Tuatara are reptiles endemic to New Zealand. Although resembling most lizards, they are part of a distinct lineage, the order Rhynchocephalia. Their name derives from the Māori language, and means "peaks on the back". The single species of tuatara is the only surviving member of its order, which flourished around 240 million years ago. Their most recent common ancestor with any other extant group is with the squamates. For this reason, tuatara are of interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits of the earliest diapsids, a group of amniote tetrapods that also includes dinosaurs, birds, and crocodilians. Tuatara are greenish brown and grey, and measure up to 80 cm from head to tail-tip and weigh up to 1.3 kg 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.


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