Varanus prisca was originally described in a separate genus (Megalania) before being moved to Varanus.

Varanus prisca is now recognised as a close relative of the living Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis).

Varanus prisca can be distinguished from other monitor lizards by various features of the skeleton including

  • subtle features of the brain case 
  • low spines on its trunk vertebrae
  • enormous body size.


In many respects, Varanus prisca would have looked like a larger version of a Komodo dragon, with a

  • large, flattened head
  • bulky body 
  • long powerful tail
  • jaw lined with sharp serrated teeth