The oldest reptile in amber: a 120 million year old lizard from Lebanon



Animals enclosed in amber often provide a unique insight into their surface structure. Such fossils of reptiles are rare and usually not extremely ancient, the earliest being no more than 40 million years (my). A recently discovered 120 my lizard from the Lower Cretaceous of Lebanon provides direct evidence that several common external features of autarchoglossan lizards had evolved by this time. Ecomorphology indicates that the lizard concerned had considerable climbing ability on open surfaces and perhaps in vegetation, and probably lived in a mesic forested environment, something supported by associated plant and invertebrate remains.