Thursday, July 23, 2015

Four-legged snake discovered

Dragon or naga is a snake, serpent, reptilian, draconian viper (Daklub/
Fossil of four-legged snake (Dave Martill/University of Portsmouth)
Tetrapodophis (artist’s representation) is the first known snake known to have four limbs (Julius T. Cstonyi/
Four-legged snake fossil stuns scientists—and ignites controversy
Scientists have described what they say is the first known fossil of a four-legged snake. The limbs of the 120-or-so-million-year-old, 20-centimeter-long creature are remarkably well preserved and end with five slender digits that appear to have been functional. Thought to have come from Brazil, the fossil would be one of the earliest snakes found, suggesting that the group evolved from terrestrial precursors in Gondwana, the southern remnant of the supercontinent Pangaea. But although the creature’s overall body plan -- and indeed, many of its individual anatomical features -- is snakelike, some researchers aren’t so sure that it is a part of the snake family tree. The team’s scientific interpretation may be the least controversial aspect of the discovery, which they report online today in Science. More

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