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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA / A new gecko from the earliest Eocene of Dormaal, Belgium: a thermophilic element of the ‘greenhouse world’

Andrej Čerňanský, Juan D Daza, Richard Smith, Aaron M Bauer, Thierry Smith, and Annelise Folie (2022)

A new gecko from the earliest Eocene of Dormaal, Belgium: a thermophilic element of the ‘greenhouse world’

Royal Society Open Science, 9:220429 (12 pages).

We here describe a new gekkotan lizard from the earliest Eocene (MP 7) of the Dormaal locality in Belgium, from the time of the warmest global climates of the past 66 million years (Myr). This new taxon, with an age of 56 Myr, together with indeterminate gekkotan material reported from Silveirinha (Portugal, MP 7) represent the oldest Cenozoic gekkotans known from Europe. Today gekkotan lizards are distributed worldwide in mainly warm temperate to tropical areas and the new gecko from Dormaal represents a thermophilic faunal element. Given the Palaeocene–Eocene thermal maximum at that time, the distribution of this group in such northern latitudes (above 50° North – the latitude of southern England) is not surprising. Although this new gekkotan is represented only by a frontal (further, dentaries and a mandibular fragment are described here as Gekkota indet. 1 and 2—at least two gekkotan species occurred in Dormaal), it provides a new record for squamate diversity from the earliest Eocene ‘greenhouse world’. Together with the Baltic amber gekkotan Yantarogekko balticus, they document the northern distribution of gekkotans in Europe during the Eocene. The increase in temperature during the early Eocene led to a rise in sea level, and many areas of Eurasia were submerged. Thus, the importance of this period is magnified by understanding future global climate change.
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