Gallotia goliath is an extinct giant lizard species from the island of Tenerife of the Canary Islands, Spain. This reptile lived before the arrival of humans and is believed to have grown to at least three feet long. It was described by the German herpetologist Robert Mertens. Fossils of this lizard have been found in volcanic caves, where they often appear with other animals, like Canariomys bravoi (the Tenerife giant rat).
Prehistoric Gallotia remains have been assigned to the taxa G. maxima and G. goliath, the former supposedly occurring only on Tenerife, the latter on several islands. It was eventually determined, however, that G. maxima is a junior synonym of G. goliath, and that the latter was close to G. simonyi; supposed goliath specimens from El Hierro, La Gomera, and La Palma (from the Cuevas de los Murciélagos) are probably just extremely large individuals of, respectively, G. simonyi, G. bravoana, and G. auaritae (Barahona et al. 2000). Based on DNA sequence analysis of mummified remains, G. goliath is a valid species that probably was restricted to Tenerife, and apparently was closer to G. intermedia than to G. simonyi (Maca-Meyer et al. 2003).
- Barahona et al., p. 381
- Barahona, F.; Evans, S. E.; Mateo, J.A.; García-Márquez, M. & López-Jurado, L.F. (2000): Endemism, gigantism and extinction in island lizards: the genus Gallotia on the Canary Islands. J. Zool. 250(3): 373-388. doi:10.1017/S0952836900003101 (HTML abstract)
- Maca-Meyer, N.; Carranza, S.; Rando, J.C.; Arnold, E.N. & Cabrera, V.M. (2003): Status and relationships of the extinct giant Canary Island lizard Gallotia goliath (Reptilia: Lacertidae), assessed using ancient mtDNA from its mummified remains. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 80(4): 659–670. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2003.00265.x (HTML abstract)