June 6, 2014
Skull Of New Species Sheds Light On Mediterranean Worm Lizard Evolution
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.
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."