Thursday, March 29

Was this becoming a snake?

Interesting to see that one of the genuine missing links in the fossil record (where an intermediate form has not been found, as opposed to the artificial borders set up by nomenclature) may have been found - Nature reports on a paper (J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 27, 1–7 (2007)) describing a Slovenia fossil shows evidence of a creature descended from four-legged lizards, but with reduced forelimbs and an elongated neck. In other words, it is part way to becoming something like a snake. Whether this genuinely is how snakes became snakes still isn't that clear - this needs more fossil finds. Unfortunately, snake skeletons aren't the sort of thing that fossilises well.

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