The comparative cranial osteology of the South African Lacertilia (reptilia: Squamata)

Van den Worm, Johan H. (1998-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 1998

Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Science. Dept. of Botany & Zoology.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There has been a long-standing need to systematically analyze and classify South African fossil Lacertilia. Although extensive assemblages of fossil lizard and amphibian material from Langebaan on the West Coast and elsewhere exist in museum collections, the fragmentary nature of the material has largely prevented in-depth analyses and identification. In this comparative study the skulls and lower jaws of 7 lizard genera, representing the six extant South African families, were disassembled and the bones analyzed individually. The aim was to compile a comparative database of each bone against which current and future fossil finds could be matched. Detailed descriptions of the isolated elements were given. The results showed that despite some intra-generic variation, unique structural differences do exist in individual bones which may be utilized in the taxonomic assessment of fragmentary fossil material.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar bestaan lank reeds 'n behoefte vir die sistematiese analise en klassifisering van fossielmateriaal van Suid-Afrikaanse Lacertilia. Alhoewel uitgebreide versamelings van akkedis- en amfibier-fossiele van Langebaan aan die Weskus en elders in museums bestaan, het die fragmentariese aard van die materiaal grootliks diepgaande analises en identifikasie belemmer In hierdie vergelykende studie is die skedels en onderkake van 7 akkedisgenera, wat die ses resente Suid-Afrikaanse families verteenwoordig, gedisartikuleer en elke been individueel geanaliseer. Die doel was om 'n vergelykende databasis van elke been saam te stel waarmee huidige en toekomstige fossielvondse vergelyk kan word. Gedetaileerde beskrywings van die ge'isoleerde elemente word gegee. Die resultate toon dat desondanks 'n mate van intra-generiese variasie, unieke strukturele verskille tussen individuele bene weI bestaan en dat hierdie verskille gebruik kan word om fossielfragmente taksonomies te analiseer.

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