Research website of Dr Gilbert Price

The Ice Age Lizards of Oz

Komodo Dragons once stalked Australia (credit: Bryan Fry / Gilbert Price)

Komodo Dragons once stalked Australia (credit: Bryan Fry / Gilbert Price)

There’s an old joke in reference to the wildlife in Australia that “everything is trying to kill you”. While that might be a fun way to scare tourists, there is no joking about the murderous killer lizards of the last Ice Age. In fact, we have just uncovered the first fossils to show that those huge lizards were still stalking the bush when the indigenous people migrated from South-East Asia to the Australian continent.

Imagine being one of those first human inhabitants of Australia. It’s around 50,000 years ago, and you’ve just finished a most extraordinary sea journey from tropical South-East Asia. You’ve already said goodbye to your family and friends and are about to begin life in a foreign southern land where the climate, landscape, vegetation and animals are completely different. It’s a scary enough image as it is, but throw in the giant predators of the last Ice Age and that image becomes truly terrifying…


Read the full article in the April 2016 issue of the pop-science magazine, Australasian Science. This write-up is based off an earlier technical publication from my research team:

Price, Gilbert J., Louys, J., Cramb, J., Feng, Y.x., Zhao, J.x., Hocknull, S.A., Webb, G.E., Nguyen, A.D., Joannes-Boyau, R. 2015. Temporal overlap of humans and giant lizards (Varanidae; Squamata) in Pleistocene Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 125(1): 98-105. Available here:

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Gilbert Price

Vertebrate palaeontologist at The University of Queensland
Gilbert has diverse research interests that include the study of Ice Age megafauna extinctions, climate and human impacts on coral reefs, and development of new fossil dating methods.

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