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Giant lizard species discovered in the Philippines

A close look at the giant Varanus bitatawaA new species of giant lizard has been discovered in the Philippines. The 2m-long reptile is a monitor lizard, the group to which the world's longest and largest lizards belong.

The monitor, described as spectacular by the scientists who found it, lives in forests covering the Sierra Madre mountains in the north of the country.  The striking reptile has bright yellow, blue and green skin, and survives on a diet of just fruit, yet until now it has escaped the eyes of biologists.

"It is an incredible animal," says Dr Rafe Brown, one of the scientists who describe the new lizard in the journal Biology Letters. In the journal, the researchers describe how rare it is to find such a large terrestrial animal new to science.

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