Ancient iguana burrow discovered

CREDIT: James St. John - Flickr

AN ancient iguana burrow, dug 115,000 years ago was discovered on the island of San Salvador, in the Bahamas archipelago.

It is thought to be the burrow of a female Bahamian iguana ‘Cyclura riyeli riyeli’, a species that still lives in the archipelago.

American paleontologists from Emory University have described the first fossil iguana burrow in a study published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Although many iguanas dig burrows but no trace of them had yet been found in the fossil record.

The study authors, led by Anthony J. Martin of Emory University, believe it is a burrow dug out of a dune.

“Digging burrows has helped them survive hurricanes, droughts and other problems that can affect them, as well as most predators,” Martin explained.

The burrow is 69cm high, 82cm long, at 40.5cm at its widest point and shows signs that it was used to lay eggs and not as a burrow to live. It appears the eggs never hatched as the smaller tunnels that the hatchlings would have used to pierce the ground and get to the surface are not visible.


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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.

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