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Re: Megalania question - DNA
Molnar also goes into great detail into the tail length problem, and how widely ranging these results can be depending on length estimates. He mentioned that if _Megalania prisca_ had a tail that was 2.3 times bodylength, like in _V.varius_ then the largest specimen would have clocked in around 7.9 meters. If, as Hecht suggested, the tail was half SVL, then the largest individual would have been 5.2 meters.
However, since no living monitor shows a tail that is less than SVL, this latter estimate is probably wrong. In the end Molnar assumed a tail length that was equal to body length (like in oras), which resulted in a 7 meter individual.
It'd be interesting to compare the proportion of total length the tail makes
up with total mass in a range of living varanids, to see whether there's a
nice neat relationship (tails getting proportionally shorter as mass gets
bigger, for instance). If there is a nice neat trend, then scaling up to
Megalania-size might then result in a tail that is less than the
Of course in the absence of actual fossil material, it's still just another
method of interpolation.
GIS / Archaeologist http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com