New Monitor Lizard [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36202290/ns/technology_and_science-science]

Dragon-sized lizard eluded science, until now

Spectacularly colored new species of monitor lizard found in the Philippines

Image: A Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard
A dragon-sized, fruit-eating lizard that lives in the trees on the northern Philippines island of Luzon has been confirmed as a new species, scientists reported on Tuesday.

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Reuters
By Charles Q. Choi

A giant, spectacularly colored new species of monitor lizard has just been revealed to scientists in the Philippines.

The reptile, which is roughly 6 feet long (1.8 meters), is kin to Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizards. Named Varanus bitatawa, this newly discovered species, decorated in stripes of gold flecks and armed with huge, curved claws for climbing trees, is one of only three fruit-eating monitor species in the world.

New to science, not residents
As humans continue to explore the last uncharted regions of the planet, discoveries of previously unknown species of large vertebrates have become rare. It remains doubly surprising this reptile managed to escape the attention of the many biologists that work on the heavily populated island of Luzon.

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