Journal article

New material of Laophis crotaloides, an enigmatic giant snake from Greece, with an overview of the largest fossil European vipers

  • Georgalis, Georgios L. Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland - Department of Earth Sciences, University of Torino, Italy
  • Szyndlar, Zbigniew Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland
  • Kear, Benjamin P. Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University, Sweden - Palaeobiology Programme, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Delfino, Massimo Department of Earth Sciences, University of Torino, Italy -
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Published in:
  • Swiss Journal of Geosciences. - 2016, vol. 109, no. 1, p. 103–116
English Laophis crotaloides was described by Richard Owen as a new and very large fossil viperid snake species from Greece. The type material is apparently lost and the taxon was mostly neglected for more than a century. We here describe a new partial viperid vertebra, collected from the same locality and of equivalent size to the type material. This vertebra indicates that at least one of the three morphological characters that could be used to diagnose L. crotaloides is probably an artifact of the lithographer who prepared the illustration supporting the original description. A revised diagnosis of L. crotaloides is provided on the basis of the new specimen. Despite the fragmentary nature of the new vertebra, it confirms the validity of L. crotaloides, although its exact relationships within Viperidae remain unknown. The new find supports the presence of a large viperid snake in the early Pliocene of northern Greece, adding further data to the diversity of giant vipers from Europe.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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