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Four new species of legless lizards found

Scientists have discovered four new types of legless lizards in California. They are now trying to deteremine whether they warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Scientists in California have discovered four new and separate species of legless lizards — snakelike animals that burrow into sand or soil.

The University of California, Berkeley says the discovery was made by the university’s reptile and amphibian expert Theodore Papenfuss and James Parham of California State University, Fullerton.

Until the discovery, scientists believed there was only one species of legless lizard in the American West.

But during years of scouring the state for the reclusive legless lizards, they discovered new species at the end of a runway at Los Angeles International Airport, in a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, on the edge of the Mojave Desert and among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley.

The biologists are trying to determine whether the lizards need protected status.



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