Cyprus lizard, a distinct species
To be precise, lizards are not actually classed as dinosaurs – even though they may look similar! And while it’s true the word dinosaur is from the Greek ‘deinos’ (terrible) and sauros (lizard), dinosaurs were a separate distinct group of reptiles with an upright posture not found in lizards.
Regardless of this interesting fact, we are very excited to report that a small lizard found in Cyprus, was just recently announced as unique to the island by researchers at the University of Cyprus. Even more exciting, we have this exact unique species of lizard at Aphrodite Hills Resort – recently photographed during the European Tour, on our very own PGA National Cyprus Golf Course!
The lizard known in Cyprus as ‘Kοurkoutas’, is a distinct species (Laudakia Cypriaca), which is only found on the island, and which now belongs to the unique biodiversity of Cyprus, along with the Cypriot snake (Hierophis Cypriensis) and the Troodos lizard (Phoenicolacerta Troodica).
Originally, the recently discovered lizard was thought to correspond to a species found throughout the whole eastern Mediterranean region. However, according to the University of Cyprus, a study of the lizard’s DNA, carried out at the Laboratory of Ecology & Biodiversity of the Department of Biological Sciences, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum and University of Crete, and along with other international researchers, showed that the Cyprus lizard corresponds to a distinct species.
The study was led by Dr. Emmanuela Karameta, a postdoctoral researcher from the Department of Biology of the University of Crete, with the results of the study published in the prestigious ‘Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society’, providing important data on the evolution of the lizards in the eastern Mediterranean region.
According to researchers, ‘Kourkoutas’ completed its evolution process in Cyprus about 2.5 million years ago at the beginning of the Ice Age, which brought the coasts of Cyprus closer to those of Syria and Israel.
Aphrodite Hills Resort is very proud and honoured to be home to such a unique species of lizard. As an extremely important part of our past, present and future plans, we constantly strive to ensure all wildlife, both creatures and insects on the ground and birds in the air, along with indigenous flora and fauna native to the whole Resort, are all cared for, nurtured and encouraged to prosper, breed and remain in a safe, beautiful and natural environment.
When you are out and about at the Resort, keep a look-out for our own very special and unique miniature dinosaur!
Story by Jude Dunne
Recently photographed during the European Tour, on our very own PGA National Cyprus Golf Course!