Osteology, phylogeny, and functional morphology of two Jurassic lizard species and the early evolution of scansoriality in geckoes

Tiago R. Simões, Michael W. Caldwell, Randall L. Nydam, Paulina Jiménez-Huidobro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Late Jurassic lizards from Solnhofen, Germany, include some of the oldest known articulated lizard specimens, sometimes including soft tissue preservation. These specimens are thus very important to our understanding of early squamate morphology and taxonomy, and also provide valuable information on squamate phylogeny. Eichstaettisaurus schroederi and Ardeosaurus digitatellus are two of the best-preserved species from that locality, the former being represented by one of the most complete lizard specimen known anywhere in the world from the Jurassic. Despite their relevance to broad questions in squamate evolution, their morphology has never been described in detail, and their systematic placement has been under debate for decades. Here, we provide the first detailed morphological description, species-level phylogeny, and functional morphological evaluation of E. schroederi and A. digitatellus. We corroborate their initial placement as geckoes (stem gekkotans, more specifically), and illustrate a number of climbing adaptations that indicate the early evolution of scansoriality in gekkonomorph lizards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-241
Number of pages26
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume180
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Keywords

  • Ardeosaurus
  • Eichstaettisaurus
  • Germany
  • Lagerstätte
  • Solnhofen
  • Squamata

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