card
039

Gobiderma pulchrum

OLogy Series
specimen
card
039

Gobiderma pulchrum

OLogy Series
specimen

This rare lizard lived in the Gobi Desert about 80 million years ago. Gobiderma probably ate insects, and was possibly eaten by dinosaurs, such as the bird-like oviraptorids. The small bony plates on its head probably served as armor.

A Monster with a History
Although Gobiderma is extinct, its relatives live on. The Gila (HEE-luh) Monster, for example, lives in deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The Gila Monster has a poisonous bite, but scientists don't think Gobiderma shared this toxic feature.

How many different kinds of lizard fossils have been found so far in the Gobi?

fewer than 50

more than 50

more than 100

Are you right?

Correct!

Many of these lizard fossils have been found at Ukhaa Tolgod, a dig site with beautifully preserved fossils from about 80 million years ago.

We put Gobiderma into a new section of the cladogram called Monstersauria, which includes Gila Monsters and other lizards.

Based on fossil evidence, paleontologists know that Gobiderma had reddish skin with yellow stripes.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

A fossil's color has to do with the minerals in the rocks nearby, not the animal's actual color. Artists sometimes make guesses based on modern animals.

Gobiderma pulchrum (go-bee-dur-ma)
Locality Found: Mongolia
Age: Cretaceous 80 MYA Size: 3 inches long
Prepared For: 2000 Museum exhibit Fighting Dinosaurs
Characteristics: Like the skulls of many modern reptiles, Gobidermas' skull was covered with bumpy armor consisting of tiny bones called osteoderms.

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Mark Norell: Discovery Channel Online.