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Taking the maximal 7 m (23 ft) length, he estimated a weight of 1,940 kg (4,280 lb), with a leaner 320 kg (710 lb) being average.Megalania is the largest terrestrial lizard known to have existed.

Unless other Australian monitor species were each also classified their own exclusive genera, Megalania would not be a valid genus name.However, Molnar noted that "megalania" is suitable for use as a vernacular, rather than scientific name, for the species Varanus priscus.A study published in 2009 utilizing Wroe's earlier size estimates and an analysis of 18 closely related lizard species estimated a sprinting speed of 2.6–3 m/s (9.4–10.8 km/h).This speed is comparable to that of the extant freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni).One of the assumed closely related species to megalania are the Komodo dragons.

A recent finding was that they are one of the few large animals to actually exhibit parthenogenesis, assexual reproduction.Several studies have attempted to establish the phylogenetic position of megalania within the Varanidae.An affinity with the perentie, Australia's largest living lizard, has been suggested based on skull-roof morphology.This would rapidly decrease the prey's blood pressure and lead to systemic shock.Being a member of Anguimorpha, megalania may have been venomous and if so, would be the largest venomous vertebrate known.Owen introduced the genus Megalania to accommodate the species Megalania prisca.