How to translate text using browser tools
1 May 2017 First Crocodile-Tailed Lizard (Squamata: Pan-Shinisaurus) from the Paleogene Of Europe
Krister T. Smith
Author Affiliations +

Crocodile-tailed lizards are represented by a single extant species, Shinisaurus crocodilurus, the Chinese crocodile lizard, which until 2006 was completely unknown in the fossil record. These lizards may play an important role in understanding squamate phylogeny, but their biogeographic history remains murky. A new specimen from the middle Eocene of Messel, Germany, is the first record of the clade in the Paleogene of Europe. The specimen comprises an autotomized tail preserved in complete articulation. It retains a number of plesiomorphies with respect to S. crocodilurus, and it also differs from the coeval species Bahndwivici ammoskius, but comparisons with other shinisaurs are necessarily limited. The present specimen documents for the first time in the fossil record the superficially crocodile-like tail for which the extant species is named, indicating aquatic adaptation already by the middle Eocene. It furthermore raises questions about the identification of isolated ‘necrosaur' material from the European Paleogene. Finally, it adds to growing evidence of a taxonomically similar squamate fauna in Europe and North America in the early Paleogene.

© by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Krister T. Smith "First Crocodile-Tailed Lizard (Squamata: Pan-Shinisaurus) from the Paleogene Of Europe," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 37(3), (1 May 2017).
Received: 1 November 2016; Accepted: 1 January 2017; Published: 1 May 2017
Get copyright permission
Back to Top