Varanus (Reptilia, Sauria) from the Pleistocene of Timor
The present note deals with two varanid vertebrae from Pleistocene gravel deposits at Raebia in the Atambua area of Indonesian Timor. The specimens were collected in 1966 by Dr. Th. Verhoeven, who gave them to me for study. Other fossil vertebrate remains from the same site belong to a giant land tortoise, Geochelone atlas (Falconer & Cautley) also known from the Pleistocene of India, Java and the Celebes (Hooijer, 1971), and Stegodon timorensis Sartono, a pygmy proboscidean comparable to those of the Pleistocene of the Celebes and Flores (Hooijer, 1972). No further remains of the varanid have been discovered, and the vertebrae may here be placed on record. There are a thoracic vertebra, with the neural spine broken off and the condyle as well as the margin of the cup incomplete, and a caudal vertebra with facets for the chevrons, lacking the right transverse process but with the left partially preserved, and the base of the neural spine present. Three views of each of these two vertebrae are given in pl. 1. The thoracic vertebra agrees rather well in size with those of a large (2.5 m long) skeleton of Varanus komodoensis Ouwens in the Leiden Museum (accessioned Oct. 10, 1928). The four thoracics of V. komodoensis in table 1 are the 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th, respectively; they do not differ much in shape or size among themselves. The Raebia thoracic vertebra differs from those of V. komodoensis in the width over the prezygapophyses being greater relative to that over the postzygapophyses, and in the neural spine being shorter anteroposteriorly. The prezygapophyses width in the Raebia vertebra exceeds the postzygapophyses width by 10 mm against 1-3 mm in V. komodoensis. In the recent species the base of the neural spine
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Hooijer, D.A. (1972). Varanus (Reptilia, Sauria) from the Pleistocene of Timor. Zoologische Mededelingen, 47(34), 445–448.