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Morphological description and phylogeny of a lizard (Reptilia, Squamata) from the lower Miocene, Chichínales formation, General Roca, Rio Negro province, Argentina

Grant number: 14/01733-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2014
Effective date (End): September 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Paleozoology
Principal Investigator:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Grantee:Ana Bottallo de Aguiar Quadros
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50206-9 - Origin and evolution of snakes and their diversification in the Neotropics: a multidisciplinary approach, AP.BTA.TEM

Abstract

The Chichínales Formation, on the city of General Roca, Río Negro province, Argentina, is a lithostratigraphic unity, with a rich vertebrate fossil deposit. Thus, the majority of the findings so far consist of mammals, some few avians and turtles, and remains of crocodyliform osteoderms. It is believed that the age of the formation is Lower Miocene (Colhuehuapense), based on its associated fauna. The present study aims to describe a partially complete skull with jaws of a "lizard" that was found on this formation. Even though squamates have a well amostrated fossil record in South America, most of the findings consist of skull fragments or isolated vertebrae, and materials as well preserved as the one on study are quiet exquisite. The description of this material will be the first one for a squamate for this region, and a phylogenetic analysis will help to understand its position within the clade Squamata.