Giant prehistoric lizards likely roamed Earth during the same time as humans, according to recent research. And, for the first time, scientists believe they have the evidence to confirm that people should be considered a factor in their extinction along with climate change.
These revised historical views are based on the discovery of a tiny bone, about a third of an inch long, which was found buried deep in a cave in Australia.
The fossil has been dated to roughly 50,000 years ago which is about the time the first Aborigines inhabited the continent. The fragment has also been identified as a part of the reptile’s under-skin body armor, and despite the small size, researchers have determined that it likely belonged a large predator.
Candidates include a now-extinct species, which grew to nearly 20 feet long, and a Komodo Dragon. One of the researchers has pointed out that Komodos were common around Australia and may have even evolved there around 3.5 million years ago.
Scientists are not sure how the bone ended up in the cave, though it does contain many bone remnants deposited by owls.