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Jucaraseps, tiniest Cretaceous lizard from Spain



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


Not a dinosaur but a potential prey item for juvenile theropods in the
new issue of Palaeontology....


BOLET, A. and EVANS, S. E. (2012)
A tiny lizard (Lepidosauria, Squamata) from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain.
Palaeontology 55: 491–500.
doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2012.01145.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4983.2012.01145.x/abstract

Abstract:
The smallest living amniotes are all lizards, but the fossil history
of this size trait in Squamata is difficult to follow because small
skeletons have low preservation potential and are often hard to detect
in the field. A new squamate taxon, Jucaraseps grandipes gen. et sp.
nov., is here described on the basis of an articulated skeleton from
the Early Cretaceous Spanish lagerstätten of Las Hoyas. It differs
from other known Mesozoic lizards in combining very small body size
with a short rostrum, low maxillary tooth count, a relatively slender
and elongated body, and short limbs with large hind feet. Phylogenetic
analysis using TNT places it on the stem of a clade encompassing
scincomorphs, gekkotans, snakes, amphisbaenians and anguimorphs.
Comparison with modern lizards suggests it was probably a cryptic
surface or subsurface ground dweller but not a burrower.