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Temporal range: Late Triassic–Early Jurassic
Skulls of C. brasiliensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Sphenodontia
Family: Sphenodontidae
Subfamily: Clevosaurinae
Genus: Clevosaurus
Swinton, 1939
Named Species
  • C. hudsoni Swinton, 1939 (type)
  • C. bairdi Sues, Shubin, & Olson, 1994
  • C. brasiliensis Bonaparte & Sues, 2006
  • C. convallis Säilä, 2005[1]
  • C. latidens Fraser, 1993
  • C. mcgilli Wu, 1994
  • C. minor Fraser & Walkden, 1983
  • C. petilus Young, 1982
  • C. wangi
  • Dianosaurus Young, 1982
  • Glevosaurus Robinson, 1973

Clevosaurus (CLEE-vo-SORE-us) (Gloucester lizard) is an extinct genus of sphenodontian reptile from the Triassic and the Jurassic periods of Nova Scotia, Great Britain, (C. bairdi) and Yunnan (C. mcgilli). Clevosaurus was extremely similar to the modern tuatara in almost every way; the two genera differ in only certain features of the teeth and skull anatomies, as well as size. Clevosaurus was smaller than the modern tuatara. Clevosaurus possibly ate plants as well as insects, as suggested by the form of the teeth. Fossils of Clevosaurus, as well as other sphenodontians, early mammals and dinosaurs have been found in ancient cave systems of Great Britain. Clevosaurus is now believed to have had Pangaean distribution.[2]

A new find[edit]

Some fossils from South America (into Geopark Paleorrota) found in 2006 represent a new species of Clevosaurus (C. brasiliensis).[3] A new species has been named Clevosaurus sectumsempra after the spell from Harry Potter.[4]


Below is a cladogram of the relationships within Clevosauridae based on the phylogenetic analysis of Hsiou et al. (2015):[5]


Polysphenodon mulleri

Brachyrhinodon taylori

Clevosaurus sp. (South Africa)

Clevosaurus convallis

Clevosaurus hudsoni

Clevosaurus petilus

Clevosaurus bairdi

Clevosaurus mcgilli

Clevosaurus wangi

Clevosaurus brasiliensis

"Clevosaurus" latidens was recovered outside of Clevosauridae, as the sister taxon of Opisthodontia.[5]


  1. ^ Säilä, Laura K. (2005). "A new species of the sphenodontian reptile Clevosaurus from the Lower Jurassic of South Wales". Palaeontology. 48 (4): 817–831. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2005.00486.x. 
  2. ^ Sues, H. D.; Reisz, R. (1995). "First record of the early mesozoic sphenodontian clevosaurus (lepidosauria: rhynchocephalia) from the southern hemisphere". Journal of Paleontology. 69 (1): 123–126. doi:10.1017/s0022336000026974. 
  3. ^ Bonaparte, J. F.; Sues, H. D. (2006). "A new species of clevosaurus (lepidosauria: rhynchocephalia) from the upper Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil". Palaeontology. 49 (1): 917–923. 
  4. ^ "Harry Potter sectumsempra spell inspires lizard name". BBC News. 4 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Annie Schmaltz Hsiou; Marco Aurélio Gallo De França; Jorge Ferigolo (2015). "New Data on the Clevosaurus (Sphenodontia: Clevosauridae) from the Upper Triassic of Southern Brazil". PLoS ONE. 10 (9): e0137523. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137523. PMC 4565693Freely accessible. PMID 26355294. 


  • Paleofile
  • Gill PG, Säilä LK, Corfe IJ, Challands TJ, Williams M, Clemens WA (2006). The fauna and palaeoenvironment of St. Brides Island: Evidence from the lower Jurassic fissure fills of South Wales. In Barrett PM, Evans SE (eds.). Ninth international symposium on Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems and biota. pp 48−51. London: Natural History Museum.
  • Jones MEH (2006) The Early Jurassic clevosaurs from China (Diapsida: Lepidosauria). Natl Mus Nat Hist Sci Bull, 37:548–562.
  • Jones MEH (2009). Dentary tooth shape in Sphenodon and its fossil relatives (Diapsida: Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). In Koppe T, Meyer G, Alt KW, (eds). Interdisciplinary Dental Morphology, Frontiers of Oral Biology (vol 13). Griefswald, Germany; Karger. 9–15.