Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The southernmost fossil record of Squamates

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Squamates form a substantial part of the present-day South American herpetofauna, and their fossils constitute an indispensable evidence for understanding the origin and evolution of the main taxa. Squamates are relatively common in Miocene localities of Patagonia, especially in levels of the late early Miocene Santa Cruz Formation. In this contribution, remains of the three species of the extinct iguanid Erichosaurus Ameghino 1899 (E. diminutus, E. bombimaxilla and E. debilis) are redescribed, and new squamate specimens are reported for first time. The genus Erichosaurus is considered invalid. Erichosaurus debilis, E. diminutus and a new specimen are recognized as indeterminate species of the extant polichrotine Pristidactylus, whereas E. bombimaxilla remains as an indeterminate iguanid. Snakes are represented by an indeterminate colubrid. All these specimens, together with a tupinambine teiid previously described for the same formation, represent the southernmost fossil record of squamates in South America and indicate the occurrence of the iguanid Pristidactylus, the teiid Tupinambis and the colubrid snakes south to their present distribution as back as during the early Miocene.

Affiliations: 1: 1Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata-CONICET, Funes 3250, B7602AYJ Mar del Plata, Argentina ; 2: 2División Paleontología Vertebrados, Unidades de Investigación Anexo Museo, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Calle 60 y 122, B1900AVW La Plata, Argentina

*Corresponding author; e-mail:

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Abdala C.S., Acosta J.L., Acosta J.C., Álvarez B.B., Arias F., Avila L.J., Blanco G.M., Bonino M., Boretto J.M., Brancatlli G., Breitman M.F., Cabrera M.R., Cairo S., Corbalán V., Hernando A., Ibargüengoytía N.R., Kacoliris F.P., Laspiur A., Montero R., Morando M., Pelegrin N., Fluvio Pérez C.H., Quinteros A.S., Semhan R.V., Tedesco M.E., Vega L.E., Zabala S.M. (2012): "Categorización del estado de conservación de las lagartijas y anfisbenas de la República Argentina". Cuad. herpetol. Vol 26: 215-247.
2. Albino A.M. (1996a): "The South American fossil Squamata (Reptilia: Lepidosauria)". In: Contributions of Southern South America to Vertebrate Paleontology, A30, p.  185-202. Arratia G., Ed., Münchner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, Munich.
3. Albino A.M. (1996b): "Snakes from the Miocene of Patagonia (Argentina). Part I: the Booidea". N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh. Vol 199: 417-434.
4. Albino A.M. (1996c): "Snakes from the Miocene of Patagonia (Argentina). Part II: the Colubroidae". N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh. Vol 200: 353-360.
5. Albino A.M. (2008): "Lagartos iguanios del Colhuehuapense (Mioceno temprano) de Gaiman (provincia del Chubut, Argentina)". Ameghiniana Vol 45: 775-782.
6. Albino A.M. (2011): "Evolution of Squamata reptiles in Patagonia based on the fossil record". Biol. J. Linn. Soc. Vol 103: 441-457. [Crossref]
7. Albino A.M., Brizuela S. (2014): "An overview of the South American fossil squamates". Anat. Rec. Vol 297: 349-368. [Crossref]
8. Albino A.M., Montalvo C. (2006): "Snakes from the Cerro Azul Formation (Upper Miocene), central Argentina, with a review of fossil viperids from South America". J. Vert. Paleontol. Vol 26: 581-587. [Crossref]
9. Ameghino F. (1893): "Sobre la presencia de vertebrados de aspecto Mesozoico en la Formación Santacruceña de Patagonia austral". Rev. Jardín Zool. Bs. As. Vol 1: 75-84.
10. Ameghino F. (1899): Sinopsis geológico-paleontológica. Segundo Censo Nacional de la República Argentina. Suplemento. Adiciones y Correcciones. Obras Completas, 12, 706 pp.
11. Báez A.M., Gasparini Z. (1977): "Orígenes y evolución de los anfibios y reptiles del Cenozoico de America del Sur". Acta Geol. Lilloana Vol 14: 149-232.
