Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/120821
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Type: Journal article
Title: A new scincid lizard from the Miocene of Northern Australia, and the evolutionary history of social skinks (Scincidae: Egerniinae)
Author: Thorn, K.
Hutchinson, M.
Archer, M.
Lee, M.
Citation: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2019; 39(1):e1577873-1-e1577873-13
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0272-4634
1937-2809
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Kailah M. Thorn, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael Archer and Michael S. Y. Lee
Abstract: The Egerniinae (formerly the Egernia group) is a morphologically diverse clade of skinks comprising 61 extant species from eight genera, spread across Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. The relatively large size and robustness of many egerniines has meant that they fossilize more readily than other Australian skinks and have been more frequently recorded from paleontological excavations. The Riversleigh World Heritage Area of northeastern Australia has yielded multiple egerniine fossils, but most are isolated jaw elements, and only one taxon (‘Tiliqua’ pusilla) has been formally described. Articulated remains recently recovered from the mid-Miocene AL90 site (14.8 Ma) at Riversleigh are here described as Egernia gillespieae and represent the first opportunity to describe the morphology of a significant portion of a single individual of a fossil member of the Egerniinae. We include this fossil and ‘T.’ pusilla in an integrated analysis of morphology and published molecular data to assess their relationships and to provide calibration points for the timing of the egerniine radiation. Our calibrated tree combining molecular and morphological data suggests that the modern Australian radiation dates to the end of the Eocene (34.1 Ma). Both fossils are within the Australian crown clade Egerniinae: Egernia gillespieae is placed close to species of the living genus Egernia, whereas ‘Tiliqua’ pusilla likely sits basal to the divergence of the clade inclusive of Tiliqua and Cyclodomorphus. The fossils thus provide direct evidence that the Australian radiation of the Egerniinae was well underway by the mid-Miocene.
Rights: © by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
RMID: 0030116982
DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1577873
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LE0989067
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP0985214
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP0664621
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP0989969
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP100200486
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP1094569
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP130100197
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE130100467
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP170101420
Appears in Collections:Geology & Geophysics publications

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