The capability of palaeontologists to identify fossil remains of a particular group of vertebrates strongly depends on the knowledge they have of its comparative osteology and on the actual presence of diagnostic differences among the considered taxa. This could have a relevant influence on the study of palaeodiversity, since a low recognisability causes a loss of data when trying to reconstruct the history of taxa that lived on Earth in the past. Currently, more than 6000 extant species of lizards and worm lizards are known, and new ones continue to be discovered, mainly based on molecular data. But are we able to recognise this high diversity using osteology? As far as European taxa are concerned, the osteological recognisability of non-snake squamates is very low: only 31% of the extant European taxa can be identified based on their skeletal morphology. This is balanced partially by the fact that most recognisable taxa have been actually recognised in the fossil record, suggesting that the lost data are mainly due to the scarce knowledge of the comparative osteology of these reptiles and less influenced by other biases, such as taphonomic or collection biases. In this context, specimen-level phylogenetic analysis has proved to be a useful tool to identify diagnostic combinations of osteological features, at least for lacertid species, as evidenced by a case study focused on the genus Lacerta.
Contribution de la paléoherpétofaune (Amphibia & Squamata) à la connaissance de l’évolution du climat et du paysage du Pliocène supérieur au Pléistocène moyen d’Espagne.
Treballs del Museu de Geologia de Barcelona16:
DNA phylogeny of Lacerta (Iberolacerta) and other lacertine lizards (Reptilia: Lacertidae): did competition cause long-term mountain restriction?Syst. Biodivers.2:
An ancient lineage of slow worms, genus Anguis (Squamata: Anguidae), survived in the Italian Peninsula.
Mol. Phylogenet. Evol.69:
MaddisonW.P.MaddisonD.R. (2015): Mesquite: a modular system for evolutionary analysis. Version 3.04. http://mesquiteproject.org.
Phylogeography of the Lacerta viridis complex: mitochondrial and nuclear markers provide taxonomic insights.
J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res.54:
Evaluating the phylogenetic signal limit from mitogenomes, slow evolving nuclear genes, and the concatenation approach. New insights into the Lacertini radiation using fast evolving nuclear genes and species trees.
Mol. Phylogenet. Evol.100:
Kreuzungsexperimente zur prüfung der artgrenzen im genus Lacerta sensu stricto.
Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Zoologisches Museum Und Institut Für Spezielle Zoologie (Berlin)67:
SilleroN.CamposJ.BonardiA.CortiC.CreemersR.CrochetP.-A.Crnobrnja IsailovićJ.DenoëlM.FicetolaG.F.GonçalvesJ.KuzminS.LymberakisP.de PousP.RodríguezA.SindacoR.SpeybroeckJ.ToxopeusB.VieitesD.R.VencesM. (2014):
Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe.