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The Science of Nature

, 103:12 | Cite as

First description of a fossil chamaeleonid from Greece and its relevance for the European biogeographic history of the group

  • Georgios L. GeorgalisEmail author
  • Andrea Villa
  • Massimo Delfino
Original Paper

Abstract

The fossil record of Chamaeleonidae is very scarce and any new specimen is therefore considered important for our understanding of the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the group. New specimens from the early Miocene of Aliveri (Evia Island), Greece constitute the only fossils of these lizards from southeastern Europe. Skull roofing material is tentatively attributed to the Czech species Chamaeleo cf. andrusovi, revealing a range extension for this taxon, whereas tooth-bearing elements are described as indeterminate chamaeleonids. The Aliveri fossils rank well among the oldest known reptiles from Greece, provide evidence for the dispersal routes of chameleons out of Africa towards the European continent and, additionally, imply strong affinities with coeval chamaeleonids from Central Europe.

Keywords

Chamaeleonidae Squamata Miocene Biogeography Aliveri 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Wilma Wessels (University of Utrecht) and Hans de Bruijn (University of Utrecht) for the extended loan of the specimens. Walter Joyce (University of Fribourg), Dimitris Kostopoulos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), George Koufos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Zbigniew Szyndlar (Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow) provided important comments that improved the manuscript. Andrej Čerňanský (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) and three anonymous reviewers gave significant input that enhanced the quality of the paper. Gaetano Pitruzzella prepared the interpretative drawing of UU AL 3501 showed in Fig. 1. Project supported by Fondi di Ateneo (ex 60 %) 2013–2014 dell’ Università di Torino and Generalitat de Catalunya (2014 SGR 416 GRC). Access to the collections of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, has been made possible thanks to a Synthesys grant (FR-TAF-5007) to AV. GLG acknowledges travel funding from the University of Fribourg.

Supplementary material

114_2016_1336_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (101 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 101 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgios L. Georgalis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andrea Villa
    • 2
  • Massimo Delfino
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Fribourg/FreiburgFribourgSwitzerland
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità di TorinoTorinoItaly
  3. 3.Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel CrusafontUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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