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A new lizard (Reptilia: Squamata) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China, with a taxonomic revision of Yabeinosaurus.

December 30 , 2016:


A new fossil lizard is described from the Lower Cretaceous of China.
It has bicuspid posterior maxillary teeth and is referred to a new species of Yabeinosaurus.
The new specimen necessitates a revision of the taxonomy of Yabeinosaurus.
Recently described specimens assigned to Y. tenuis are placed in a second new species.


Yabeinosaurus was the first lizard genus described from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. The holotype of the type species, Y. tenuis, is an immature skeleton but it has been lost for decades. A second species, Y. youngi, was erected based on another immature skeleton and is distinguished by its longer, more gracile limbs. In 2001, a juvenile skeleton from the Jingangshan locality of Liaoning was designated as the neotype for Y. tenuis. Subsequently, several further specimens from other localities, juvenile and adult, have been attributed to this species. Here we describe a second lizard specimen from the neotype locality. In anterior tooth shape, finger-like mandibular angular process, cranial sculpture, maxilla shape, and short, robust humerus, the new specimen resembles adult and subadult material currently attributed to Y. tenuis, but it differs in having bicuspid posterior teeth and a straight rather than a hooked angular process of the mandible. We propose a new species (Y. bicuspidens sp. nov.) for this specimen which represents the first occurrence of bicuspid teeth in an Early Cretaceous lizard from China. However, the recognition of a second species at the neotype locality raises a taxonomic problem. Due to the immaturity of the designated holotype and neotype of Y. tenuis, they cannot be coded for the jaw and dental characters that distinguish the two robust-limbed species. This renders Yabeinosaurus tenuis a nomen dubium. Here we propose that Yabeinosaurus tenuis should be treated as a historic taxon, permitting retention of the generic name under ICZN rules, and erect a second new species (Y. robustus sp. nov.) for the principal robust-limbed morphotype in the Jehol Biota with monocuspid posterior teeth and a hooked angular process.

Liping Dong, Yuan Wang & Susan E. Evans (2016) [2017]
A new lizard (Reptilia: Squamata) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China, with a taxonomic revision of Yabeinosaurus.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2016.12.017


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