Researchers are now studying remains of a 95-million-year-old lizard with nubs for legs to get a clearer idea as to how they morphed into snakes shedding their limbs.
The ancient marine creature features in the current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, which describes the snake-like lizard as a lithe creature, measuring 10-12 iches from snout to tail and having rather large rear limbs. Interestingly, missing from the creature are all the bones of its forearms, including the hands found in modern lizards.
Scientists are convinced that the creature, Adriosaurus microbrachis, belongs to that variety of lizards thought to be snakes’ closest relatives.
Leading paleontologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, Michael Caldwell is excited with the findings. He said,
It adds to the picture we have of what was happening 100 million years ago. We now know that losing limbs isn’t a new thing and that lizards were doing it much earlier than we originally thought.
This new fossil is considered the oldest record of limb-shedding in a lizard and gives scientists an idea of the past when lizards evolved to be limbless and morphed into snakes.