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Tuatara (living fossil)
> >>>>> On Wed, 22 Mar 1995 16:45:54 -0500, Tom Holtz
> >>>>> <email@example.com> 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.