Chthonophis(Beneath the earth snake).
Named By: N. R. Longrich, J. Vinther, R. A. Pyron, D. Pisani & J. A. Gauthier - 2015.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Squamata, Chthonophidae.
Species: C. subterraneus (type).
Size: Unknown due to lack of remains.
Known locations: USA, Montana - Fort Union Formation?
Time period: Paleocene.
Fossil representation: Partial lower jaw that seems to have been partially digested.
Although known only from a partial jaw, Chthonophis may represent one of the earliest appearances of an Amphisbaenia lizard. Also known as worm lizards, amphisbaenians are lizards that have lost limbs giving them a superficial resemblance to snakes, although even a basic study of them will reveal several clear differences.
- Biogeography of worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) driven by end-Cretaceous mass extinction. - Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 282:20143034. - N. R. Longrich, J. Vinther, R. A. Pyron, D. Pisani & J. A. Gauthier - 2015.