Iguana Relative Shows How Lizards Spread Worldwide

By Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | September 1, 2015

The newfound lizard species Gueragama sulamerica was found at a site in Brazil known for its pterosaurs fossils Credit: Julius Csotonyi

An 80-million-year-old lizard discovered in southern Brazil has provided a surprising clue about how these reptiles evolved, and where they once lived, according to a new study.

Until now, researchers had found acrodontans only in the Old World, including Africa and Asia. (This is a type of lizard is called an iguanian that has teeth fused to the top of its jaws, a group that includes chameleons and bearded dragons.) But the newfound fossil, a partial lower jaw of a new species of acrodontan, shows that they lived in the New World much earlier than thought.

The fossil suggests that acrodontans managed to distribute themselves worldwide before the ancient supercontinent Pangaea broke up about 200 million years ago, the researchers said. [Image Gallery: 25 Amazing Ancient Beasts]

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Source: Iguana Relative Shows How Lizards Spread Worldwide

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