Publication details

A new species of Varanus (Anguimorpha: Varanidae) from the early Miocene of the Czech Republic, and its relationships and palaeoecology


IVANOV Martin RUTA Marcello KLEMBARA Jozef BÖHME Madelaine

Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Systematic Palaeontology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords morphology;palaeoecology;phylogeny;skull;Varanus
Description Skeletal remains of a new early Miocene (Ottnangian, MN 4 mammal zone) monitor lizard, Varanus mokrensis sp. nov., are described from two karst fissures in the Mokrá-Western Quarry (1/2001 Turtle Joint; 2/2003 Reptile Joint), Czech Republic, providing the first documented example of a European varanid for which osteological data permit a well-supported assignment to the genus Varanus. The new species is morphologically similar to the Recent IndoAsiatic varanids of the Varanus bengalensis group. A Bayesian analysis shows V. mokrensis to be closely related to extant representatives of the Indo-Asiatic Varanus clade, with close afinities to the V. bengalensis species group. The topology of the Bayesian tree supports the hypothesis that Miocene monitors from Mokrá are representatives of a lineage that is ancestral to the well-defined clade of extant African varanids, including the early Miocene V. rusingensis. In addition, our results support a Eurasian origin for the varanid clade.

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