published this week, an international team of scientists argues that the Komodo dragon is even more impressive. They claim that the lizards use a potent venom to bring down their victims...

The fact that these lizards can bring down large prey, such as pigs and water buffalo, has been attributed to their highly infectious bite. After biting a large animal, all the lizard would have to do is play a morbid waiting game. The prey would stagger off, later to keel over sick, then succumb to infection. However, some scientists have always questioned that scenario. Recently, an examination of the heads of several Dragons that died in captivity was revealing:

...The researchers found the second set of glands in the Komodo dragon heads, and inside they found venomlike proteins. Tests showed that one protein keeps blood from clotting. Another one relaxes blood vessel walls...

These scientists are claiming that this one-two punch--rapid blood loss and drop in blood pressure--is what causes prey to collapse soon after a bite. But some scientists are not so sure, as one points out:

"...I guarantee that if you had a 10-foot lizard jump out of the bushes and rip your guts out, you’d be somewhat still and quiet for a bit,” he said, “at least until you keeled over from shock and blood loss owing to the fact that your intestines were spread out on the ground in front of you...”

Heh! Point well taken. I think the jury is still out as to whether this Dragon spits fire.


Anonymous said...

Ah, nature never ceases to amaze!

It's been a while. Hope you're doing well.

genexs said...

Heya! Yeah, it's been a bit. Been busy starting up a Pagan business, of all things! Thanx for commenting, will try to post more.

Anonymous said...

A pagan business? Well, you'll have to divulge the details sometime!