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Night of the New Papers

Seemed apropos for a couple new lepidosaur papers:

First, that seriously gorgeous little iguanian from the Gobi finally gets a name and description (_Saichangurvel_) and reveals the existence of a clade of Asian iguanians (Gobiguania):

Conrad, J.L., and Norell, M.A. 2007. A complete Late Cretaceous iguanian (Squamata, Reptilia) from the Gobi and identification of a new iguanian clade. American Museum Novitates 3584:1-47. doi: 10.1206/0003-0082(2007)3584[1:ACLCIS]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: Iguania is a diverse clade with an incompletely known fossil record. Here, we describe and name the earliest iguanian known from a complete skeleton. The specimen (IGM 3/858) comes from Ukhaa Tolgod (Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia) and offers important insights into the evolutionary history of iguanian osteology. The new taxon is diagnosed by a combination of character states, including the presence of a frontoparietal fontanelle, absence of an enlarged nuchal fossa, and unflared tooth crowns. We performed a cladistic analysis including 54 taxa scored for 202 informative morphological characters. A strict consensus of 46 shortest recovered trees reveals that the new taxon is a basal member of a previously unidentified clade of Cretaceous iguanians, probably endemic to the Gobi. This clade of Gobi iguanians is nested within a monophyletic Pleurodonta (non-acrodontan iguanians).

Then another Late Cretaceous sphenodontian pops up in Argentina:

Apesteguía, S., and Rougier, G.W. 2007. A late Campanian sphenodontid maxilla from northern Patagonia. American Museum Novitates 3581:1-11. doi: 10.1206/0003-0082(2007)3581[1:ALCSMF]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: At the end of the Early Cretaceous the once abundant sphenodontians vanished from the Laurasian record and were thought to have become virtually extinct, with the sole exception of Sphenodon, the living tuatara. Recent findings of large and abundant eilenodontine sphenodontids in the Early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) and fragmentary material from other lineages from Late Campanian outcrops of Patagonia, Argentina, have demonstrated that sphenodontids constituted an important component of the Late Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems in South America and possibly Gondwana. Although eilenodontine and possibly sapheosaurine sphenodontids are present in the Late Cretaceous of Gondwana, they were only part of an unknown southern radiation. We report here on a new sphenodontid, Lamarquesaurus cabazai, n. gen. et sp., which is represented by an incomplete right maxilla that represents a previously unknown non-eilenodontine lineage and illustrates the diversity and role of sphenodontians in the tetrapod communities of the Late Mesozoic of South America.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jerry D. Harris Director of Paleontology Dixie State College Science Building 225 South 700 East St. George, UT 84770 USA Phone: (435) 652-7758 Fax: (435) 656-4022 E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu and dinogami@gmail.com http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/


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