Nowe znalezisko jaszczurki w bursztynie bałtyckim

Barbara Kosmowska-Ceranowicz

Abstract


A NEW FIND OF LIZARD IN BALTIC AMBER

Summary
A Iizard in Baltic amber from Sambia was found in 1891 and described by Klebs in 1910. Registered under No. 12664, the lizard had then been kept in the collection of Becker Museum till it was taken over by Albert University in Konigsberg. As follows from the work by Klebs (1910), the lizard was originally identified by Boulanger from London as Nucras tessellata (Smith); in 1917, the author changed the name of species intoNucras succinea (quoted after Poinar, 1992). Starting as early as the 1940s, opinions were voiced that Nucras could have been sealed, whether by natural or by artificial means, in fossil resin and not in succinite (Loveridge, 1942; Schlee, 1990 and others). A list of forgeries of the vertebrates has recently been compiled by Grimaldi et al. (1994). Identified in Dominican amber, instead, were Sphaerodactylus dommeli (Bohme, 1984) and Anolis dominicanus (Riepel, 1980). According to Kluge (1995), the "Sphaerodactylus" dommeli needs to be reexamined from the viewpoint of proper identification of species. From the moment of Klebs's discovery of Nucras, only Katinas (1983) published a photograph of a fragment of lizard skin in Baltic amber in his book. The finding of a new lizard in material obtained through rinsing from Holocene fossil beach sediments in Gdańsk-Stogi (about 1 kilometer away from the shore) took place in Jnne 1997. The animal of preserved length of 3.7 centimeters is incomplete: missing is the front part of the head, dorsal fragment of the trunk, and the rearmost fragment of the tail. In order to identify the amber and to exclude the possibility of any forgeries, the find was submitted to infrared absorption spectrography. The IRS 468 curve obtained is the typical curve of succinite in Baltic amber. The described specimen from a private collection of G. Gierłowska, now deposited with Museum of the Earth, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, needs specialistic examination which might perhaps lead to identification of species. Body structure and preserved elements suggest that the specimen represents the family of lizards proper and belongs to family Lacertidae.

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