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First Snake Crawled on Four Feet

posted: 07/24/15
by: Jennifer Viegas for Discovery News
Tetrapodophis amplectus
Julius T. Csotonyi

The world's first known snake has just been discovered in Brazil, according to new research that solves many mysteries about the slithering reptiles.

The snake (Tetrapodophis amplectus), described in the latest issue of the journal Science, is also the first known snake to have four limbs. This strongly suggests that snakes evolved from terrestrial lizards, and not from water-dwelling species, as had been thought before.

"The marine hypothesis is dead," senior author Nicholas Longrich of the University of Bath told Discovery News. "It's actually been pretty dead for a while now, but this is really pounding the nails in the coffin. Aquatic snakes evolved from terrestrial snakes -- many, many times."

Related: Ancient Snakes Had Ankles and Toes

As this image shows, Tetrapodophis aka "Four Feet" was a meat-eating predator. It lived in what is now the Crato Formation of Ceara, Brazil, between 146 and 100 million years ago.

This post originally appeared on Discovery News

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