Article: A new anguimorph lizard from the Lower Miocene of north-west Bohemia, Czech Republic
The cranial remains of a new Lower Miocene anguimorph, Merkurosaurus ornatus gen. et sp. nov., are described from north-west Bohemia (Czech Republic). The animal is morphologically very similar to the Recent Shinisaurus crocodilurus, but it differs in several ways. The distinctive features of Merkurosaurus are: the nasal process of premaxilla is long and slender with a bilaterally constricted shaft and bilaterally broadened dorsal portion; the dorsal portion of the nasal process divides into three processes of which the median one is the longest; the ornamented surface of the parietal is subdivided into five pustule-like mounds on both right and left sides, with one further mound around the posterior and lateral margins of the parietal foramen. A close phylogenetic affinity to the anguimorph genera Shinisaurus, Bahndwivici, Dalinghosaurus and Carusia, and partially to Xenosaurus, is indicated by characters such as: frontal fused with deep cristae cranii; lateral border of frontals strongly constricted between orbits; double interorbital row of large mounds diverge posteriorly along orbital margin; sculptured postorbital ramus of jugal; small mounds on frontal and parietal with ornamented vermiculate structures; and parietal foramen within parietal but close to anterior margin. Merkurosaurus is the only taxon of this affinity known from the Cenozoic of Eurasia.