The Solomon Islands skink (genus Corucia) enters the LRT

Today the extant Solomon Islands skink
(Corucia zebrata, Gray 1855; Figs. 1, 2) enters the large reptile tree (LRT, 1714+ taxa). It nests basal to Gymnophthlamus + Vanzosaura and between Chalcides and Sirenoscincus.

Figure 1. The Solomon Islands skink (Corucia zebrata) is the largest skink on the planet, gives birth with a placenta and lives in communities.

Figure 1. The Solomon Islands skink (Corucia zebrata) is the largest skink on the planet, gives birth with a placenta and lives in communities.

This nesting comes as no surprise.
After all, skeletally Corucia is just another widely recognized skink, albeit with some unique reproductive and social qualities (see below).

Figure 2. The skink, Corucia zebrata with DGS colors added.

Figure 2. The skink, Corucia zebrata with DGS colors added.

Do not confuse Corucia with Carusia
(Fig. 3). The two are not the same, nor are they closely related.

Figure 1. Carusia intermedia, a basal lepidosaur close to Meyasaurus now, but looks a lot like Scandensia. Note the primitive choanae and broad palatal elements. None of the data I have shows the caudoventral process of the jugal, so I added it here from the description. Same with the epipterygoid.

Figure 3. Carusia intermedia, a basal lepidosaur close to Meyasaurus now, but looks a lot like Scandensia. Note the primitive choanae and broad palatal elements. None of the data I have shows the caudoventral process of the jugal, so I added it here from the description. Same with the epipterygoid.

Corucia zebrata
(Gray 1855, Figs. 1, 2) is the extant Soloman Islands skink, the largest known extant species of skink. Long chisel teeth distinguish this herbivorous genus. The tail is prehensile. This is one of the few species of reptile to live in communal groups. Rather than laying eggs, relatively large young are born after developing within a placenta. Single babies are typical. Twins are rare according to Wikipedia.

Removing all Carusia sister taxa in the LRT
fails to shift Carusia from its traditionally overlooked node basal to squamates.

The Wikipedia entry
on the ‘clade’ Carusioidea excludes great swathes of taxa relative to the LRT, so it mistakenly suggests that extinct Carusia is a member of the Squamata. Adding pertinent taxa solves that problem, as the LRT demonstrates.


References
Gray JE 1855. (1856). New Genus of Fish-scaled Lizards (Scissosaræ), from New Guinea. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Second Series 18: 345–346.

wiki/Solomon_Islands_skink
wiki/Carusia
wiki/Carusioidea
http://www.markwitton.com
http://tetzoo.com

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328388754_A_new_lepidosaur_clade_the_Tritosauria

12 thoughts on “The Solomon Islands skink (genus Corucia) enters the LRT

  1. Dave, Darren never claimed that you entered Corucia into the LRT, nor did he claim that you used the wrong skull.

    Here is what he said: “To take one example, he’s gleefully pointed out more than once (most recently in July 2020) that the Cretaceous lizard Carusia can’t be called Carusia because there’s already a living lizard called Carusia. Ten seconds of googling would reveal that the living lizard is Corucia.”

    This is true, as you said this in an older blogpost: “Carusia intermedia (Borsuk-Bialynicka 1985, Kegin and Norell 1998, Late Cretaceous, Mongolia, ZPAL MgR-111/34, Fig. 1) was originally described as a questionable Scincomorphan, with the name Carolina. In 1987 Borsuk-Bialynicka renamed it after learning Carolina was preoccupied. Kegin and Norell recovered it in the Anguimorpha. Unfortunately the name Carusia is already taken by the Solomon Islands skink, Carusia zebrata. And the two are not related.”

    You did misspell Corucia as Carusia, and used this to incorrectly support the preoccupation of Carusia.

    https://pterosaurheresies.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/carusia-intermedia-needs-a-new-name-again/

  2. I’m pretty sure the issue wasn’t whether you’d included one, the other, or both. It was that you seemed to think they shared the same name and called for one to be renamed on the basis of being a junior homonym.

    Here’s a quote from your post on 17 August 2014:

    “Carusia intermedia (Borsuk-Bialynicka 1985, Kegin and Norell 1998, Late Cretaceous, Mongolia, ZPAL MgR-111/34, Fig. 1) was originally described as a questionable Scincomorphan, with the name Carolina. In 1987 Borsuk-Bialynicka renamed it after learning Carolina was preoccupied. Kegin and Norell recovered it in the Anguimorpha. Unfortunately the name Carusia is already taken by the Solomon Islands skink, Carusia zebrata. And the two are not related.”

    As you point out here, the Solomon Islands skink is not Carusia zebrata, but Corucia zebrata. The two names sound the same when spoken, but they’re not the same and are therefore not homonyms.

    You updated that entry a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t address the mistake you made about the name.

    Confusing two names that sound similar is not in and of itself a serious problem. I’ve done it myself. So have most of my colleagues and friends. I think what many of us find objectionable is your evident unwillingness to acknowledge that you did so. If you did acknowledge the slip-up (which, again, most of us would view as a minor thing), could you point me to it?

  3. Although I do not support Darren’s attempt to cancel you (not this time, nor the last time), reading his latest post about you it reads pretty clear that in this instance, he called you out for confusing Carusia with Corucia when you went over the history of the species. In your own words (from August 17th 2014 / July 7th 2020 [seriously, it would help everyone if you would explain what you change in your updates]), second paragraph down:

    “Kegin and Norell recovered it in the Anguimorpha. Unfortunately the name Carusia is already taken by the Solomon Islands skink, Carusia zebrata. And the two are not related.”

    So, that’s the faux pas. Nothing more egregious than that.

  4. You genuinely believe you’re in the right here, don’t you? Your preconceptions have rendered you literally unable to comprehend the words you’re reading, in my comments and in Naish’s blog post. You don’t understand that in reality, the situation is the exact opposite of what you’ve stated in this post.

    Well, everyone else can see it. Maybe someday you will, too. But I’m not holding my breath.

      • Your post still contains the lines “Do not confuse Corucia with Carusia
        (Fig. 3). The two are not the same (contra Darren Naish), nor are they closely related.” Please correct that. And in my opinion you owe Naish (and his “uninformed blog readers” such as myself) a stronger apology for being so insulting originally.

      • Thanks, Squiddhartha for the good eye. Correction made.

        Let’s remember how this all began. I was looking for Carusia data on Google. A Solomon Island skink came up that someone had misspelled Carusia. I didn’t dig any deeper, thinking we have a synonym here. During the intervening time I forgot about it and no one made the correction.

        If you want to say that experience was worse for you and Darren than his crusade to alienate readers from my blogpost and website, then go back and reread this blogpost: https://pterosaurheresies.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/lets-open-up-an-old-can-of-worms/

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