Fossil Friday: Paradracaena (“close to the dragon”)

A black and white headed Tegu, a living relative of the Paradracaena.

By Matt Borths, Curator of the Duke Lemur Center’s Division of Fossil Primates.

Happy first #FossilFriday of 2019! Meet Paradracaena, a large lizard with snail-crushing teeth that lived alongside the earliest South American monkeys.

The specimen was collected by Dr. Rich Kay (Duke University) and his excavation teams in Colombia. It was recently scanned so it is cataloged physically and digitally at the Duke Lemur Center where it can be studied for years to come!

Paradracaena (which means “close to the dragon”) is related to tegus, a modern group of lizards that still chomp their way through South America.