A team of paleontologists discovered a wonderfully well-preserved snake skull in Argentina, shedding new light on the origin of the species. From their findings, the team has deduced the snake had rear limbs and possibly evolved from giant lizards. This goes against the well-known belief that snakes come from small worm-like burrowing lizards. The discovery and details of the fossil were published in the journal Science Advances.
Snakes and their evolution
The fossils were discovered in Argentina’s Río Negro Province, and are named najash rionegrina — after the biblical snake Nahash (the Hebrew word for snake), and the region where they were found.Najash fossils are around 95 million years old and from them, it’s been discovered that these snakes had hind legs.The scientists in the process of removing sediment in order to extract fossils contained in the rock at La Buitrera. The information from Najash’s fossils relied on a very fragmented skull, which meant that many scholars were left to guess what these ancient snakes must have looked like. From their clear shared anatomy, it’s been known that snakes have evolved from lizards. Furthermore, as snakes’ skulls help us understand their feeding patterns, we rely on Najash skull fossils to determine snakes’ evolution.