What it says on the title, how old is the genus Pogona, which includes all bearded dragons? I tried looking online, and all I got was the useless answer of “bearded dragons are descended from their parents, who are descended from their parents… etc.”

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    – MattDMo
    Aug 6, 2021 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Another way to ask this question:

How old is the most recent common ancestor of Pogona lizards and their closest relatives?

Diporiphora is a sister clade of Pogona, as stated in Hugall et al. 2008.1 Figure 4 of the same paper suggests that Diporiphora and Pogona diverged around 12 million years ago (see star in red box -- annotations mine):

Chronogram from Hugall 2008

An ultrametric chronogram generated from the Bayesian combined data phylogeny (Fig. 2C), under penalized likelihood rate smoothing (PLRS; optimal smoothing factor 80). The Riversleigh Physignathus calibration discussed in the text is used (indicated on figure as equal to 21 Mya). Tree pruned to show Australasian group only. Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling 95% confidence interval shown for selected nodes.

So, a reasonable estimate for the age of the Pogona genus is 12 million years.


  1. Hugall AF, Foster R, Hutchinson M, Lee MSY. Phylogeny of Australasian agamid lizards based on nuclear and mitochondrial genes: implications for morphological evolution and biogeography, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 93, Issue 2, February 2008, Pages 343–358.

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