Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Pythons in the Eocene of Europe reveal a much older divergence of the group in sympatry with boas

Citation

Zaher, Hussam; Smith, Krister (2020), Pythons in the Eocene of Europe reveal a much older divergence of the group in sympatry with boas, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8pk0p2nkx

Abstract

Extant large constrictors, pythons and boas, have a wholly allopatric distribution that has been interpreted largely in terms of vicariance in Gondwana. Here we describe a stem pythonid based on complete skeletons from the early-middle Eocene of Messel, Germany. The new species is close in age to the divergence of Pythonidae from North American Loxocemus and corroborates a Laurasian origin and dispersal of pythons. Remarkably, it existed in sympatry with the stem boid Eoconstrictor. These occurrences demonstrate that neither dispersal limitation nor strong competitive interactions were decisive in structuring biogeographic patterns early in the history of large, hyper-macrostomatan constrictors and exemplify the synergy between phylogenomic and paleontological approaches in reconstructing past distributions.

Funding

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2018/11902-9

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung