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A Pleistocene amphisbaenian from Sicily

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Recent analysis of the fossil herpetofauna recovered from the latest Middle or earliest Late Pleistocene layers of the site called "K 22" (San Vito Lo Capo, TP, Sicily) revealed the presence of a single vertebra that unquestionably belongs to the order Amphisbaenia. Although it is not possible to assign it at family level, the presence of an undetermined amphisbaenian in the Pleistocene of Sicily represents the last European occurrence of this order outside the present range corroborating the idea that the modern Italian herpetofauna is relatively impoverished if compared to the Pleistocene one, and that this loss of biodiversity not only affected the peninsula but its islands also.


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