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Temporal range: Upper Triassic – Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Sphenodontia
Williston, 1925

The Sphenodontia is an order of lizard-like reptiles. It includes only one living genus, the tuatara (Sphenodon). An alternative name for the order is the Rhynchocephalia.

They are an offshoot from the evolutionary line leading to the true lizards and snakes. They had many families during the late Triassic and Jurassic periods but then declined, and are the least successful of the lepidosaurs.[1]

The only surviving member today is the New Zealand tuatara.

References[change | change source]

  1. Evans S.E. & Jones M.E.H. 2010. The origin, early history and diversification of lepidosauromorph reptiles. In Bandyopadhyay S. (ed) New aspects of Mesozoic biodiversity, Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences 132, 27-44. [1]