12. Bhullar B.A.S., Smith K.T. (2008): "Helodermatid lizard from the Miocene of Florida, the evolution of the dentary in Helodermatidae, and comments on dentary morphology in Varanoidea". J. Herpet. Vol 42: 286-302. [Crossref]
13. Bown T., Fleagle J. (1993): "Systematics, biostratigraphy, and dental evolution of the Palaothentidae, Later Oligocene to early-middle Miocene (Deseadan-Santacrucian) Caenolestoid marsupials of South America". J. Paleontol. Vol 67: 1-76. [Crossref]
14. Brizuela S., Albino A.M. (2004): "The earliest Tupinambis teiid from South America and its palaeoenvironmental significance". J. Herpetol. Vol 38: 113-119. [Crossref]
15. Brizuela S., Albino A.M. (2008a): "Re-evaluation of the type material of Diasemosaurus occidentalis’ Ameghino and ‘Dibolosodon typicus’ Ameghino (Squamata: Teiidae) from the Miocene of Argentina". J. Vert. Paleontol. Vol 28: 253-257. [Crossref]
16. Brizuela S., Albino A.M. (2008b): "Tupinambine teiids from the middle Miocene of north-western Patagonia (Argentina)". Amph-Reptilia Vol 29: 425-431. [Crossref]
17. Cabrera M.R. (1992): "Dentición y su relación con la dieta y el ambiente entre tres iguánidos sudamericanos". Acta Zool. Lilloana Vol 41: 235-246.
18. Cei J.M. (1986): Reptiles del Centro, Centro-Oeste y Sur de la Argentina. Herpetofauna de Zonas Áridas y Semiáridas. Monogr. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. (Torino), 4, 527 pp.
19. Cei J.M. (1993): Reptiles del Noroeste, Nordeste y Este de la Argentina. Herpetofauna de las Selvas Subtropicales, Puna y Pampas. Monogr. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. (Torino), 14, 949 pp.
20. Cei J.M., Scolaro J.A., Videla F. (2004): "An updated biosystematics approach to the leiosaurid genus Pristidactylus". Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Boll. (Torino) Vol 20: 291-314.
21. Conrad J.L. (2008): "Phylogeny and systematics of Squamata (Reptilia) based on morphology". Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 310: 1-182. [Crossref]
22. Conrad J.L., Rieppel O., Grande L. (2007): "A Green River (Eocene) Polychrotid (Squamata: Reptilia) and a re-examination of iguanian systematics". J. Paleontol. Vol 81: 1365-1373. [Crossref]
23. Daza J.D., Abdala V., Arias J.S., García López D., Ortiz P. (2012): "Cladistic analysis of Iguania and a fossil lizard from the late Pliocene of northwestern Argentina". J. Herpetol. Vol 46: 104-119. [Crossref]
24. Dunn R.E., Madden R.H., Kohn M.J., Schmitz M.D., Strömberg C.A.E., Carlini A.A., G.H., Crowley J. (2013): "A new chronology for middle Eocene – early Miocene South American land mammal ages". Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. Vol 125: 539-555. [Crossref]
25. Edmund A.G. (1960): Tooth Replacement Phenomena in the Lower Vertebrates. Life sci. contrib., R. Ont. Mus., 52, 190 pp. [Crossref]
26. Edmund A.G. (1969): "Dentition". In: Biology of the Reptilia, p.  117-200. Gans C., Parsons T.S., Eds, Academic Press, New York.
27. Estes R. (1983): "Sauria terrestria, Amphisbaenia". In: Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie, Part 10A, p.  1-249. Wellnhofer P., Ed., Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart.
28. Estes R., Báez A.M. (1985): "Herpetofauna of North and South America during the late Cretaceous and Cenozoic: evidence of interchange?" In: The Great American Biotic Interchange, p.  139-197. Stehli F.G., Webb S.B., Eds, Plenum Press, New York. [Crossref]
29. Etheridge R. (1995): "Redescription of Ctenoblepharys adspersa Tschudi, 1845, and the taxonomy of Liolaeminae (Reptilia: Squamata: Tropiduridae)". Am. Mus. Novit. Vol 3142: 1-34.
