Research ArticlePALEOBIOLOGY

Mid-Cretaceous amber fossils illuminate the past diversity of tropical lizards

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Science Advances  04 Mar 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 3, e1501080
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501080
  • Fig. 1 Squamates in amber from the four known localities.

    Color key: Black, stem Squamata; blue, stem Gekkota; green, Lacertoidea; red, Acrodonta; orange, Pleurodonta. Early Cretaceous from the Lebanon (Valanginian-Barremian): Squamata, (1) Baabdasaurus xenurus (MNHN Entomology). Albian of France: Squamata, (2) MNHN Arc 237.5. Mid-Cretaceous of Myanmar: Squamata, (3) JZC Bu269, (4) JZC Bu268, (5) JZC Bu267, (6) AND-B-870, (7) JCZ Bu 1848; Gekkota, (8) C. burmae (Poinar collection #B-V-4), (9) JCZ Bu1847, (10) MCZ R-190835, (11) JCZ Bu1802; Lacertoidea, (12) JZC Bu1803; Acrodonta, (13) MCZ R-190836, (14) JCZ Bu266, (15) JCZ Bu154. Eocene (Ypresian) Baltic region: Gekkota, (16) Yantarogekko balticus (GAM 1400); Lacertidae, (17 to 21) Succinilacerta succinea. Miocene (Burdigalian-Langhian) of Dominican Republic: Gekkota, (22 to 27) personal collection of Ettore Morone, (28) Sphaerodactylus dommeli (SMNS Do-3584), (29) S. dommeli (ZFMK 66238), (30) personal collection of Ettore Morone, (31) ZFMK specimen, (32) Sphaerodactylus ciguapa (MCZ R-186380); Serpentes, (33) scales from typhlophid snake; Anolis, (34) AMNH DR-SH-1, (35) A. dominicanus (NMBA, entomology no. P52), (36) SMU 74976, (37 to 39) specimens I, II, and III (Supplementary Materials), (40) SMNS Do-4871-M, (41) M-1062, (42) M-1153, (43) M-3410, (44) M-525, (45) OAAAA, (46) SMNS Do-5566-X, (47) M-2096, (48) RAAA (Supplementary Materials), (49) SMNS Do-5742, (50) SMNS Do-4886-B, (51) M-3016, (52) M-1273. Mexico: Anolis, (53) A. electrum (UCMP 68496 and UCMP 68497). All silhouettes at the same scale.

  • Fig. 2 Lizards preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber.

    (A) Squamata (body cavity empty; epidermis translucent) (JZC Bu269); (B) Squamata (epidermis translucent; hind leg with bones) (AND-B-870); (C) Squamata [intact specimen; epidermis with some coloration; skeleton and some organs (for example, tongue) mostly intact] (JZC Bu267); (D) Squamata (integument, some skeletal elements, and internal organs preserved) (JZC Bu1848); (E) Gekkota (hind legs, pelvic area, and base of tail preserved) (JZC Bu1847); (F) Gekkota (hand, including bones and impressions of toe pads) (MCZ R-190835); (G) Gekkota (very well preserved skull and mandibles, vertebral column, and some disarticulated limb and pelvic bones) (JZC Bu1802); (H) Agamidae (large left hind leg, including epidermis) (JZC Bu266 leg); (I) Agamidae (epidermis translucent; pelvic area with left leg and parts of left foot preserved) (MCZ 190836); (J) Lacertoidea (large specimen; integument intact; some skeletal elements preserved as internal casts) (JZC Bu1803); (K) Stem Chamaeleonidae (small, neonatal individual with integument and most of skeleton preserved) (JZC Bu154); (L) Undetermined specimen (very pyritized leg with some epidermis and bones) (JZC Bu268). Scale bar, 1 cm for all photographs except (F) and (I)].

  • Fig. 3 Results from analysis of the combined morphological and molecular data sets (10) using parsimony and Bayesian inference.

    The position of three burmite lizards were consistent in both analyses. JZC Bu267, a basal squamate; JZC Bu1802, a stem gekkotan; JCZ Bu154, a stem chamaeleonid (see also the Supplementary Materials). Values above each node correspond to Bremer and Relative Bremer support, and posterior probabilities are below.

  • Fig. 4 HRCT images of mid-Cretaceous lizards in Burmese amber.

    (C, D, and F to K) Letters correspond to those used for the same specimens in Fig. 2. (C) JZC Bu267; (D) JZC Bu1848; (F) MCZ R-190835; (G) JZC Bu1802; (H) JZC Bu266; (I) MCZ 190836; (J-A) JZC Bu1803; (J-B) digital endocast of the left maxilla of JZC Bu1803 including the tooth row; (K) JZC Bu154. an, angular; bc, basicranium; bo, basioccipital; ce, central; cla, claws; cor, coronoid; cr, cervical rib; cv, caudal vertebra; d, dentary; dc, distal carpal; ect, ectopterygoid; en, external nares; f, frontal; fe, femur; fi, fibula; hu, humerus; ib, innominated bone; int, intermedium; lp, lingual process; mc, metacarpal; mt, metatarsal; mx, maxilla; n, nasal; orb, orbit; pal, palatine; par, parietal; pbsph, parabasisphenoid; pf, postfrontal; ph, phalanx; pis, pisciform; pmx, premaxilla; po, postorbital; prf, prefrontal; psv, presacral vertebra; q, quadrate; r, rib; ra, radius; rad, radiale; sa, surangular; so, supraoccipital; sr, sclerotic ring; ti, tibia; ul, ulna; uln, ulnare; 1 to 5, manual digits; I to V, pedal digits.

  • Fig. 5 Photomicrographs of the integument of mid-Cretaceous lizards in Burmese amber.

    (A) Postocular head scales of the squamate JZC Bu269. (B) SEM image of a scale from the living skink Lepidothyris hinkeli. (C) Prefrontal scales of the squamate JZC Bu267. (D) Details of the lamellae from toes of the gekkotan JZC Bu1847. (E) Ventral scales of the lacertoidean JZC Bu1803. (F) Detail from the dorsal surface of the talocrural region of JZC Bu266. (G) Small scales and claws from the left forearm in the stem Chamaleonidae (JZC Bu154).

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2/3/e1501080/DC1

    Character scores for amber specimens

    Synapomorphies of amber specimens with squamates, gekkotans, and chameleons

    Fig. S1. Results from the analysis of the large morphological data set using parsimony.

    Fig. S2. Results from the analysis of the large morphological data set using Bayesian inference.

    Movie S1. 3D volume-rendered movies of the burmite lizards.

    Reference (48)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Character scores for amber specimens
    • Synapomorphies of amber specimens with squamates, gekkotans, and chameleons
    • Fig. S1. Results from the analysis of the large morphological data set using parsimony.
    • Fig. S2. Results from the analysis of the large morphological data set using Bayesian inference.
    • Legend for movie S1
    • Reference (48)

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    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Movie S1 (.mp4 format). 3D volume-rendered movies of the burmite lizards.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

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