The Jurassic record of lizards in eastern Asia is poor by comparison with that of the Cretaceous. In China, to date, the only confirmed records from this period are an armoured lizard from Shishugou, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, of probable Oxfordian age, and two unnamed juvenile specimens from the slightly older, Callovian-Oxfordian, Daohugou locality of Nei Mongol. Here we describe the first lizard from the locality of Guancaishan, Jianping County, Liaoning Province. This locality is close to Daohugou, and is considered to be of similar age. The new skeleton is articulated and well-preserved. It is distinguished from other Jurassic-Cretaceous lizards by a unique combination of derived characters, notably a long frontal with posterior processes that clasp the short parietal; cranial osteoderms limited to the lower temporal and supraocular regions; and an elongated manus and pes. Phylogenetic analysis using morphological data alone places the new taxon on the stem of a traditional ‘Scleroglossa’, but when the same data is run with a backbone constraint tree based on molecular data, the new taxon is placed on the stem of Squamata as a whole. Thus its position, and that of other Jurassic and Early Cretaceous taxa, seem to be influenced primarily by the position of Gekkota.
Lizard, Jurassic, Guancaishan locality, China, phylogenetic analysis, new genus, new species