Philippine Giant Monitor Lizard

VaranusBitatawa01An international team of scientist from the US, Philippines, and The Netherlands, discovered a new species of giant monitor lizard recently which they named the Varanus bitatawa (photo right). It lives in the forests of the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Philippines.

This giant of the forest reaches up to 2 m (nearly 6.5 feet) long. Compare that to a Komodo dragon, also a monitor lizard, who can measure up to 3 m (nearly 10 feet) and weigh up to 90 kg (around 190 lbs).

This new species has dark skin highlighted with yellow spots and flecks. Its legs are mostly yellow while its long tail sports black and yellow stripes. The scientists believe this lizard is another fruit eater.

The native tribes people, the Agta and Ilongot who live in the same forests, have hunted this lizard for the excellent source of protein it provides.

The article I read quoted one of the scientists, Dr. Rafe Brown as saying, “It is an incredible animal.” The scientists continued by remarking how rare it is to find such a large terrestrial animal new to science. They speculated that it took so long for science to find because the lizard is naturally reclusive.

Really? The article’s author postulated that the reason may be that too few scientific explorations of the area included studying the lizards. I think the problem is more far-reaching. We simply don’t have enough scientists to study the entire world. At least not fast enough before some of these things go extinct.

ListenToNativesBut I ask you, how many other creatures are seen by people native to a particular area, yet in the Western world we refuse to believe them? How often do we say, well, they were just seeing things, or they probably saw a bear/moose/fill-in-the-blank?

I find it very tiresome. Let’s try to keep an open mind – the world is huge , the universe even bigger.  Let’s respect other peoples’ knowledge and enjoy the journey of discovery ourselves.

Til the next time, friends!

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