X-ray computed microtomography of Megachirella wachtleri

Tiago Simoes, Michael Caldwell, Mateusz Talanda, Massimo Bernardi, Alessandro Palci, Oksana Vernygora, Federico Bernardini, Lucia Mancini, Randall Nydam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the origin and early evolution of squamates has been a considerable challenge given the extremely scarce fossil record of early squamates and their poor degree of preservation. In order to overcome those limitations, we conducted high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT) studies on the fossil reptile Megachirella wachtleri (Middle Triassic, northern Italy), which revealed an important set of features indicating this is the oldest known fossil squamate in the world, predating the previous oldest record by ca. 75 million years. We also compiled a new phylogenetic data set comprising a large sample of diapsid reptiles (including morphological and molecular data) to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of early squamates and other reptile groups along with the divergence time of those lineages. The redescription of Megachirella and a new phylogenetic hypothesis of diapsid relationships are presented in a separate study. Here we present the data descriptors for the tomographic scans of Megachirella, which holds fundamental information to our understanding on the early evolution of one of the largest vertebrate groups on Earth today.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180244
Number of pages5
JournalScientific Data - Nature
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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