Fossil of giant lizard native to Asia discovered in Switzerland

Fossil of giant lizard native to Asia discovered in Switzerland

A species of lizard, now native to Asia, Africa and Australia, has been found fossilised inside a rock at the Natural History Museum in Basel. The monitor lizard fossil, which was discovered on a rock unearthed in Canton Bern, was finally spotted by a scientist at the museum who put the puzzle together after discovering two incomplete teeth. 

Monitor lizards were living in Switzerland 17 million years ago

The discovery proves that Switzerland was home to huge monitor lizards more than 17 million years ago. The creatures are now found in modern-day Africa, Asia and Australia. 

The scientist who discovered the fossilised lizard teeth managed to spot them between other fossils on the rock. According to Blick, to confirm their suspicion, palaeontologist Bastien Mennecart contacted researchers from Poland, Germany and elsewhere in Switzerland, before they all concluded that the fossilised teeth did indeed belong to a monitor lizard. 

Three-metre lizards are amongst the largest in the world

Though they aren't native to Switzerland any more, monitor lizards are still common throughout the world today. The animals have a body length of up to three metres, making them some of the largest species of land iguana in the world. Monitor lizards have not lived in Europe for around a million years.

The scientists published their findings about the monitor lizard fossil in the scientific journal Swiss Journal of Geoscience. The publication was released on July 2, 2023.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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