Lizard - Evolution and relationships 2
2010-12-30 @ 18:05:57
The Diapsids, possessing one temporal fenestra before the eye and one behind it, continued to diversify. One branch, the Archosaurs, retained the basic Diapsid skull, and gave rise to a bewildering array of animals, most famous being the crocodilians, the pterosaurs, the dinosaurs and their descendants, birds. The Ichthyosaurs and Plesiosaurs radiated from the same basal Diapsid group.
The smaller Lepidosaurs which would give rise to the lizards began to reduce the skull bones, making the skull lighter and more flexible. The modern Tuatara retains the basic Lepidosaur skull, distinguishing it from true lizards in spite of superficial similarities. Squamates, including snakes and all true lizards, further lightened the skull by eliminating the lower margin of the lower skull opening.

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