Shubin and Alberch (Evol Biol 1986;20:319–387) proposed a scheme of tetrapod limb development based on cartilage morphogenesis that provides the arguments to interpret the homologies of skeletal elements and sets the basis to explain limb specialization through later developmental modification. Morphogenetic evidence emerged from the study of some reptiles, but the availability of data for lizards is limited. Here, the study of adult skeletal variation in 41 lizard taxa and ontogeny in species of Liolaemus and Tupinambis attempts to fill in this gap and provides supporting evidence for the Shubin-Alberch scheme. Six questions are explored. Is there an intermedium in the carpus? Are there two centralia in the carpus? Is there homology among proximal tarsalia of reptiles? Does digit V belong to the digital arch? Is the pisiform an element of the autopodium plan? And should the ossification processes be similar to cartilage morphogenesis? We found the following answers. Some taxa exhibit an ossified element that could represent an intermedium. There is one centrale in the carpus. Development of proximal tarsalia seems to be equivalent with that observed among reptiles. Digit V could arise from the digital arch. Pisiform does not arise as part of the limb plan. And different patterns of ossification occur following a single and conservative cartilaginous configuration. Lizard limb development shows an early pattern common to other reptiles with clear primary axis and digital arch. The pattern then becomes lizard-specific with specialization involving some reduction in prechondrogenic elements. Anat Rec 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.