Scientists have discovered a 113-million years old fossil of the first four-legged snake in Brazil, giving rise to many questions about snakes and their ancestry. The study was first published in Science magazine on July 24, 2015.
In the research, many other fossil snakes have been found, which have hind legs and are estimated to be an ancestor of the snakes we have today.
From the 113-million-years-old fossil, it seems that the delicate arms and the hind legs were probably meant for grabbing the prey and not for walking, according to the researchers, says a post on BBC.
Scientists are also of the opinion that snakes evolved on land, and this belief was strengthened by the newfound fossil, which shows adaptations for burrowing. Paleontologists around the world have been debating on the topic.
Dr Nick Longrich, author from University of Bath, said that the new fossil is the most primitive one known to men, and it’s clear that the species was not aquatic.
BBC quoted Dr Longerich that the snake fossil found had no sign of fins, and the tail wasn’t shaped as needed for swimming.
Named as Tetrapodophis amplectus, the newly discovered fossil measures 19.5 cm, and according to Dr Longrich, the fossil has “advanced snake features”.
He also added that the creature was preying on other animals and had “swallowed another vertebrate”, which clears the air that it was a snake, but with arms and legs that measured 4mm and 7mm long respectively.
If the age of the fossil is taken into account, it lived around the same time as dinosaurs, 113 million years back.