December 2008
Vol. 36, Fasc. 1-4
<< prev. next >>

Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

Article Management

You must log in to submit or manage articles.

You do not have an account yet ? Sign up.

PalaeovertebrataVol. 36, Fasc. 1-4:37-73. 2008
<< prev. article next article >>

Fossil snakes from the Palaeocene of São José de Itaboraí, Brazil Part III. Ungaliophiinae, Booids incertae sedis, and Caenophidia. Summary, update and discussion of the snake fauna from the locality
Jean-Claude Rage
Keywords: booid-grade incertae sedis; Brazil; Caenophidia; New taxa; Palaeocene; Russellophiidae; Snakes; tropidophiids; Ungaliophiinae

doi: 10.18563/pv.36.1-4.37-73

Cite this article: Rage J.-C., 2008. Fossil snakes from the Palaeocene of São José de Itaboraí, Brazil Part III. Ungaliophiinae, Booids incertae sedis, and Caenophidia. Summary, update and discussion of the snake fauna from the locality. Palaeovertebrata 36 (1-4): 37-73. doi: 10.18563/pv.36.1-4.37-73

Export citation


Aside from Madtsoiidae, anilioids, and Boidae that were studied previously, the middle Palaeocene of ltaborai (BraziI) has produced Ungaliophiinae ("tropidophiids"), booid-grade snakes incertae sedis, and a possible Russellophiidae (Caenophidia) that are described in the present article. This article is the third and final report on the snakes from the locality. The Ungaliophiinae (Paraungaliophis pricei gen. et sp. nov.) are rare whereas the booid-grade snakes incertae sedis (ltaboraiophis depressus gen. et sp. nov., Paulacoutophis perplexus gen. et sp. nov.) are more frequent. A single vertebra is referred to the Russellophiidae (Caenophidia) with reservation. An update of the whole fauna of snakes from ltaborai is provided. Hechtophis austrinus that was tentatively referred to the erycine Boidae is now regarded as a Boidae incertae sedis. Most snakes from Itaborai are known only from the locality. Astonishingly, only the ailioids Coniophis cf. C. precedens gives possible evidence of interchanges between South and North America. The fauna of snakes from Itaborai, as well as the other Palaeocene faunas of snakes from South America are distinct from those of the Cretaceous and the Eocene of South America; they appear to be more different from the Cretaceous faunas than from those of the Eocene. The fauna from Itaborai is the richest and most diverse assemblage of snakes from the Palaeocene worldwide; it shares only a few taxa with other Palaeocene localities. 

Published in Vol. 36, Fasc. 1-4 (2008)


