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Type: Journal article
Title: The oldest known snakes from the Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous provide insights on snake evolution
Author: Caldwell, M.
Nydam, R.
Palci, A.
Apesteguía, S.
Citation: Nature Communications, 2015; 6(1):5996-1-5996-11
Publisher: Nature
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 2041-1723
Statement of
Michael W. Caldwell, Randall L. Nydam, Alessandro Palci, Sebastián Apesteguía
Abstract: The previous oldest known fossil snakes date from ~100 million year old sediments (Upper Cretaceous) and are both morphologically and phylogenetically diverse, indicating that snakes underwent a much earlier origin and adaptive radiation. We report here on snake fossils that extend the record backwards in time by an additional ~70 million years (Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous). These ancient snakes share features with fossil and modern snakes (for example, recurved teeth with labial and lingual carinae, long toothed suborbital ramus of maxillae) and with lizards (for example, pronounced subdental shelf/gutter). The paleobiogeography of these early snakes is diverse and complex, suggesting that snakes had undergone habitat differentiation and geographic radiation by the mid-Jurassic. Phylogenetic analysis of squamates recovers these early snakes in a basal polytomy with other fossil and modern snakes, where Najash rionegrina is sister to this clade. Ingroup analysis finds them in a basal position to all other snakes including Najash.
Keywords: Skull
Species Specificity
Time Factors
Biological Evolution
Rights: © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6996
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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