Status and relationships of the extinct giant Canary Island lizard Gallotia goliath (Reptilia: Lacertidae), assessed using ancient mtDNA from its mummified remains

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:MACA-MEYER, N, Carranza, S, RANDO, JC, Arnold, EN, CABRERA, VM
Journal:Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Date Published:2003
ISBN Number:1095-8312
Keywords:12S rRNA, ancient DNA, cytochrome b, Evolution, Fringillidae, phylogeny, Serinus, Serinus canaria
Abstract:Ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences (378 base pairs of cytochrome b and 368 of 12S rRNA) extracted from a mummified extinct giant lizard, Gallotia goliath, from eastern Tenerife, Canary Islands, were used to assess the species status and relationship of this form within the genus. G. goliath is clearly a member of the G. simonyi group of the western Canary islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma) and is not closely related to the giant G. stehlini of Gran Canaria. Contrary to recent opinion, it is phylogenetically distinct, within the G. simonyi group, from the extant G. simonyi of El Hierro and also from the recently discovered live G. gomerana on La Gomera and from G. intermedia in north-western Tenerife. It may be the sister taxon of either all the other members of the G. simonyi group or of G. intermedia. The phylogenetic distinctness of G. goliath makes Tenerife unique among oceanic islands in having had one giant and two medium-sized lizard species that were probably substantially herbivorous, the others being G. intermedia and G. galloti. Gallotia shows great community differences on other islands in the Canaries, two having a single small species, one a single giant, and three a giant and a medium-sized form. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 80, 659–670.
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