ALBINO, A.M., 1986. Nuevos Boidae Madtsoiinae en el Cretácico tardío de Patagonia (Formación Los Alamitos, Río Negro, Argentina). IV Congr. Argentino Paleontol. Bioestratigr., Actas 2: 15-21, Mendoza.
ALBINO, A.M., 1987a. The late Cretaceous fauna of los Alamitos, Patagonia, Argentina; Part V - The ophidians. In: Bonaparte, J.F. (ed.), The late Cretaceous fauna of Los Alamitos, Patagonia, Argentina. Rev. Mus. Argentino Cienc. Nat. "Bernardino Rivadavia", Paleontol., 3: 141-145.
ALBINO, A.M., 1987b. Un nuevo Boidae (Reptilia: Serpentes) del Eoceno temprano de la Provincia del Chubut, Argentina. Ameghiniana, 24: 61-66.
ALBINO, A.M., 1989. Noticia preliminar sobre el más antiguo Boinae (Serpentes: Boidae) de Argentina (Formacíon Mealla, Edad Riochiquense, Provincia de Jujuy). Ameghiniana, 26: 237.
ALBINO, A.M., 1990. Las Serpientes de São José de Itaboraí (edad Itaboraiense, Paleoceno medio), Brasil. Ameghiniana, 27: 337-342.
ALBINO, A.M., 1993. Snakes from the Paleocene and Eocene of Patagonia (Argentina): Paleoecology and coevolution with mammals. Historical Biology, 7: 51-69.
ALBINO, A.M., 1994. Una nuova serpiente (Reptilia) en el Cretacico superior de Patagonia, Argentina. Pesquisas, 21: 58-63.
ALBINO, A.M., 1996a. Snakes from the Miocene of Patagonia (Argentina). Part I: The Booidea. N. Jb. Geol. Paläont., Abh., 199: 417-434.
ALBINO, A.M., 1996b. The South American fossil Squamata (Reptilia: Lepidosauria). In: ARRATIA, G. (ed.), Contributions of Southern South America to Vertebrate Paleontology. Münchner Geowiss. Abh., A, 30: 185-202.
ALBINO, A.M., 2000. New record of snakes from the Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina). Geodiversitas, 22: 247-253.
ALBINO, A.M., 2007. Lepidosauromorpha. In: GASPARINI, Z., SALGADO, L. & CORIA, R.A. (eds), Patagonian Mesozoic Reptiles. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis: 87- 115.
APESTEGUÍA, S. & ZAHER, H., 2006. A Cretaceous terrestrial snake with robust hindlimbs and a sacrum. Nature, 440: 1037-1040.
AUGÉ, M. & RAGE, J.C., 2006. Herpetofaunas from the Upper Paleocene and Lower Eocene of Morocco. Ann. Paléontol., 92: 235-253.
AVERIANOV, A.O., 1997. Paleogene sea snakes from the eastern part of the Tethys. Russian J
BASZIO, S., 2004. Messelophis variatus n.gen. n.sp. from the Eocene of Messel: a tropidopheine snake with affinities to Erycinae (Boidae). In: HABERSETZER, J. & SCHAAL, S. (eds), Current Geological and Paleontological Research in the Messel Formation. Cour. Forsch.-Inst. Senckenberg, 252: 47-66.
BOGERT, C.M., 1968. A new genus and species of dwarf Boa from southern Mexico. Amer. Mus. Nov., 2354: 1-38.
BONAPARTE, J.F., 1991. Los vertebrados fósiles de la Formación Río Colorado de Neuquén y cercanías, Cretácico Superior, Argentina. Rev. Mus. Argentino Cienc. Nat. "Bernardino Rivadavia", Paleontol., 4: 12-123.
CALDWELL, M.W., 2007. Snake phylogeny, origins, and evolution. In: ANDERSON, J.S. & SUES, H.D. (eds), Major transitions in Vertebrate evolution. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis: 253-302.
CALDWELL, M.W. & ALBINO, A.M., 2001. Palaeoenvironment and palaeoecology of three Cretaceous snakes: Pachyophis, Pachyrhachis, and Dinilysia. Acta Palaeontol. Pol., 46: 203-218.
CALDWELL, M.W. & ALBINO, A.M., 2002. Exceptionally preserved skeletons of the Cretaceous snake Dinilysia patagonica Woodward, 1901. J. Vert. Paleont., 22: 861-866.[0861:EPSOTC]2.0.CO;2
CALDWELL, M.W. & CALVO, J., 2008. Details of a new skull and articulated cervical column of Dinilysia patagonica Woodward, 1901. J. Vert. Paleont., 28: 349-362.[349:DOANSA]2.0.CO;2
CANDEIRO, C.R.A., MARTINELLI, A.G., AVILLA, L.S. & RICH, T.H., 2006. Tetrapods from the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian-Maastrichtian) Bauru Group of Brazil: a reappraisal. Cretaceous Res., 27: 923-946.
CAVELIER, C. & POMEROL, C., 1983. Echelle de corrélation stratigraphique du Paléogène. Stratotypes, étages standards, biozones, chimiozones et anomalies magnétiques. Géol. France, 3: 261-262.
