Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Review of the Fossil record of Gymnophiona (Tetrapoda; Lissamphibia) with Comments on Its Use to Calibrate Molecular Timetrees

Version 1 : Received: 19 June 2020 / Approved: 21 June 2020 / Online: 21 June 2020 (11:28:11 CEST)

How to cite: Santos, R.O.; Laurin, M.; Zaher, H. A Review of the Fossil record of Gymnophiona (Tetrapoda; Lissamphibia) with Comments on Its Use to Calibrate Molecular Timetrees. Preprints 2020, 2020060264 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0264.v1). Santos, R.O.; Laurin, M.; Zaher, H. A Review of the Fossil record of Gymnophiona (Tetrapoda; Lissamphibia) with Comments on Its Use to Calibrate Molecular Timetrees. Preprints 2020, 2020060264 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0264.v1).

Abstract

Gymnophiona, the most poorly known group of extant amphibians, includes elongated limbless tetrapods, with compact ossified skulls and reduced eyes, mainly adapted to fossorial life (only the Typhlonectidae exhibits adaptations for an aquatic or semiaquatic behavior). Caecilians are poorly represented in the fossil record, and despite the low number of fossil specimens described until now (only four taxa, in addition to indeterminate fragmentary material), their fossils play a key role in the knowledge of Lissamphibia origin and evolution, as well as contribute directly to a better understanding of phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of extant gymnophionan taxa. These records are scattered throughout geological time (from the Jurassic to the Neogene) and space (they are represented only on North and South America and Africa). Here, we revisit the caecilian fossil record, providing a brief description of all known extinct taxa described so far, along with general remarks about their impact on systematics, time range and geographic distribution of the clade, as well as prospects for future research. Possible calibration constraints based on the caecilian fossil record are provided.

Subject Areas

Amphibians; Caecilians; Fossils; Gymnophiona; Timetree calibration; Vertebrate Paleontology

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