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Re: Varanids and their relatives



Several fossil taxa, including most notably_Cherminotus
longifrons_ Borsuk-Bialynicka, 1984 and _Aiolosaurus
oriens_ Gao & Norell, 2000, fall within Varanoidea.
Though the detailed anatomy is of course distinct, what is
known of these taxa looks superficially monitor-like.
_Cherminotus_ has been suggested to be particularly close
to _Lanthanotus_ (e.g., Lee 1997) but this hasn't been
supported by more recent data. _Palaeosaniwa_ has been
suggested to be a varanoid (e.g., Gao & Norell 1998, 2000)
or even varanid (Gao & Fox 1996) but Balsai (2001, phd
thesis) has shown that it was a (possibly venomous) stem-
group monstersaurian. _Saniwa_ has also been included
within Varanoidea by some authors but Caldwell has shown
that the type material is referable to the xenosaurid
_Restes_. Several other taxa at times suggested to be
varanoids or varanids, including _Parasaniwa_,
_Proplatynotia_, _Saniwides_ and _Eosaniwa_, have
proven difficult to place within Platynota but seem to
mostly lie near the base of this radiation (Gao & Norell
1998).

Does this mean that there never were varanoids in the Americas?