Australian Giant Monitor

Unknown Lizard of Australia.

Variant names: Burrunjor (in Northern Territory), Mungoon-galli, Murra murri (in the Blue Mountains), Whowie (in Riverina).

Physical description: Length, 20-30 feet or more.

Behavior: Attacks cattle. Distribution: Northern New South Wales; Arnhem Land, Northern Territory; Cape York, Queensland.

Significant sightings: In 1975, a group of bushwalkers found large tracks and tail marks at the edge of the Wallangambe Wilderness in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

AUSTRALIAN GIANT MONITOR 27

On December 27, 1975, a farmer near Cess-nock, New South Wales, saw a bulky, 30-foot monitor lizard moving through scrub brush. It was mottled gray in color, with dark stripes along the back and tail, and stood 3 feet off the ground.

In early 1979, herpetologist Frank Gordon was driving his Land Rover in the Wattagan Mountains in New South Wales south of Canberra when he saw a reptile 27-30 feet long by the side of the road. It rose up and ran away on all four legs into the neighboring woods.

In July 1979, cryptozoologist Rex Gilroy was called to a freshly plowed field by a farmer. Across the field were thirty or so tracks that seemed to have been made by an enormous lizard. While most of the tracks had been ruined by rain, Gilroy was able to make a plaster cast of one that had been preserved. P^ossible explanations:

(1) The Perentie (Varanusgiganteus), Australia's largest lizard, grows to 8 feet long; some individuals might attain 10 feet. It is cream-colored, with dark-brown speckles, and it occurs from western Queensland to the coast of Western Australia.

(2) Surviving Megalania prisca, a 15- to 21-foot lizard that lived in central Australia in the Pliocene and Pleistocene (2 mil-lion-20,000 years ago). At 1,300 pounds, it weighed ten times as much as the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and was probably an active predator and scavenger. Its teeth were nearly 1 inch long. At least some specimens had a sagittal crest. Sources: Rex Gilroy, "Cessnock's Fantastic 30 Ft. Lizard Monsters," Strange Phenomena and Psychic Australian, March 1979, at http://www.internetezy.com.au/~mj129/ strangephenomenonr.html; Rex Gilroy, "Australia's Lizard Monsters," Fortean Times, no. 37 (Spring 1982): 32-33; Rex Gilroy, "Giant Lizards of the Australian Bush," Australasian Ufologist 4, no. 4 (2000): 17-20.

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