Monday, February 7, 2011

Hidden Leg of an Ancient Snake

No, not an unreleased Jim Morrison poem, but a headline on ScienceDaily today reporting on the latest imaging of a 95 million year old snake fossil published in the Feb. 8, 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

A novel X-ray imaging technology is helping scientists better understand how in the course of evolution snakes have lost their legs. The researchers hope the new data will help resolve a heated debate about the origin of snakes: whether they evolved from a terrestrial lizard or from one that lived in the oceans. New, detailed 3-D images reveal that the internal architecture of an ancient snake's leg bones strongly resembles that of modern terrestrial lizard legs.

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