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September 25 2013

Oldest existing lizard-like fossil hints at scaly origins


The fossilised remains of a reptile closely related to lizards are the oldest yet to be discovered. Two new fossil jaws discovered in Vellberg, Germany provide the first direct evidence that the ancestors of lizards, snakes and tuatara (known collectively as lepidosaurs), were alive during the Middle Triassic period around 240 million years ago.

The new fossil finds predate all other lepidosaur records by 12 million years. The findings are published in BMC Evolutionary Biology.

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