As with other varanids, Komodo dragons have only a single ear bone, the stapes, for transferring vibrations from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea.
This arrangement means they are likely restricted to sounds in the 400 to 2,000 hertz range, compared to humans who hear between 20 and 20,000 hertz.
It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite; there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins.
It can distinguish colours, but has poor visual discrimination of stationary objects.
However, recent fossil evidence from Queensland suggests the Komodo dragon actually evolved in Australia before spreading to Indonesia.
Dramatic lowering of sea level during the last glacial period uncovered extensive stretches of continental shelf that the Komodo dragon colonised, becoming isolated in their present island range as sea levels rose afterwards.
They take 8 to 9 years to mature, and are estimated to live up to 30 years.
Widespread notoriety came after 1912, when Peter Ouwens, the director of the Zoological Museum at Bogor, Java, published a paper on the topic after receiving a photo and a skin from the lieutenant, as well as two other specimens from a collector.