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Data from: New information on the Jurassic lepidosauromorph Marmoretta oxoniensis


Griffiths, Elizabeth; Ford, David; Benson, Roger; Evans, Susan E. (2021), Data from: New information on the Jurassic lepidosauromorph Marmoretta oxoniensis, Dryad, Dataset,


The earliest known crown-group lepidosaurs are known from the Middle Triassic, however their stem group is poorly sampled, with only a few representative fossils found. This is partly due to the small size and delicate bones of early stem-lepidosaurs (=lepidosauromorphs) which make both preservation in the fossil record and subsequent discovery less likely. The mid Jurassic lepidosauromorph Marmoretta oxoniensis Evans 1991 is re-examined using high-resolution µCT scanning to reveal parts of the skull anatomy that were previously unknown. These include a squamosal, postorbital, more complete parietal, pterygoids, and an articulated posterior section of the mandible. Some differences between this and other Marmoretta specimens were identified as a result, such as the arrangement of palatal teeth and the shape of the parabasisphenoid. The status of Marmoretta as a stem lepidosaur or stem squamate has been debated. To evaluate this, we tested the phylogenetic position of Marmoretta by including our new data in an adapted phylogenetic character matrix. We recover Marmoretta as a stem-lepidosauromorph and sister to Fraxinisaura rozynekae. Our findings support the hypothesis that both taxa belonged to a clade of non-lepidosaur lepidosauromorphs that co-existed with lepidosaurs into the Middle Jurassic.