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The Diversity and Distribution of Palaeogene Snakes


Smith, Krister T; Georgalis, Georgios L (2022). The Diversity and Distribution of Palaeogene Snakes. In: Gower, David J; Zaher, Hussam. The Origin and Early Evolutionary History of Snakes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 55-84.

Abstract

We give a review of all published Palaeogene snake taxa from all localities worldwide. Several conceptual and material advances in the past two decades—a focus on apomo+P31rphies, greater attention to variation, quantification of morphology, and new fossil discoveries—have vivified the fossil record. Particularly noteworthy have been new fossils from Gondwanan continents and complete, articulated skeletons. Species known only from vertebrae are unlikely to be placed precisely phylogenetically, but a high number of vertebrae is a strong indication that cranial remains are present, which in turn allow more precise phylogenetic placement. Extrapolations of snake palaeodiversity are of the same order of magnitude as rough calculations of cumulative lineage diversity in the Palaeogene, raising the prospect that palaeontological morphospecies may more closely approximate biological species than is commonly conceived. As their interrelationships become better known, Palaeogene fossils will increasingly help elucidate the early evolution of snakes.

Abstract

We give a review of all published Palaeogene snake taxa from all localities worldwide. Several conceptual and material advances in the past two decades—a focus on apomo+P31rphies, greater attention to variation, quantification of morphology, and new fossil discoveries—have vivified the fossil record. Particularly noteworthy have been new fossils from Gondwanan continents and complete, articulated skeletons. Species known only from vertebrae are unlikely to be placed precisely phylogenetically, but a high number of vertebrae is a strong indication that cranial remains are present, which in turn allow more precise phylogenetic placement. Extrapolations of snake palaeodiversity are of the same order of magnitude as rough calculations of cumulative lineage diversity in the Palaeogene, raising the prospect that palaeontological morphospecies may more closely approximate biological species than is commonly conceived. As their interrelationships become better known, Palaeogene fossils will increasingly help elucidate the early evolution of snakes.

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Other titles:4 - The Diversity and Distribution of Palaeogene Snakes : A Review with Comments on Vertebral Sufficiency from Part I - The Squamate and Snake Fossil Record
Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:11 August 2022
Deposited On:22 Sep 2022 14:34
Last Modified:22 Sep 2022 15:35
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISBN:9781108938891
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108938891.006
Related URLs:https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108938891

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