, Volume 94, Issue 6, pp 431–439 | Cite as

A juvenile lizard specimen with well-preserved skin impressions from the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China

Original Paper


Lizards are now relatively well known from the Yixian Formation of northeastern China. In this study, we describe a juvenile lizard from a fossil horizon at Daohugou, Inner Mongolia. These beds predate the Yixian Formation, and are probably Late Jurassic or earliest Cretaceous in age. The new specimen thus documents the first lizard material from the Daohugou locality and is the earliest lizard skeleton from China. Comparisons with developmental stages of modern lizards suggest the Daohugou lizard is a hatchling. Although tiny, the specimen is notable in preserving exquisite skin impressions showing the variation in scalation across the body, the shape and position of the cloacal outlet, and details of the manus and pes. These are the earliest recorded lepidosaurian skin traces. In its general proportions and the possession of paired frontals, the small Daohugou lizard resembles both the Yixian taxon Yabeinosaurus tenuis and the questionable Jeholacerta formosa, but it differs from the latter in scalation and, based on other characters, may be distinct from both.


Lizard Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous China Scalation Ontogeny 



This manuscript derives from work completed as part of a joint Anglo-Chinese project funded by the Royal Society, London, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40121202). Grant support also came from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2006CB806400) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX3-SW-142). We are grateful to Drs. Zhonghe Zhou and Xiaolin Wang (IVPP, Beijing) for additional information about the Jehol Biota and the geology of the Yixian Formation, and to the reviewers of the original manuscript for their comments. Mark Turmaine (UCL) assisted in scanning electron microscopy and Yutong Li (IVPP) carefully prepared the specimen.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Developmental BiologyUCL, University College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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