30. Etheridge R., de Queiroz K. (1988): "A phylogeny of the Iguanidae". In: Phylogenetic Relationships of the Lizard Families: Essays Commemorating Charles L. Camp, p.  283-368. Estes R., Pregill G., Eds, Stanford University Press, Stanford.
31. Etheridge R., Williams E. (1985): "Notes on Pristidactylus (Squamata: Iguania)". Breviora Vol 483: 1-18.
32. Fernicola J.C., Albino A.M. (2012): "Amphibians and squamate reptiles from the Santa Cruz Formation (late Early Miocene), Santa Cruz Province, Argentina: paleoenvironmental and paleobiological considerations". In: Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia: High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation, p.  129-137. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S., Eds, Cambridge University Press, New York. [Crossref]
33. Fernicola J.C., Cuitiño J.I., Vizcaíno S.F., Bargo M.S., Kay R.F. (2014): "Fossil localities of the Santa Cruz Formation (Early Miocene, Patagonia, Argentina) prospected by Carlos Ameghino in 1887 revisited and the location of the Notohippidian". J. South Am. Earth Sci. Vol 52: 94-107. [Crossref]
34. Feruglio E. (1949): Descripción Geológica de la Patagonia. Buenos Aires, Ministerio de Industria y Comercio de La Nación, Dirección General de Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales.
35. Frost D.R., Etheridge R. (1989): "A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata)". Misc. publ. Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 81: 1-65.
36. Frost D.R., Etheridge R., Janies D., Titus T.A. (2001): "Total evidence, sequence alignment, evolution of polychrotid lizards, and a reclassification of the Iguania (Squamata: Iguania)". Am. Mus. Novit. Vol 3343: 1-38. [Crossref]
37. Gasparini Z., de la Fuente M., Donadío O. (1986): "Los Reptiles Cenozoicos de la Argentina: implicancias paleoambientales y evolución biogeográfica". Actas 4to Congr. Arg. Paleontol. y Bioest. Vol 2: 119-130.
38. Gauthier J.A., Kearney M., Maisano J.A., Rieppel O., Behlke A.D.B. (2012): "Assembling the squamate tree of life: perspectives from the phenotype and the fossil record". Bull. Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 53: 3-308. [Crossref]
39. Kay R., Vizcaíno S., Bargo S. (2012): "A review of the paleoenvironment and paleoecology of the Miocene Santa Cruz Formation". In: Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia: High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation, p.  331-365. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S., Eds, Cambridge University Press, New York. [Crossref]
40. Lee M.S.Y., Scanlon J.D. (2002): "Snake phylogeny based on osteology, soft anatomy and ecology". Biol. rev. Vol 77: 333-401. [Crossref]
41. Marshall L.G. (1976): "Fossil localities for Santacrucian (Early Miocene) mammals, Santa Cruz Province, Southern Patagonia, Argentina". J. Paleontol. Vol 50: 1129-1142.
42. Matheos S.D., Raigemborn M.S. (2012): "Sedimentology and paleoenvironment of the Santa Cruz Formation". In: Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia: High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation, p.  59-82. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S., Eds, Cambridge University Press, New York. [Crossref]
43. Minoli I., Avila L.J. (2011): "Squamata, Iguania, Leiosauridae, Pristidactylus nigroiugulus Cei, Scolaro and Videla, 2001: new records for Chubut province and geographic distribution". Check List Vol 7: 404-406. [Crossref]
44. Morando M., Olave M., Avila L.J., Baker E., Sites J.W. (2015): "Molecular Phylogeny of the Lizard Clade Leiosaurae Endemic to Southern South America". Herpetologica Vol 71: 322-331. [Crossref]
45. Nicholson K.E., Crother B.I., Guyer C., Savage J.M. (2012): "It is time for a new classification of anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae)". Zootaxa Vol 3477: 1-108.
46. Oelrich T.M. (1956): The Anatomy of the Head of Ctenosaura pectinata (Iguanidae). Misc. publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Mich., 94, 122 pp.
