Article: New species of the genus Plesiolacerta (Squamata: Lacertidae) from the upper Oligocene (MP28) of Southern Germany and a revision of the type species Plesiolacerta lydekkeri
The lacertid material from the locality of Herrlingen 8 (upper Oligocene, MP28) is described as a new species of the genusPlesiolacerta. The material is disarticulated and comprises isolated elements including parietal, frontal, maxilla and dentary. It can be assigned to a single species on the basis of the external surface ornamentation. This morphology is typical for the genus Plesiolacerta, but the material differs in detail from the type species P. lydekkeri. The most significant feature of the new species is that the occipital scute of the parietal bone is narrow, rectangular in shape and anteroposteriorly short. Hitherto, the last occurrence of this genus was in the lower Oligocene. This material represents the first evidence of the existence of this genus in the upper Oligocene. Therefore, our knowledge of its evolution is expanded by providing new data on its spatial and temporal ranges and morphology. This taxon has a much longer history than we thought. In addition, the Eocene species, P. lydekkeri, is reviewed here. P. lydekkeri shares the most lacertid synapomorphies and, given our present knowledge, Plesiolacerta is a taxon very close to or possibly within crown Lacertidae. The frontal and postorbitofrontal of Plesiolacerta are described for the first time. In view of the primitive morphology and early occurrence ofPlesiolacerta, it seems that the feature of a longer anterior region of the frontal could be considered as a plesiomorphic feature within lacertid lizards, and the condition in Timon (approximately the same length) as derived.