from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any lizard of the genus Varanus
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Yes there was a varanid on New Caledonia, it's been mentioned by Michael Balouet in his books and papers a few times, and is also mentioned in Flannery's The Future Eaters.
It seems the snake-varanid relationship is close to clinched now.
Skeletons of these extinct varanid lizards have been found at dinosaur nesting sites, indicating that these ancient lizards made their living by raiding nests, just as modern monitors do today.
Based on these similarities, some herpetologists have theorized that an ancient group of varanid lizards began to follow a burrowing way of life, tunneling through loose dirt and sand in search of earthworms and other prey, just as some lizards do today.
My speculation would be that venom first appeared in varanid snake ancestors as a way of disabling fish before they could swim away.
The bioactivities we’ve demonstrated for varanid venom so far are the same sorts that have been previously shown as useful for prey capture in snakes.