New lizard species fossils found in Spain

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Scientists have discovered the fossilised remains of a new species of lizard that lived 125 million years ago in the northern Spanish province of Burgos.

New lizard species fossils found in Spain
Vertebrae belonging to Arcanosaurus ibericus [Credit: Cretaceous Research]

The find was made in the Salas de los Infantes dinosaur fossil bed, the director of the town’s Dinosaur Museum, Fidel Torcida, announced on Monday.

At a press conference – and accompanied by part of the international team that participated in the research, which was published in Cretaceous Research magazine – Torcida explained that this is the oldest example in the Varanoidea super family of lizards, which includes, among its best-known living members, the so-called Komodo dragon.

The research was undertaken by an international team comprised of Alexandra Houssaye of the University of Bonn; Jean-Claude Rage and Nathalie Bardet of the Museum of Natural History in Paris; Xavier Pereda of the University of the Basque Country, and the Salas de los Infantes paleoarchaeological collective.

The new species has been named Arcanosaurus ibericus and the research was carried out on 29 vertebrae found in the 1990s and donated to the Dinosaur Museum, where the fossils had remained as “unclassified jewels” awaiting study, Torcida said.

Nathalie Bardet said that the vertebrae belong to an animal 1.5 metres long and they display a combination of characteristics not found in other examples of the Varanoidea.

The microanatomical research the team performed showed the absence of adaptations for an aquatic existence, thus leading to the conclusion that the animal lived on land.

Source: SBS [March 05, 2013]

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