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Cretaceous lizards preserved in amber (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


An open access paper in Science Advances:

Juan D. Daza, Edward L. Stanley, Philipp Wagner, Aaron M. Bauer and
David A. Grimaldi (2016)
Mid-Cretaceous amber fossils illuminate the past diversity of tropical lizards.
Science Advances  2(3): e1501080
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501080
http: // advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/3/e1501080
http: // advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/2/3/e1501080.full.pdf

Modern tropical forests harbor an enormous diversity of squamates, but
fossilization in such environments is uncommon and little is known
about tropical lizard assemblages of the Mesozoic. We report the
oldest lizard assemblage preserved in amber, providing insight into
the poorly preserved but potentially diverse mid-Cretaceous
paleotropics. Twelve specimens from the Albian-Cenomanian boundary of
Myanmar (99 Ma) preserve fine details of soft tissue and osteology,
and high-resolution x-ray computed tomography permits detailed
comparisons to extant and extinct lizards. The extraordinary
preservation allows several specimens to be confidently assigned to
groups including stem Gekkota and stem Chamaleonidae. Other taxa are
assignable to crown clades on the basis of similar traits. The
detailed preservation of osteological and soft tissue characters in
these specimens may facilitate their precise phylogenetic placement,
making them useful calibration points for molecular divergence time
estimates and potential keys for resolving conflicts in higher-order
squamate relationships.

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News:

http: // 
news.ufl.edu/articles/2016/03/worlds-oldest-chameleon-found-in-amber-fossil.php

http: // www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35718404

http: // www.livescience.com/53948-lizards-trapped-in-ancient-amber.html


http: // 
www.smithsonianmag.com/articles/pint-sized-lizards-trapped-amber-give-clues-life-100-million-years-ago-180958284/?no-ist