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Re: gums

That would appear to be standard for goannas generally. Goannas (or
varanids) generally are not a "toothy" creature. The teeth are the primary
eating tool (along with various necrotising bacteria in the larger ones like
Goulds, Perentie and the Nile - not to mention tne Komodo), but they are not
a 'threat' device as with, say, crocs. Their mouths are generally a pale
colour and the gaping is done to frighten off intruders with the display of
"aberrent" sickly colouring and hissing. The claws are FAR more lethal to
non-prey victims (like people). Generally, when goannas 'bluff' the teeth
are all but invisible. A great rendition of Megalania adorns the dust cover
of "Wildlife of Gondwana" by Tom Rich and Pat Vickers-Rich.


----- Original Message -----
From: "James Farlow" <farlow@ipfw.edu>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>; <vrtpaleo@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 12:46 AM
Subject: gums

> I'm advising a paleoartist who is working on a life restoration of
> _Megalania_, and a question has come up.  In Auffenberg's (1981) book
> about Komodo dragons, he noted that the gums are so thick that they
> cover about 2/3 the length of the tooth crowns.  Does anybody out there
> know how general this is in big varanids?  Anybody know of published
> photos of these lizards with their mouths open, such that one can see
> how much of the teeth are free of the gums?