Abstract

Squamate fossils collected for the Sino-Canadian dinosaur expeditions (1986–1990) include some 70 specimens from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Djadochta Formation, exposed at the vicinity of Bayan Mandahu, Inner Mongolia, China. Well-preserved skulls, jaws, postcranial skeletons, and even osteodermal armor document a fossil assemblage composed of at least 18 genera in 8 families. Besides showing considerable taxonomic diversity, several families recorded in the assemblage are of importance in understanding the geologic and biogeographic distribution of the relevant groups, and the paleoenvironment in which these lizards lived. Comparison of the Gobi lizard assemblage with North American and Central Asian assemblages is briefly discussed. Taxonomic differences in the assemblage from that of the Upper Cretaceous in the North American Western Interior reflect endemism and suggest a low frequency of interchange of small terrestrial vertebrates between the two regions during Campanian time. The taphonomic setting of the squamate fossils indicates quick burial in arid to semiarid environments in the Gobi Desert, differing importantly from the Western Interior of North America, where the accumulation of disarticulated jaw fragments reflects postmortem decomposition and fluvial transportation under subtropical to warm temperate conditions.

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