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Armadillo lizard foot without osteoderms

Edward Stanley

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

Ouroborus cataphractus

The Latin name for the armadillo lizard – Ouroborus -- means “tail-biter,” and it’s no wonder. When this lizard is frightened, it rolls into a ball and hangs onto its tail, like the mythical dragon of the same name. By doing this, the lizard protects its soft belly, exposing only its back – which turns out to be heavily armored.

Edward Stanley, a doctoral candidate in comparative biology at the Museum, uses CT scanning to view the lizard’s “osteoderms” – its bony plates of armor. The data help link the patterns of armor in related lizard species with their evolutionary history.

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Details

  • Title: Armadillo lizard foot without osteoderms
  • Creator: Edward Stanley
  • Publisher: American Museum of Natural History
  • Department / Discipline: Richard Gilder Graduate School

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