Chapter

Evolutionary History and Phylogeny

Eric R. Pianka and Laurie J. Vitt

in Lizards

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780520234017
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939912 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520234017.003.0001
Evolutionary History and Phylogeny

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This chapter discusses the origin and diversification of lizards. Lizards and snakes form a monophyletic assemblage, a clade, known as Squamata. Understanding squamate evolution requires consideration of their closest relatives, their sister group Rhynchocephalia, which contains some fossils and two species of tuatara, genus Sphenodon, found only on offshore islands of New Zealand. Among the oldest and most primitive possible relatives of lizards are the paliguanids. The occurrence of paliguanid fossils in South Africa and Australia suggests that lizards arose in Gondwana.

Keywords: lizards; snakes; Squamata; Rhynchocephalia; Sphenodon; paliguanids

Chapter.  3605 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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