The Western Australia Museum has announced the discovery of a new species of goanna lizard. The lizard species was discovered in the Kimberley region of Australia. The lizard weighs barely 16 grams is now included in the list of 1, 000 species of reptiles that the continent boasts of.
The name of the new species is “Dampier Peninsula Goanna”. The newly found species is only found on the peninsula of Broome and derby in Western Australia. The scientific name of the new species discovered is Varanus Sparnus.
It is the smallest of the Varanus lizard, a genus that has 77 species. The new Goanna lizard is the 78th in its list. This genus of lizard consists of many large-bodied species like the Australian desert-dwelling Perentie or the Varanus Giganteus and the most famous Komodo Dragon or the Varanus Komodoensis. The latter is from Indonesia and over 3 meters long. In contrast to all the species of Varanus lizards, the newly discovered goanna lizard is just 23cm long and weighs as much as 16 grams.
The new species of lizard was discovered by consultants Roy Teale and Greg Harold of Biota Environmental Sciences. They undertook the survey in that region itself. The new species discovered was classified by Dr Paul Doughty who is the Curator of Reptiles at the Western Australia Museum.
The discovery of the new species of lizard raises hope that there might be many more species yet to be discovered by the scientists. Presently, a female goanna lizard has been put up at the WA Museum for display. It is named Pokey. It may look like just another lizard, but it is an evolutionary marvel – the one that remained unchained for the last six million years.
According to Dr. Doughty, “We estimate from the genetic information [that the species] diverged roughly about the same time that chimpanzees diverged from human beings.”