ERICKSON, B.R., 1998. A palaeophid snake from the late Paleocene of South Carolina. In: SANDERS, A.E. (ed.), Paleobiology of the Williamsburg Formation (Black Mingo Group; Paleocene) of South Carolina, USA. Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., 88: 215-220.
ESTES, R., 1976. Middle Paleocene lower vertebrates from the Tongue River Formation, southeastern Montana. J. Paleont., 50: 500-520.
FOLIE, A., 2006. Evolution des amphibiens et squamates de la transition Crétacé-Paléogène en Europe: les faunes du Maastrichtien du Bassin de Hateg (Roumanie) et du Paléocène du Bassin de Mons (Belgique). PhD Thesis, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 274 p.
GAYET, M., MARSHALL, L.G., SEMPERE, T., MEUNIER, F.J., CAPPETTA, H. & RAGE, J.C., 2001. Middle Maastrichtian vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, dinosaurs and other reptiles, mammals) from Pajcha Pata (Bolivia). Biostratigraphic, palaeoecologic and palaeobiogeographic implications. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimat., Palaeoecol., 169: 39-68.
GAYET, M., RAGE, J.C., SEMPERE, T. & GAGNIER, P.Y., 1992.- Modalités des échanges de vertébrés continentaux entre l'Amérique du Nord et l'Amérique du Sud au Crétacé supérieur et au Paléocène. Bull. Soc. géol. Fr., 163: 781-791.
GELFO, J.N., GOIN, F.J., WOODBURNE, M.O. & MUIZON, C. DE, 2009. Biochronological relationships of the earliest South American Paleogene mammalian faunas. Palaeontology, 52: 251- 269.
GODINOT, M., BROIN, F. de, BUFFETAUT, E., RAGE, J.C. & RUSSELL, D.E., 1978. Dormaal: une des plus anciennes faunes éocènes d'Europe. C. R. Acad. Sc. Paris, D, 287: 1273-1276.
GÓMEZ, R.O., BÁEZ, A.M. & ROUGIER, G.W., 2008. An anilioid snake from the Upper Cretaceous
of northern Patagonia. Cretaceous Res., 29: 481-488.
GRADSTEIN, F.M., OGG, J.G. & SMITH, A.G., 2005. A Geologic Timescale 2004. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
HEAD, J.J., BLOCH, J.I., HASTINGS, A.K., BOURQUE, J.R., CADENA, E.A., HERRERA, F.A., POLLY, P.D. & JARAMILLO, C.A., 2009. Giant boid snake from the Palaeocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures. Nature, 457: 715-718.
HECHT, M.K., 1959. Amphibians and Reptiles. In: McGREW, P.O. (ed.), The geology and paleontology of the Elk Mountain and Tabernacle Butte area, Wyoming. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.,117: 130-146.
HOFFSTETTER, R., 1958. Un serpent marin du genre Pterosphenus (Pt. sheppardi nov. sp.) dans l'Eocène supérieur de l'Equateur (Amérique du Sud). Bull. Soc. géol. Fr., 8: 45-50.
HOFFSTETTER, R., 1959. Un dentaire de Madtsoia (serpent géant du Paléocène de Patagonie). Bull. Mus. natn. Hist. nat., 31: 379-386.
HOLMAN, J.A., 1977. Upper Eocene snakes (Reptilia, Serpentes) from Georgia. J. Herpetol., 11: 141-145.
HOLMAN, J.A., 1982. Geringophis (Serpentes: Boidae) from the middle Oligocene of Nebraska. Herpetologica, 38: 489-492.
HOLMAN, J.A., 2000. Fossil snakes of North America. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis.
HOLMAN, J.A. & CASE, G.R., 1992. A puzzling new snake (Reptilia: Serpentes) from the late Paleocene of Mississipi. Ann. Carnegie Mus., 61: 197-205.
HOLMAN, J.A. & HARRISON, D.L., 1998. A new genus of snake (Serpentes: Boidae) from the Upper Eocene of Hordle Cliff, Hampshire, England. Acta zool. cracov., 41: 23-27.
HOLMAN, J.A., HARRISON, D.L. & WARD, D.J., 2006. Late Eocene snakes from the Headon Hill Formation, southern England. Cainozoic Res., 5: 51-62.
KUHN, O., 1940. Crocodilier- und Squamatenreste aus dem oberen Paleocän von Walbeck. Zentr. Mineral. Geol Paläont., B, 1: 21-25.
LADUKE, T.C., 2002. Fossil snake assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous of Madagascar. J. Vert. Paleont., 22 (3, suppl.): 76A-77A.
LEANZA, H.A., APESTEGUIA, S., NOVAS, F.E. & DE LA FUENTE, M.S., 2004. Cretaceous terrestrial beds from the Neuquén Basin (Argentina) and their tetrapod assemblages. Cretaceous Res., 25: 61-87.
