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A new snake skull from the Paleocene of Bolivia sheds light on the evolution of macrostomatans.

Scanferla A, Zaher H, Novas FE, de Muizon C, Céspedes R - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: The discovery of Kataria highlights the morphological diversity in the maxilla among derived macrostomatans, demonstrating the relevance of maxillary transformations in the evolution of this clade.Kataria represents the oldest macrostomatan skull recovered, revealing that the diversification of macrostomatans was well under way in early Tertiary times.This record also reinforces the importance of Gondwanan territories in the history of snakes, not only in the origin of the entire group but also in the evolution of ingroup clades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas Y Técnicas, Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA, Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Salta, Salta, Argentina. agustin_scanferla@yahoo.com.ar

ABSTRACT
Macrostomatan snakes, one of the most diverse extant clades of squamates, display an impressive arsenal of cranial features to consume a vast array of preys. In the absence of indisputable fossil representatives of this clade with well-preserved skulls, the mode and timing of these extraordinary morphological novelties remain obscure. Here, we report the discovery of Kataria anisodonta n. gen. n. sp., a macrostomatan snake recovered in the Early Palaeocene locality of Tiupampa, Bolivia. The holotype consists of a partial, minute skull that exhibits a combination of booid and caenophidian characters, being the presence of an anisodont dentition and diastema in the maxilla the most distinctive trait. Phylogenetic analysis places Kataria basal to the Caenophidia+Tropidophiidae, and represents along with bolyeriids a distinctive clade of derived macrostomatans. The discovery of Kataria highlights the morphological diversity in the maxilla among derived macrostomatans, demonstrating the relevance of maxillary transformations in the evolution of this clade. Kataria represents the oldest macrostomatan skull recovered, revealing that the diversification of macrostomatans was well under way in early Tertiary times. This record also reinforces the importance of Gondwanan territories in the history of snakes, not only in the origin of the entire group but also in the evolution of ingroup clades.

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Strict consensus tree resulted from the constrained analysis.
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pone-0057583-g005: Strict consensus tree resulted from the constrained analysis.

Mentions: Our additional constrained analysis conducted to test the effect of a molecular topology in the phylogenetic dataset resulted in two most parsimonious topologies. The strict consensus tree (Fig. 5) shows that all fossil taxa, except Kataria, were nested inside the enforced clade formed by the extant taxa Anilius and Tropidophiidae. Kataria retained its position as the sister-group of the clade formed by Acrochordidae and Colubroides, showing that enforcing a molecular tree as a backbone did not affect the position of Kataria as recovered in our previous unconstrained analysis.


A new snake skull from the Paleocene of Bolivia sheds light on the evolution of macrostomatans.

Scanferla A, Zaher H, Novas FE, de Muizon C, Céspedes R - PLoS ONE (2013)

Strict consensus tree resulted from the constrained analysis.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3585969&req=5

pone-0057583-g005: Strict consensus tree resulted from the constrained analysis.
Mentions: Our additional constrained analysis conducted to test the effect of a molecular topology in the phylogenetic dataset resulted in two most parsimonious topologies. The strict consensus tree (Fig. 5) shows that all fossil taxa, except Kataria, were nested inside the enforced clade formed by the extant taxa Anilius and Tropidophiidae. Kataria retained its position as the sister-group of the clade formed by Acrochordidae and Colubroides, showing that enforcing a molecular tree as a backbone did not affect the position of Kataria as recovered in our previous unconstrained analysis.

Bottom Line: The discovery of Kataria highlights the morphological diversity in the maxilla among derived macrostomatans, demonstrating the relevance of maxillary transformations in the evolution of this clade.Kataria represents the oldest macrostomatan skull recovered, revealing that the diversification of macrostomatans was well under way in early Tertiary times.This record also reinforces the importance of Gondwanan territories in the history of snakes, not only in the origin of the entire group but also in the evolution of ingroup clades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas Y Técnicas, Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA, Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Salta, Salta, Argentina. agustin_scanferla@yahoo.com.ar

ABSTRACT
Macrostomatan snakes, one of the most diverse extant clades of squamates, display an impressive arsenal of cranial features to consume a vast array of preys. In the absence of indisputable fossil representatives of this clade with well-preserved skulls, the mode and timing of these extraordinary morphological novelties remain obscure. Here, we report the discovery of Kataria anisodonta n. gen. n. sp., a macrostomatan snake recovered in the Early Palaeocene locality of Tiupampa, Bolivia. The holotype consists of a partial, minute skull that exhibits a combination of booid and caenophidian characters, being the presence of an anisodont dentition and diastema in the maxilla the most distinctive trait. Phylogenetic analysis places Kataria basal to the Caenophidia+Tropidophiidae, and represents along with bolyeriids a distinctive clade of derived macrostomatans. The discovery of Kataria highlights the morphological diversity in the maxilla among derived macrostomatans, demonstrating the relevance of maxillary transformations in the evolution of this clade. Kataria represents the oldest macrostomatan skull recovered, revealing that the diversification of macrostomatans was well under way in early Tertiary times. This record also reinforces the importance of Gondwanan territories in the history of snakes, not only in the origin of the entire group but also in the evolution of ingroup clades.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus