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(sometimes referred to as the Bornean lizard or the earless monitor), a lizard, the only species of the family Lanthanotidae. The body, which measures up to 40 cm long, is covered with small scales and with several longitudinal rows of larger conical scales. The tongue is drawn into a special sheath, as a snake’s tongue is. This form of tongue apparatus and certain structural features of the skull suggest that Lanthanotus borneensis was possibly the ancestor of snakes. The species is encountered very rarely in Sarawak in northwestern Borneo. A nocturnal animal, it digs burrows along the shores of bodies of water for hiding during the day. It swims and dives well and is able to stay underwater for a long time.