Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution

Date:
June 4, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a new study. Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean.

This image depicts a virtual model of the holotype after removing the covering crust and the infilling matrix.
Credit: Bolet A, Delfino M, Fortuny J, Almécija S, Robles JM, et al. (2014) An Amphisbaenian Skull from the European Miocene and the Evolution of Mediterranean Worm Lizards. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98082. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098082, CC-BY

The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a study published June 4, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Arnau Bolet from Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and colleagues.

Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean. The authors have now found the only known fossil worm lizard skull from Europe and have determined it's a new species, called Blanus mendezi. This almost complete 11.3 mm skull and vertebrae from the Middle Miocene (11.6 million years ago) is the most complete fossil of this genus.

In the study, the scientists described the fossil and integrated available molecular, paleontological, and biogeographic data to discover that both the general configuration of the skull and the teeth are in accordance with those of extant Blanus, B. mendezi, which represents the oldest record of the Western Mediterranean clade. Scientists suggest that the new species emerged after the split between the two main (Eastern and Western Mediterranean) extant groups of blanids.

Dr. Bolet added, "The use of CT-scan techniques applied to this superbly preserved worm lizard fossil skull has allowed an unprecedentedly detailed description for an early member of the family, providing insights into the evolutionary history of this poorly known group of reptiles."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arnau Bolet, Massimo Delfino, Josep Fortuny, Sergio Almécija, Josep M. Robles, David M. Alba. An Amphisbaenian Skull from the European Miocene and the Evolution of Mediterranean Worm Lizards. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (6): e98082 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098082

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604203044.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, June 4). First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604203044.htm
PLOS. "First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604203044.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) — Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins