Researchers Find Odd Four-Legged Snake Fossil, Descendent of Modern Snakes

News ID: 808386 Service: Science
Four-legged-snake-drawing.jpg

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The discovery of the four-legged snake was via a fossil hunt in Brazil’s Crato Formation which opens up more questions about the evolution of the snake we know today.

It might seem somewhat comical to think about, but a four-legged snake once roamed these fine lands but over millions of years evolved that saw them ditch their little feet to become more streamlined.

The discovery of the four-legged snake was via a fossil hunt in Brazil’s Crato Formation which opens up more questions about the evolution of the snake we know today, science news website Siliconrepublic reported on Friday. 

A close-up of the feet of the snake fossil. Image via Dave Martill, University of Portsmouth

However, based off these findings, the researchers who discovered the fossil suggest that this might show that the scale species are actually descended from burrowing animals, rather than marine life like many other species.

Dubbed Tetrapodophis amplectus, this newly-discovered extinct species is believed to have lived during the Cretaceous period between 100m and 146m years ago and features all the familiar characteristics of a modern snake.

Among its familiar features includes its elongated body, scales, fanged teeth and the famous jaw that is flexible enough to devour prey with as well as being able to constrict it with its body.

Illustration of the four-legged snake via Julius T. Cstonyi

The glaring difference however is its four stubby limbs which sadly for comic effect, did not mean the snake walked on four legs. Rather, it’s believed the four limbs were used to hold on to prey or a clasping mechanism during mating.

This find poses serious evolutionary questions of the evolution of snakes because it lacks the elongated tail most associated with animals which descended from marine life.

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