The cranial morphology of the fossorial lizard genus Dibamus with a consideration of its phylogenetic relationships


  • *Dedicated to the memory of Professor Dr Georg Haas.


The structure of the skull and jaw adductor musculature of Dibamus novaeguineae is described in detail and compared to other squamates. Some functional consequences of miniaturization of the head are discussed. It is concluded that Dibamus shares the greatest number of derived characters with the Acontinae, a monophyletic group of fossorial lizards currently classified as a subfamily of the Scincidae, but which might deserve classification at a family rank. Dibamus is also shown to share some derived characters with the Amphisbaenia and a few with the Serpentes. However, no close relationship between Dibamus and any member of the Gekkota is indicated.