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Re: lizard jaws



At 01:40 PM 13/02/96 -0500, King, Norm wrote:
>We all know about the remarkable spreadable jaws of snakes that allow 
>them to swallow items larger around than themselves.  To what extent can 
>lizards do the same thing?  Of course, insectivorous lizards wouldn't 
>have to at all, nor would the herbivores.  But are there any carnivores, 
>among the varanids perhaps, that can also spread their jaws (and to what 
>extent)?
>
>Thanks in advance for any replies.


My observations lead me to say no.  From what I've seen of varanids, they
tend to use their sharp (and god-oh-so-dirty) teeth to tear swallowable
chunks off carcasses.  Komodo dragons certainly can swallow young deer, but
I humbly submit that the power of their jaws makes the crushing of bones a
simple matter for them.  At best I might give you the possibility of
de-articulation of the jaw from the skull, but this would compromise the
strength of the bite, a main weapon of the varanid lizard.  I would further
put it that there may be prey size selection at work.

Corrections please.

Graeme.
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