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Oldest snake fossils 70 mya earlier than thought?

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Researchers: Characteristic snake skull and its parts appeared long before snakes lost their legs

Newly identified ancient snakes/Julius Csotonyi

From ScienceDaily:

This new study makes it clear that the sudden appearance of snakes some 100 million years ago reflects a gap in the fossil record, not an explosive radiation of early snakes. From 167 to 100 million years ago, snakes were radiating and evolving toward the elongated, limb-reduced body shape characterizing the now well known, ~100-90 million year old, marine snakes from the West Bank, Lebanon and Argentina, that still possess small but well-developed rear limbs.

Caldwell notes that the identification of definitive snake skull features reveals that the fossils — previously associated with other non-snake lizard remains — represent a much earlier time frame for the first appearance of snakes.

“Based on the new evidence and through comparison to living legless lizards that are not snakes, the paper explores the novel idea that the evolution of the characteristic snake skull and its parts appeared long before snakes lost their legs,” he explains.

Abstract: The previous oldest known fossil snakes date from ~100 million year old sediments (Upper Cretaceous) and are both morphologically and phylogenetically diverse, indicating that snakes underwent a much earlier origin and adaptive radiation. We report here on snake fossils that extend the record backwards in time by an additional ~70 million years (Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous). These ancient snakes share features with fossil and modern snakes (for example, recurved teeth with labial and lingual carinae, long toothed suborbital ramus of maxillae) and with lizards (for example, pronounced subdental shelf/gutter). The paleobiogeography of these early snakes is diverse and complex, suggesting that snakes had undergone habitat differentiation and geographic radiation by the mid-Jurassic. Phylogenetic analysis of squamates recovers these early snakes in a basal polytomy with other fossil and modern snakes, where Najash rionegrina is sister to this clade. Ingroup analysis finds them in a basal position to all other snakes including Najash.

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12 Replies to “Oldest snake fossils 70 mya earlier than thought?

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    This snake fossil was but a skull. We will have to use our imagination to attach some stumpy lizard legs. That should be easy enough to draw while we wait for the “legs in the gap” to be discovered.

  2. 2
    wallstreeter43 says:

    Yep ppolish, the good ole “”evolution did it “” chant . First comes the evolution the. Hopefully the facts will be found.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    The geology behind the dates is incompetent.
    The snake did have legs and a very different look.
    It lost its legs as a result of a greater curse on it for being a medium for satan.
    All fossils below the k-t line are from the flood year.
    So the snakes were our snakes.

  4. 4
    Hangonasec says:

    All fossils below the k-t line are from the flood year.

    Robert Byers,

    How did ‘our’ mammals manage to avoid being fossilised? Or pretty much anything else we’d recognise? TIA.

  5. 5
    Brent says:

    Big find. Darwinists can now produce more snake oil.

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    Hangonasec. Thats a funny name. I like it.
    Anyways.
    I don’t agree with the mammal classification.
    The first option is the clean/unclean ration on the ark.
    It implies that before the flood it was a unclean dominance and so this would mean the “mammals” (being perhaps all clean, were living in segregated areas , like the people, and most of the planet was the unclean. So the clean were not easily fossilized.
    Another option to add is that creatures called mammals today simply had differences in their bodies before the flood and so are wrongly classified as other creatures. Possibly some dinos are just the ones we now have. I’m thinking of the “mammal reptiles” they talk about.

  7. 7
    Hangonasec says:

    Clean/unclean ratios on the ark say nothing about the global distribution of the biology of the time. If most of the planet were ‘unclean’, there’d be a few pigs and such.

    Another option to add is that creatures called mammals today simply had differences in their bodies before the flood and so are wrongly classified as other creatures.

    What, all of them? So you’re saying there’s been evolution since? The horses on the ark weren’t horses?

    Whatever went on the ark, one would expect to find at least one example of the same creature fossilised below your assumed flood boundary. If the ark was stocked by a representative land fauna from below the k-t, it would be a strange menagerie indeed, to our eyes. No cats, horses, elephants, kangaroos, etc. But plenty snakes.

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    Hangonasec
    there wouldn’t and couldn’t be pigs amongst dinos etc. they would never survive.
    The clean/unclean ratio is a great clue from gOd on how important creatures were in these big divisions. after the flood the world became a clean dominance.

    There was KINDS from which horses, cats etc came from but unlikely in these types as now. You wouldn’t recognize the horse for example.
    The people are the clue. They never saw dinos. They lived in a very segregated part of the planet. this is why only after the flood was there a animal problem requiring God to put the fear into creatures. It was never a problem before.

  9. 9
    Hangonasec says:

    there wouldn’t and couldn’t be pigs amongst dinos etc. they would never survive.

    So the only ‘pig-kind’ in existence were the 2 taken onto the Ark?

    We have global strata, remember. However ‘segregated’ you may decide things were here or there, the biology of the Ark must have existed somewhere on the planet, and been swept up in the flood and buried.

  10. 10
    lifepsy says:

    Hangonasec,

    Pre-Flood mammal biogeography is inferred to be more inland which is why they would not be found in lower rock layers, as opposed to many amphibious and reptilian animals.

    Marine mammals are typically fast open-water swimmers so they are not expected among benthic/shallow-water ecosystems characteristic of the Paleozoic deposits.

  11. 11
    Robert Byers says:

    lifepsy
    This YEC would say marine mammals were land lovers before the flood and only, rapidly , adapted to the post flood empty seas.
    I don’t see “mammals” as inland creatures either. it must be that they were very few KINDS, clean, and lived with the people and this quite segregated from most of the planet. This hinted at by the post flood need to put the fear of man in critters. nOt a issue before.
    Also possibly many KINDS now called mammals were different in body and some wrongly identified as “mammal reptiles’ and others in the fossil record.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Living Fossils: Fossils that debunk evolution – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsbRKq0tay8

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