“Nature” has published an article co-authored by Dr Mateusz Tałanda from the University of Warsaw, which sheds new light on the evolution of lizards in the era of the dinosaurs.
In 2016, scientists from the University of Oxford and the National Museum of Scotland discovered a six-metre skeleton on the Isle of Skye. Known as Bellairsia gracilis, the fossil is 166 million years old and dates back to the Middle Jurassic Period. It is the most complete lizard skeleton from that era.
A major role in its investigation was played by Dr Mateusz Tałanda from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Warsaw. The Bellairsia specimen was shown to possess both ancestral traits and derived traits, which originated through evolution over time. The paper, which presents new data on the early evolution of lizards in the era of the dinosaurs, was published in “Nature” on 26 October 2022.
The project brought together scientists from the University of Oxford, University College London, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the Natural History Museum in London, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Scotland.
It was co-funded from the resources of the Mobility Plus programme of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
This is not the first article that Dr Tałanda has published in “Nature”. In 2018, the journal featured a paper on the skeleton of Megachirella wachtleri, the oldest known squamate specimen, currently kept at a museum in the Italian Alps. Tałanda was one of its co-authors, and the research was completed within the framework of an NCN PRELUDIUM. grant.