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Two species of the genus Eryx (Serpentes; Boidae; Erycinae) from the Spanish Neogene with comments on the past distribution of the genus in Europe

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Snakes of the living genus Eryx were widely distributed in countries lying between the Mediterranean and Black Seas in the period between the end of lower Miocene to the late Pliocene. Vertebral remains of Eryx reported from two Spanish localities, the uppermost Miocene (MN 13) of Salobreña and the middle Pliocene (MN 15) of Gorafe 5, belong to E. cf. E. jaculus and E. primitivus sp. nov., respectively. The available fossil record sugests that most representatives of Eryx inhabiting Europe in the past were similar to the recent Asiatic members of the genus. However, E. primitivus sp. nov., displaying primitive conditions in its caudal osteology, probably represented an early offshoot of a hypothetical ancestral stock leading to the extant species of Eryx.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Slawkowska 17, 31-016 Kraków, Poland; 2: Institut für Paläontologie und historische Geologie der Universität, Richard-Wagner-Straße 10, 80333 München, Germany


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