A new Early Cretaceous lizard in Myanmar amber with exceptionally preserved integument

Andrej Čerňanský, Edward L Stanley, Juan D Daza, Arnau Bolet, J Salvador Arias, Aaron M Bauer, Marta Vidal-García, Joseph J Bevitt, Adolf M Peretti, Nyi Nyi Aung, Susan E Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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We here report on a well-preserved juvenile lizard specimen in Albian amber (ca. 110 mya) from the Hkamti site (Myanmar). This new taxon is represented by an articulated skull and the anterior portion of the trunk, including the pectoral girdle and forelimbs. The scleral ossicles and eyelid are also visible, and the specimen exhibits pristine detail of the integument (of both head and body). In a combined molecular and morphological analysis, it was consistently recovered as a scincoid lizard (Scinciformata), as sister to Tepexisaurus + Xantusiidae. However, the phylogenetic position of the new taxon should be interpreted with caution as the holotype is an immature individual. We explored the possibility of miscoding ontogenetically variable characters by running alternative analyses in which these characters were scored as missing data for our taxon. With the exception of one tree, in which it was sister to Amphisbaenia, the specimen was recovered as a Pan-xantusiid. Moreover, we cannot rule out the possibility that it represents a separate lineage of uncertain phylogenetic position, as it is the case for many Jurassic and Cretaceous taxa. Nonetheless, this fossil offers a rare opportunity to glimpse the external appearance of one group of lizards during the Early Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1660
Pages (from-to)1660
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partly supported by the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic and Slovak Academy of Sciences, Grant Nr. 1/0191/21 (A. Č); A.B. was funded by a Newton International Fellowship (NF170464, funded by the Royal Society), a Juan de la Cierva Incorporación Fellowship (IJC2018-037685-I, funded by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación of the Spanish Government), and the CERCA programme. Additional support for this research was provided by the Peretti Museum Foundation and GRS Switzerland and Thailand. We thank David Paris, Enrique Peñalver, Mónica M. Solórzano Kraemer for the provisional identification of the beetles included in the sample. We recognize the hard work of miners and rock cutters in the amber mines in Hkamti, including internal displaced camps (IDP’s). We thank also an anonymous local Burmese geologist (K.K.) from the Institute of Geology (University of Yangon) for logistic support to the Hkamti mines. We acknowledge Annelise Folie (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences), and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and revisions on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Amber
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Fossils/anatomy & histology
  • Integumentary System/anatomy & histology
  • Lizards/anatomy & histology
  • Myanmar
  • Phylogeny
  • X-Ray Microtomography


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