47. Ortiz-Jaureguizar E., Cladera G.A. (2006): "Paleoenvironmental evolution of southern South America during the Cenozoic". J. Arid Environ. Vol 66: 498-532. [Crossref]
48. Pascual R., Ortiz-Jaureguizar E., Prado J.L. (1996): "Land mammals: paradigm for Cenozoic South American geobiotic evolution". Münchner Geowiss. Abh. Vol 30: 265-319.
49. Perkins M.E., Fleagle J.G., Heizler M.T., Nash B., Bown T.M., Tauber A.A., Dozo M.T. (2012): "Tephrochronology of the Miocene Santa Cruz and Pinturas Formations, Argentina". In: Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia: High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation, p.  23-40. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S., Eds, Cambridge University Press, New York. [Crossref]
50. Pyron R.A., Burbrink F.T., Wiens J.J. (2013): "A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes". BMC Evol. Biol. Vol 13: 93. [Crossref]
51. Rage J.C. (1984): "Serpentes". In: Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie, Part 11, p.  1-80. Wellnhofer P., Ed., Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart and New York.
52. Rage J.C., Augé M. (2010): "Squamate reptiles from the middle Eocene of Lissieu (France). A landmark in the middle Eocene of Europe". Geobios Vol 43: 253-268. [Crossref]
53. Reeder T.W., Townsend T.M., Mulcahy D.G., Noonan B.P., Wood P.L., Sites J.W., Wiens J.J. (2015): "Integrated analyses resolve conflicts over squamate reptile phylogeny and reveal unexpected placements for fossil taxa". PLoS ONE Vol 10: e0118199.
54. Schulte J.A., Valladares J.P., Larson A. (2003): "Phylogenetic relationships within Iguanidae inferred using molecular and morphological data and a phylogenetic taxonomy of iguanian lizards". Herpetologica Vol 59: 399-419. [Crossref]
55. Smith K.T. (2006): "A diverse new assemblage of late Eocene squamates (Reptilia) from the Chadron Formation of North Dakota, U.S.A." Palaeontol. Electron. Vol 9 5A: 1-44.
56. Smith K.T. (2009): "Eocene lizards of the clade Geiseltaliellus from Messel and Geiseltal, Germany, and the early radiation of Iguanidae (Squamata: Iguania)". Bull. Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 50: 219-306. [Crossref]
57. Smith K.T. (2011): "The evolution of mid-latitude faunas during the Eocene: late Eocene lizards of the Medicine Pole Hills reconsidered". Bull. Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 52: 3-105. [Crossref]
58. Smith K.T., Gauthier J.A. (2013): "Early Eocene lizards of the Wasatch Formation near Bitter Creek, Wyoming: diversity and paleoenvironment during an interval of global warming". Bull. Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 54: 135-230. [Crossref]
59. Tauber A.A. (1994): Estratigrafía y vertebrados fósiles de la Formación Santa Cruz (Mioceno inferior) en la costa atlántica entre las rías del Coyle y Río Gallegos, Provincia de Santa Cruz, República Argentina. Ph.D. Thesis. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
60. Tauber A.A. (1997): "Biostratigraphy of the Santa Cruz Formation (Lower Miocene) in southeastern Patagonia". Ameghiniana Vol 34: 413-426.
61. Uetz P., Freed P., Hošek J. (2016): The Reptile Database,, accessed November 25, 2016.
62. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S. (2012): "Background for a paleoecological study of the Santa Cruz Formation (late Early Miocene) on the Atlantic Coast of Patagonia". In: Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia: High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation, p.  1-22. Vizcaíno S.F., Kay R.F., Bargo M.S., Eds, Cambridge University Press, New York. [Crossref]
63. Zaher H. (1999): "Hemipenial morphology of the South American xenodontine snakes, with a proposal for a monophyletic Xenodontinae and a reappraisal of colubroid hemipenes". Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. Vol 240: 1-168.
64. Zheng Y., Wiens J.J. (2016): "Combining phylogenomic and supermatrix approaches, and a time-calibrated phylogeny for squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) based on 52 genes and 4162 species". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. Vol 4: 537-547. [Crossref]

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Amphibia-Reptilia — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation