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Tuatara (living fossil)

> >>>>> On Wed, 22 Mar 1995 16:45:54 -0500, Tom Holtz
> >>>>> <tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov> said:
> >> The tuatara appears, from first glance, to be the most primitive (i.e.,
> >> least derived) reptile alive.  In fact, recent discoveries show that it is
> >> a secondarily "primitive" animal, having ancestors with a more derived
> >> anatomical condition.
 Jim Foley  asked:

> To the lay-person, tuatatas look like a lizard.  Are lizards in fact
> their closest relatives?

The tuataras (there are now 2 species recognised) are the lepidosaur outgroup
to the squamata (lizards & snakes), so all lizards and snakes are more closely
related to each other than they are to the tuatara.  I don't think there is
sufficient information to say that any particular group of squamates is the
closest to the tuataras.  Remember that lizards (all squamates except snakes)
is not a true clade, as certain lizards are more closely related to snakes than
to certain other lizards. Opinions differ as to which lizards are the closest
to snakes. Hope this helps.

Tony Canning