Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Late Jurassic lizards from Como Bluff, Wyoming and their palaeobiogeographic significance


Fossils from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation, Como Bluff, Wyoming (Tithonian, 140 Myr ago) show that three genera of European lizards from the later Jurassic of England and Portugal (Cteniogenys, Paramacellodus Dorsetisaurus) also inhabited North America. These specimens corroborate evidence from mammal and other terrestrial vertebrate faunal similarities that western Europe and western North America had a continuous land connection in the late Jurassic. Some of this similarity, however, is pre-Tithonian, indicating that widespread mid-Jurassic transgressive seas in Europe were no barrier to vertebrate dispersal.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Prothero, D. R. Bull. Am. Mus. nat. Hist. (in the press).

  2. Gaffney, E. S. Bull. Am. Mus. nat. Hist. 162, 91–136 (1979).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Seiffert, J. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 22, 8–85 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Hecht, M. K. & Estes, R. D. Postilla 46, 1–19 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Hoffstetter, R. C.r. natn. Rech. Sci. 163, 349–371 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Carroll, R. L. & Galton, P.M. Nature 266, 252–255 (1977).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Robinson, P. L. Proc. geol. Soc. 1601, 137–146 (1962); C.r. natn. Rech. Sci. 163, 395–407 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Colbert, E. H. Am. Mus. Novit. 2246 (1966); Bull. Am. Mus. nat. Hist. 143, 89–142 (1970).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Estes, R. D. & Prothero, D. R. (in preparation).

  10. Etheridge, R. Copeia 4, 699–721 (1967).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dietz, R. S. & Holden, J. C. J. geophys. Res. 75, 4939–4956 (1970).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Smith, A. J. & Briden, J. C. Mesozoic and Cenozoic Palaeocontinental Maps (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1977).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kühne, W. G. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 14, 1–20 (1968); in Evolution and Environment (ed. Drake, E. T.) 109–123 (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1968).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hahn, G. Palaeontographica Abt. A 133, 1–100 (1969).

    Google Scholar 

  15. Owen, R. Rep. Br. Ass. Advmt Sci. 11, 60–204 (1841).

    Google Scholar 

  16. Galton, P.M. Publs biol. Geol. Milwaukee publ. Mus. 2, 41–54 (1977).

    Google Scholar 

  17. Bartram, A. J. Linn. Soc. 56, 183–205 (1975).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Evans, J. & Kemp, T.S. Palaeontology 19, 317–324 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Cocude-Michel, M. Nouv. Archs Mus. Hist. nat. Lyon 7, 1–187 (1963).

    Google Scholar 

  20. Thulborn, R. A. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 22, 89–134 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Krebs, B. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 14, 1–53 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  22. Bram, H. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 22, 135–141 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  23. De Lapparent, A. F. & Zbyszewski, G. Mem. Servs geol. Port. 1–63 (1957).

  24. Charig, A. J. in Atlas of Palaeobiogeography (ed. Hallam, A.) 359–362 (Elsevier, London, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  25. Colbert, E.H. Wandering Lands and Animals (Dutton, New York, 1973); in Implications of Continental Drift to the Earth Sciences Vol. 1 (eds Tarling, D. H. & Runcorn, S. K.) 395–412 (Academic, London, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  26. Cox, C. B. J. Biogeogr. 1, 75–94 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Freeman, E. F. Proc. geol. Ass. 87, 231–235 (1976); Science 194, 1053–1055 (1976); Palaeontology 22, 135–166 (1979).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Waldman, M. & Savage, R. J. G. J. geol. Soc. Lond. 128, 119–125 (1972).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Ager, D. V. in Jurassic Northern North Sea Symposium 1–43 (Stavanger, 1975).

    Google Scholar 

  30. Hallam, A. Jurassic Environments (Cambridge University Press, 1975); Publs biol. Geol. Milwaukee publ. Mus. 2, 23–34 (1977); Earth Sci. Rev. 5, 45–68 (1969); Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclim. Palaeocol. 23, 1–32 (1978).

    Google Scholar 

  31. Hallam, A. & Sellwood, B. W. J. Geol. 84, 301–322 (1976).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Prothero, D., Estes, R. Late Jurassic lizards from Como Bluff, Wyoming and their palaeobiogeographic significance. Nature 286, 484–486 (1980).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing