Article: The long-term history of dispersal among lizards in the early Eocene: new evidence from a microvertebrate assemblage in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming, USA
Krister T. Smith
Early Eocene mammal faunas of North America were transformed by intercontinental dispersal at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary, but lizard faunas from the earliest Eocene of the same area were dominated by immigrants from within the continent. A new lizard assemblage from the middle early Eocene of Wyoming sheds light on the longer-term history of dispersal in relation to climate change. The assemblage consists of three iguanid species (including two new species possibly closely related to living Anolis), Scincoideus, ‘Palaeoxantusia’, four anguids, two species of an undescribed new anguimorph clade, Provaranosaurus and a varanoid (cf. Saniwa). Most North American glyptosaurin glyptosaurines are now referred to Glyptosaurus, and Glyptosaurus hillsi is given a new diagnosis. Scincoideus is otherwise known only from the mid-Paleocene of Belgium, and the specimens described here are the first to document intercontinental dispersal to North America among lizards in the early Eocene. Like in mammals, some immigrant lizard lineages first appearing in the Bighorn Basin in the earliest Eocene persisted in the area long after the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum, but other immigrants appear to have been restricted to the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum.