Tikiguania and the antiquity of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes)

Mark Hutchinson, Adam Skinner, Mike Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Tikiguania estesi is widely accepted to be the earliest member of Squamata, the reptile group that includes lizards and snakes. It is based on a lower jaw from the Late Triassic of India, described as a primitive lizard related to agamids and chamaeleons. However, Tikiguania is almost indistinguishable from living agamids; a combined phylogenetic analysis of morphological and molecular data places it with draconines, a prominent component of the modern Asian herpetofauna. It is unlikely that living agamids have retained the Tikiguania morphotype unchanged for over 216 Myr; it is much more conceivable that Tikiguania is a Quaternary or Late Tertiary agamid that was preserved in sediments derived from the Triassic beds that have a broad superficial exposure. This removes the only fossil evidence for lizards in the Triassic. Studies that have employed Tikiguana for evolutionary, biogeographical and molecular dating inferences need to be reassessed. This journal is

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-669
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiology Letters
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2012


    • Agamidae
    • Chamaeleonidae
    • Palaeontology
    • Phylogeny
    • Reptilia


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