Genealogy of scaly reptiles rewritten

Iguana – looks primitive, but isn’t

Looks can be deceiving. The most comprehensive analysis ever performed of the genetic relationships among all the major groups of snakes, lizards, and other scaly reptiles has resulted in a radical reorganization of the family tree of these animals, requiring new names for many of the tree’s new branches.

The family tree in use now is based primarily on comparisons of certain physical structures, known as morphological characters – like the shape of a specific bone. This new gene study has redrawn the family tree of lizards and puts primitive-looking iguanas and relatives at the top instead of bottom of the tree.