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Most Primitive Snake Fossil Discovered 77

smooth wombat writes "A newly discovered fossil seems to suggest that snakes evolved on land rather than in the water. The size of the fossil is unknown but it wasn't more than three feet long according to Hussam Zaher of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. It's the first time scientists have found a snake with a sacrum -- a bony feature supporting the pelvis -- he said. That feature was lost as snakes evolved from lizards, and since this is the only known snake that hasn't lost it, it must be the most primitive known, he said."
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Most Primitive Snake Fossil Discovered

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  • Snakes?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by winmine ( 934311 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:11PM (#15162219)
    Was a fossilized plane found nearby?
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:17PM (#15162239) Journal
    I know there has to be a joke in here someplace. but politicians need not apply, since snakes are mostly backbone as it is.
  • by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:27PM (#15162290) Homepage Journal
    Having a feature makes you more primitive than not having a feature?
    Wow! The final proof that men are more primitive than women!
  • by gadlaw ( 562280 ) <gilbert@nOspAm.gadlaw.com> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:40PM (#15162339) Homepage Journal
    All this is very good and important as we fill the evolutionary gaps. While it will never be enough to convince the 'god did it' crowd it does make the rest of us feel better seeing the evidence pile up. But my original thought when reading this story was wondering when scientists will be able to determine whether lawyers are more closely related to snakes or to slime molds. I'm crossing my fingers for slime molds. I like snakes.
  • by SeaDour ( 704727 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:41PM (#15162347) Homepage
    The snake was also found in the fossilized remains of a lush garden -- specifically, near an apple tree.
  • eh, so? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2006 @12:14AM (#15162497)
    I've seen a real primitive one a whole bunch of times. It's only got one eye.
  • by bar-agent ( 698856 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:10AM (#15162724)
    Although there are a couple of handfuls of features that women have that men don't.

    Well...sometimes less than a handful, sometimes more. :)
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:37AM (#15163454) Journal
    Comparing the quoted date for the fossil and the often quoted date for Genesis, the snake in TFA would appear to have died and fossilised millions of years before Genesis, so obviously they are different snakes.

    I can only speculate that the Genesis snake is an ancestor of the snake with hips, this makes some sense, a talking snake would take millions of years to evolve, it would also tie in nicely with the slim evidence we have of a two legged Genesis snake.

    As an aside, it appears that the talking snake branch of the tree of life ended in extinction, nobody knows exactly when but it was at some time after Kipling made his observations in "Jungle book". Perhaps religious fanatics arriving in India from the British empire killed the last of the talking snakes to stop them spreading "heresies", they could have been very effective given the local abundance of trained snake charmers.

    Now before you go objecting that nothing is older than Genesis, let me tell you about karma. You see the knowledge from the knowledge tree, (and the snake's so called "heresy"), has nothing to do with apples or sex. "The fruit of the knowlage tree" is the knowladge that this partciular Universe is not God's first attempt. This is not to say God is ever wrong, (re: Douglas Adams and the babblefish), it just that God's taste changes from time to time and sometimes to redecorate you have to remodle everything to express the "real you".

    From what I understand the original Universe goes back some 13-14BYA, since then God has completely remoddeled the Universe a few times, Genesis was only a redecoration of the plenet Earth. God is not a wastefull God, recycling plays a big part when God spruces-up the Universe (thus karma, 90MYA snake fossils, and an annoying but usefull microwave hiss). This current redecoration of Earth was progressing nicely until God decided to reuse teenagers and talking snakes instead of re-evolving them, since then few have seen God and everything has turned to shit.

    OTOH: We know the talking snakes have already died out, perhaps God knows something about our survival prospects and assumed importance in "the scheme of things" that we don't?


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