Journal article

The last European varanid: demise and extinction of monitor lizards (Squamata, Varanidae) from Europe

  • Georgalis, Georgios L. Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland - Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Torino, Italy
  • Villa, Andrea Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Torino, Italy
  • Delfino, Massimo Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Torino, Italy - Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Published in:
  • Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. - 2017, vol. 37, no. 2, p. e1301946
English Remains of a varanid lizard from the middle Pleistocene of the Tourkobounia 5 locality near Athens, Greece are described. The new material comprises cranial elements only (one maxilla, one dentary, and one tooth) and is attributed to Varanus, the genus to which all European Neogene varanid occurrences have been assigned. Previously, the youngest undisputed varanid from Europe had been recovered from upper Pliocene sediments. The new Greek fossils therefore constitute the youngest records of this clade from the continent. Despite being fragmentary, this new material enhances our understanding of the cranial anatomy of the last European monitor lizards and is clearly not referable to the extant Varanus griseus or Varanus niloticus, the only species that could be taken into consideration on a present-day geographic basis. However, these fossils could represent a survivor of the monitor lizards of Asian origin that inhabited Europe during the Neogene.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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