Google Doodle Celebrates Komodo Dragons and Tests Users’ Knowledge of the Giant Lizards


    Monday’s Google Doodle greeted search engine users with a pop quiz: “How much do you know about Komodo dragons?” The doodle was created in celebration of the 37th anniversary of Komodo National Park and its primary residents, the giant lizards themselves.

    Approximately 39% of people will stop interacting with a website if the pictures take too long to load, but Google’s famous doodles are certainly worth the wait for many people, which makes them perfect avenues for spreading knowledge. This week, the search engine giant decided to use their doodle powers to raise awareness about Komodo dragons.

    Komodo dragons, also known as Komodo monitors, are the largest species of lizard currently living on Earth. They can grow to more than 10 feet in length and weigh almost 150 pounds, effectively making them a fierce reptilian predator.

    If their size wasn’t enough, these lizards have an excellent sense of smell and running speeds of up to four times faster than the average adult walks. They truly are a force to be reckoned with in nature. Despite that, there are only around 4,000 of these reptiles still roaming the Earth today, a good portion of them living in Komodo National Park.

    Their limited numbers make Komodo dragons a protected species, which certainly makes the national park’s anniversary something special to celebrate. But beyond being extraordinary predators, according to researchers from the George Mason University in Virginia, they may be extraordinary in a medical sense as well.

    Komodo dragons have weak jaws, but their bite, in addition to delivering a dose of venom that kills prey by preventing blood from clotting, transfers potentially nasty bacteria. So, it’s a reasonable assumption that Komodo dragons would get sick from biting one another, but they don’t.

    Now, researchers believe that something in these dragons’ blood could hold the key to better antibiotics in the future. The team of Virginia researchers found 48 distinct protein-like compounds in Komodo dragon blood that function specifically to ward off bacteria.

    The study, published in the February edition of The Journal of Proteome Research, detailed eight of the 48 discovered antimicrobial peptides that may be able to fight off some of the pathogens that make humans sick.

    Plenty of work needs to be done for the antibiotics to actually be developed, but this new data is certainly a great jumping-off point for medical researchers. And thanks to Google, more people now know some interesting info about Komodo dragons.

    So while 72% of people don’t scroll past the first page of Google search results, this week’s Komodo dragon doodle ensured that they didn’t have to if they wanted to learn about the giant lizards.