How The Snake Lost His Legs

I love news items like this. they don’t know, of course…. but how veddy interrrrresting 😉

Charles Darwin was fascinated by snakes — in particular, by the tiny hip and leg bones nestled inside boa constrictors and other species. They were some of the most striking cases of evolution’s imprint. Snakes descended from walking ancestors, and as they adapted to slithering, their legs dwindled to a few vestiges.

It took more than a century after Darwin’s death for paleontologists to find fossils of snakes with legs. In the last decade, they have found four species. The fourth, known as Najash rionegrini, was unveiled in the April 20 issue of the journal Nature, and it has reignited a debate about how snakes lost their legs.

…Dr. Zaher has added fresh fuel to this debate with his report on Najash rionegrini, of which he was a co-author with Sebastián Apesteguia of the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences. Dr. Apesteguia discovered the 90-million-year-old fossil in 2003 in the Río Negro region of Argentina. The name Najash is the Hebrew word for the snake of the Garden of Eden. After finding the fossil, Dr. Apesteguia invited Dr. Zaher to help him study its anatomy.

“From the first moment, it was obvious to me that it was important snake,” Dr. Zaher said.

Najash had well-developed hind leg bones. Unlike Pachyrhachis or any other snake, it also had a sacrum, a special section of the backbone that attaches to the pelvis. “I think it used its legs to help while it crawled,” said Dr. Zaher.

Well, you know guys, there is an old, old story on that……

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