LEE, M.S.Y. & SCANLON, J.D., 2002. Snake phylogeny based on osteology, soft anatomy and ecology. Biol. Rev., 77: 333-401.
MARSHALL, L.G., SEMPERE, T. & BUTLER, R.F., 1997. Chronostratigraphy of the Mammalbearing Paleocene of South America. J. South Amer. Earth Sc., 10: 49-70.
MCDOWELL, S.B., 1987. Systematics. In: SEIGEL, R.A., COLLINS, J.T. & NOVAK, S.S. (eds), Snakes. Ecology, and evolutionary biology. McMillan, New York: 3-50.
MUIZON, C. & BRITO, I.M., 1993. Le bassin calcaire de São José de Itaboraí (Rio de Janeiro, Brésil): ses relations fauniques avec le site de Tiupampa (Cochamba, Bolivie). Ann. Paléontol., 79: 233-268.
NEL, A., de PLÖEG, G., DEJAX, J., DUTHEIL, D., FRANCESCHI, D. DE, GHEERBRANT, E., GODINOT, M., HERVET, S., MENIER, J.J., AUGÉ, M., BIGNOT, G., CAVAGNETTO, C., DUFFAUD, S., GAUDANT, J., HUA, S., JOSSANG, A., LAPPARENT de BROIN, F. DE, POZZI, J.P., PAICHELER, J.C., BEUCHET, F. & RAGE, J.C., 1999. Un gisement sparnacien exceptionnel à plantes, arthropodes et vertébrés (Eocène basal, MP7) : Le Quesnoy (Oise, France). C. R. Acad. Sc. Paris, 329: 65-72
RAGE, J.C., 1975. Un serpent du Paléocène du Niger. Etude préliminaire sur l'origine des Caenophidiens (Reptilia, Serpentes). C. R. Acad. Sc. Paris, D, 281: 515-518.
RAGE, J.C., 1978. La poche à phosphates de Ste-Néboule (Lot) et sa faune de vertébrés du Ludien supérieur. 5 - Squamates. Palaeovertebrata, 8: 201-215.
RAGE, J.C., 1981. Les continents péri-atlantiques au Crétacé supérieur: migrations des faunes continentales et problèmes paléogéographiques. Cretaceous Res., 2: 65-84.
RAGE, J.C., 1984. Serpentes. Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie, part 11. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart.
RAGE, J.C., 1987. Fossil History. In: SEIGEL, R.A., COLLINS, J.T. & NOVAK, S.S. (eds), Snakes. Ecology, and evolutionary biology. McMillan, New York: 51-76.
RAGE, J.C., 1991. Squamate Reptiles from the early Paleocene of Tiupampa area (Santa Lucía Formation), Bolivia. In: SUAREZ SORUCO, R. (ed.), Fosiles y Facies de Bolivia., Vol. I - Vertebrados. Rev. Técn. Yacim. Petrol. Fisc. Bolivianos, 12: 503-508.
RAGE, J.C., 1996. Les Madtsoiidae (Reptilia, Serpentes) du Crétacé supérieur d'Europe: témoins gondwaniens d'une dispersion transtéthysienne. C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, IIa, 322: 603-608.
RAGE, J.C., 1998. Fossil snakes from the Palaeocene of São José de Itaboraí, Brazil. Part I. Madtsoiidae, Aniliidae. Palaeovertebrata, 27: 109-144.
RAGE, J.C., 2001. Fossil snakes from the Palaeocene of São José de Itaboraí, Brazil. Part II. Boidae. Palaeovertebrata, 30: 111-150.
RAGE, J.C., 2006. The lower vertebrates from the Eocene and Oligocene of the Phosphorites du Quercy (France): an overview. In: PÉLISSIÉ, T. & SIGÉ, B. (eds), 30 millions d'années de biodiversité dynamique dans le paléokarst du Quercy, "Journées Bernard Gèze". Strata, 13: 161-173.
RAGE, J.C. & AUGE, M., 1993. Squamates from the Cainozoic of the Western part of Europe. A review. Rev. Paléobiol., vol. sp. 7: 199-216.
RAGE, J.C., BAJPAI, S., THEWISSEN, J.G.M. & TIWARI, B.N., 2003. Early Eocene snakes from Kutch, Western India, with a review of the Palaeophiidae. Geodiversitas, 25: 695-716.
RAGE, J.C., FOLIE, A., RANA, R.S., SINGH, H., ROSE, K. D. & SMITH, T., 2008. A diverse snake fauna from the early Eocene of Vastan Lignite Mine, Gujarat, India. Acta Palaeontol. Pol., 53: 391- 403.
RAGE, J.C. & WERNER, C., 1999. Mid-Cretaceous (Cenomanian) snakes from Wadi Abu Hashim, Sudan: the earliest snake assemblage. Palaeont. afr., 35: 85-110.
SCANLON, J.D., 2006. Skull of the large non-macrostomatan snake Yurlunggur from the Australian Oligo-Miocene. Nature, 439: 839-842.
SCANLON, J.D. & LEE, M.S.Y., 2000. The Pleistocene serpent Wonambi and the early evolution of snakes. Nature, 403: 416-420.
SCHAAL, S. & BASZIO, S., 2004. Messelophis ermannorum n.sp., eine neue Zwergboa (Serpentes: Boidae: Tropidopheinae) aus dem Mittel-Eozän von Messel. In: HABERSETZER, J. & SCHAAL, S. (eds), Current Geological and Paleontological Research in the Messel Formation. Cour. Forsch.-Inst. Senckenberg, 252: 67-77.
