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Temporal range: Cretaceous
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Genus: Sineoamphisbaena

Sineoamphisbaena is an extinct genus of squamate of uncertain phylogenetic placement. Its fossils are known from the Late Cretaceous deposits in Inner Mongolia, China. Wu et al. (1993), Wu et al. (1996) and Gao (1997) proposed and argued that it was the oldest known amphisbaenian; this, however, was challenged by other authors, such as Kearney (2003) and Conrad (2008), who instead assigned Sineoamphisbaena to the group of squamates variously known as Macrocephalosauridae, Polyglyphanodontidae or Polyglyphanodontia.

A large-scale study of fossil and living squamates published in 2012 by Gauthier et al. did not find evidence for a particularly close relationship between amphisbaenians and Sineoamphisbaena; in their primary analysis Sineoamphisbaena was found to be the sister taxon of the clade containing snakes, amphisbaenians, the family Dibamidae and the American legless lizard. The primary analysis of Gauthier et al. did not support a close relationship between Sineoamphisbaena and polyglyphanodontians either; however, the authors noted that when all snake-like squamates and mosasaurs were removed from the analysis, and burrowing squamates were then added individually to it, Sineoamphisbaena grouped with polyglyphanodontians. Gauthier et al. (2012) considered it possible that Sineoamphisbaena was a burrowing polyglyphanodontian.


  • World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures: The Ultimate Visual Reference To 1000 Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Creatures Of Land, Air And Sea ... And Cretaceous Eras (World Encyclopedia) by Dougal Dixon
  • Conrad J (2008). "Phylogeny and systematics of Squamata (Reptilia) based on morphology". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 310: 1–182. doi:10.1206/310.1. 
  • Gao K 1997. Sineoamphisbaena phylogenetic relationships discussed. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 34: 886-889. online article
  • Gauthier, J. A.; Kearney, M.; Maisano, J. A.; Rieppel, O.; Behlke, A. D. B. (2012). "Assembling the Squamate Tree of Life: Perspectives from the Phenotype and the Fossil Record". Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 53: 3. doi:10.3374/014.053.0101.  edit
  • Kearney M 2003. The phylogenetic position of Sineoamphisbaena hexatabularis reexamined. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23 (2), 394-403. DOI:10.1671/0272-4634(2003)023[0394:TPPOSH]2.0.CO;2
  • Wu XC., Brinkman DB, Russell AP, Dong Z, Currie PJ, Hou L, and Cui G 1993. Oldest known amphisbaenian from the Upper Cretaceous of Chinese Inner Mongolia. Nature (London), 366: 57 – 59.
  • Wu X-C Brinkman DB and Russell AP 1996. Sineoamphisbaena hexatabularis, an amphisbaenian (Diapsida: Squamata) from the Upper Cretaceous redbeds at Bayan Mandahu (Inner Mongolia, People’s Republic of China), and comments on the phylogenetic relationships of the Amphisbaenia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 33: 541-577.