A new teiid lizard from the Late Cretaceous of the Haţeg Basin, Romania and its phylogenetic and palaeobiogeographical relationships
A new lizard genus and species is described based on a three-dimensionally preserved partial skull and associated lower jaws from the Pui Islaz locality (Late Cretaceous, early Maastrichtian) in the Haţeg Basin, western Romania. Barbatteius vremiri gen. et sp. nov. is diagnosed by a unique combination of symplesiomorphies and synapomorphies. A nested set of synapomorphies support assigning Barbatteius to Teiidae as the first unambiguous Late Cretaceous record of this family from Laurasia. Barbatteius differs from other teiids by having more extensive osteodermal sculpture on the skull roof and suspensorium, and by a pentagonal occipital osteoscute exhibiting more or less parallel lateral margins. Barbatteius is a large-bodied lizard, estimated to be up to 800 mm in total length. It has weakly heterodont dentition, but without enlarged posterior crushing teeth, suggesting that it fed on arthropods, small vertebrates and plants. The mix of taxa with affinities to Euramerica (paramacellodid and borioteiioid lizards) and Gondwana (madtsoiid snakes and the teiid Barbatteius) currently known for the Maastrichtian squamate assemblage from Haţeg Basin supports the growing realization that ‘Haţeg Island’ has a complex palaeobiogeographical history.