Tuatara Sphenodon punctatus Skull measures 2.6 inches. Tuatara Sphenodon punctatus Skull is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA. Cast of Original California Academy of Sciences Specimen. 2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw). Our precise skull can be used as a teaching tool, museum skull exhibit, home decor skull, or office decor skull.

Tuatara or Sphenodon punctatus are reptiles endemic to New Zealand. Although resembling most lizards, they are part of a distinct lineage, the order Rhynchocephalia.

Tuatara or Sphenodon punctatus are greenish brown and grey, and measure up to 31 in. from head to tail-tip and weigh up to 2.9 lb. with a spiny crest along the back, especially pronounced in males.

They have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw overlapping one row on the lower jaw, which is unique among living species. They are able to hear, although no external ear is present, and have unique features in their skeleton, some of them apparently evolutionary retained from fish.

Tuatara or Sphenodon punctatus is considered the most unspecialised living amniote; the brain and mode of locomotion resemble those of amphibians and the heart is more primitive than that of any other reptile.

The lungs have a single chamber and lack bronchi. Both species are sexually dimorphic, males being larger. Adult Tuatara or Sphenodon punctatus males measure 24 in. in length and females 18 in.

Sphenodon punctatus greenish brown color matches its environment, and can change over its lifetime. Tuatara shed their skin at least once per year as adults, and three or four times a year as juveniles.

Tuatara or Sphenodon punctatus sexes differ in more than size. The spiny crest on a tuatara’s back, made of triangular, soft folds of skin, is larger in males, and can be stiffened for display. The male abdomen is narrower than the female’s.

In the course of evolution, the Sphenodon punctatus skull has been modified in most diapsids from the original version evident in the fossil record.

All the original features are preserved in that of the tuatara; it has two openings, a temporal fenestra on each side of the skull, with complete arches.

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Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 2.6 in
Tuatara Facts

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Rhynchocephalia
Family: Sphenodontidae
Genus: Sphenodon
Gray, 1831 (conserved name)
Type species: Sphenodon punctatus
Conservation status is Vulnerable