When discussing the bearing of myological evidence on the reconstruction of anguid phytogeny, a discrepancy arouse between the current interpretation of fossil evidence (Meszoely, 1970) and the interpretation of the structure of the head musculature. Meszoely (1970) considers the Anguinae as the most primitive group, based mainly on the presence of extensive palatal dentition in Ophisaurus apodus. Therefrom, the diploglossines are believed to have diverged on the one hand, the gerrhonotines on the other. The latter subfamily is regarded as a specialised group mainly because of the fused frontal bones and because of osteoderm structure. The head musculature on the contrary seems to indicate that the gerrhonotines are to be interpreted as the most primitive anguid subfamily. Apart from primitive features such as the vestiges of the second epibranchials and the primitive phalangeal count found in gerrhonotines (McDowell and Bogert, 1954), a more detailed discussion of the skull appears to be necessary to support the supposed primitive status of the Gerrhonotinae among anguid lizards.
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- The Skull of the Anguidae
Dr. Olivier Rieppel
- Birkhäuser Basel
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