New two-tone lizard named after Sir David Attenborough
New two-tone lizard named after Sir David Attenborough


New two-tone lizard named after Sir David Attenborough

/ September 24, 2015

A research team led by Dr Martin Whiting from the Department of Biological Sciences recently discovered a colourful new species of flat lizard, which they have named Platysaurus attenboroughi, after Sir David Attenborough.

This African species is appropriately named Platysaurus (flat lizard) because they are incredibly flat – designed to fit into the narrowest of crevices where they refuge from predators and hot or cold weather.

“We thought it fitting the lizard be named after the world-famous naturalist after he made famous a closely related flat lizard species in the BBC series Life in Cold Blood,” said Dr Whiting.

Dr Whiting, along with colleagues at the Australian National University, spent time with Sir David in the field at Augrabies Falls National Park in South Africa where he was filming flat lizards in action.

“Flat lizards attracted my attention some years ago, and since then we have been working on understanding their social system, how colour functions in communication, and how the various species are related,” he says.

“It was during this process that we realised there were more species than currently described and there was a real need to uncover or build a ‘family tree’ for flat lizards. This is something our team is currently working on,” said Dr Whiting.

Learn more about research at Martin Whiting’s Lizard Lab.

Comments (2)

  1. trisha mcdonald

    thanks for this fab news about the naming of this beauty. sir david is a wonder!

    would our blue tongue be related as they’re quite flat in my estimation?

    with thanks again, keep up the fine work,


    1. Martine Balit Post author

      Hi Trisha,

      Thank you for your comment. In regards to your question, the Platysaurus and the Blue Tongue are distantly related. Blue Tongues are in the ‘Skink’ family which has a global distribution; however the Platysaurus are from the ‘Cordylid’ family which are found only in Africa.

      Kind regards,



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