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Planet Earth

Debating the Dragon

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerMay 19, 2009 2:54 AM

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komodo.jpg

Readers of the Loom may be familiar with the work of Bryan Fry, who studies the evolution of snake venom. (See these two previous posts on his work.) I've got an article in tomorrow's New York Times about his latest paper, to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In it, Fry and a big team of collaborators argue that Komodo dragons, the biggest lizards on Earth, are venomous. (There wasn't room in the story to describe their argument that an extinct relative of Komodos that measured 21 feet long, was venomous too.) Provocative stuff, to be sure, and certainly not universally embraced by other researchers. I got some highly spicy quotes from critics. Check it out. (PS: When the paper is put online this week, you'll be able find it here: http://www.pnas.org/lookup/doi/10.1073/pnas.0810883106 )

[Image from Wikipedia]

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