SIGÉ, B., SEMPERE, T., BUTLER, R.F., MARSHALL, L.G. & CROCHET, J.Y., 2004. Age and stratigraphic reassessment of the fossil-bearing Laguna Umayo red mudstone unit, SE Peru, from regional stratigraphy, fossil record and paleomagnetism. Geobios, 37: 771-794.
SIMPSON, G.G., 1933. A new fossil snake from the Notostylops beds of Patagonia. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 67: 1-22.
SULLIVAN, R.M. & LUCAS, S.G., 1986. Annotated list of lower Vertebrates from the Paleocene
Nacimiento Formation (Puercan-Torrejonian), San Juan Basin, New Mexico. J. Herpetol., 20: 202- 209.
SZYNDLAR, Z. & BÖHME, W., 1993. Die fossilen Schlangen Deutschlands: Geschichte der faunen und ihrer Erforschung. Mertensiella, 3: 381-431.
SZYNDLAR, Z. & BÖHME, W., 1996. Redescription of Tropidonotus atavus von Meyer, 1855 from the upper Oligocene of Rott (Germany) and its allocation to Rottophis gen. nov. (Serpentes, Boidae). Palaeontographica, A, 240: 145-161.
SZYNDLAR, Z. & RAGE, J.C., 2003. Non-erycine Booidea from the Oligocene and Miocene of Europe. Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Cracow
SZYNDLAR, Z., SMITH, R. & RAGE, J.C., 2008. A new dwarf boa (Serpentes, Booidea, "Tropidophiidae") from the Early Oligocene of Belgium: a case of the isolation of Western European snake faunas. Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 152: 393-406.
ULIANA, M.A. & DELLAPÉ, D.A., 1981. Estratigrafía y evolución paleoambiantal de la sucesión maestrichtiana-eoterciaria del engolfamiento neuquino (Patagonia septentrional). Actas VIII Congr. Geol. Argentino, San Luis, 3: 673-711.
UNDERWOOD, G., 1976. A systematic analysis of boid snakes. In: BELLAIRS, A. d'A. & COX, C.B. (eds), Morphology and biology of reptiles. Linn. Soc. Symp. Ser., 3: 151-175.
VAN VALEN, L., 1988. Paleocene dinosaurs or Cretaceous ungalutes in South America? Evol. Monographs, 10: 1-79.
VIDAL, N. & DAVID, P., 2004. New insights into the early history of snakes inferred from two nuclear genes. Mol. Phyl. Evol., 31: 783-787.
VIDAL, N., DELMAS, A.S. & HEDGES, S.B., 2007. The higher-level relationships of alethinophidian snakes inferred from seven nuclear and mitochondrial genes. In: HENDERSON, R.W. & POWELL, R. (eds), Biology of the Boas and Pythons. Eagle Mountain Publ., Eagle Montain, Utah: 27-33.
VIDAL, N. & HEDGES, S.B., 2002. Higher-level relationships of snakes inferred from four nuclear and mitochondrial genes. C.R. Biologies, 325: 977-985.
WALLACH, V. & GÜNTHER, R., 1998. Visceral anatomy of the Malaysian snake genus Xenophidion, including a cladistic analysis and allocation to a new family (Serpentes: Xenophidiidae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 19: 385-405.
WIENS, J.J., KUCZYNSKI, C.A., SMITH, S.A., MULCAHY, D.G., SITES, J.W. Jr, TOWNSEND, T.M. & REEDER, T.W., 2008. Branch lengths, support, and congruence: testing the phylogenetic approach with 20 nuclear loci in snakes. Syst. Biol., 57: 420-431.
WILCOX, T.P., ZWICKL, D.J., HEATH, T.A. & HILLIS, D.M., 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of the dwarf boas and a comparison of Bayesian and bootstrap measures of phylogenetic support. Mol. Phyl. Evol., 25: 361-371.
ZAHER, H., 1994. Les Tropidopheoidea (Serpentes; Alethinophidia) sont-ils réellement monophylétiques? Arguments en faveur de leur polyphylétisme. C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, Sc. Vie, 317: 471-478.
ZAHER, H., APESTEGUÍA, S. & SCANFERLA, C.A ., 2009. The anatomy of the upper Cretaceous snake Najash rionegrina Apesteguía & Zaher, 2006, and the evolution of limblessness in snakes. Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 156: 801-826.
ZAHER, H.D., LANGER, M.C., FARA, E., CARVALHO, I.S. & ARRUDA, J.T., 2003. A mais antigua serpente (Anilioidea) brasileira: Cretáceo Superior do Grupo Bauru, General Salgado, SP. Paleont. Destaque, 44: 52.