Ancient four-legged creature believed to be the link between snakes and lizards is actually a lizard

first discovered in 2015According to a new study, the ‘four-legged snake’ is not actually a snake at all, but a long-bodied sea lizard.

fossil organisms, initially found Brazil, was considered the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ among snakes and lizards.

Instead, the 110-million-year-old reptile, Tetrapodophis amplexus, is nothing more than a lizard, paleontologists from the University of Alberta now note.

Hints at the fossil of its long body, snake-like teeth and a row of abdominal scales prompted scientists to initially classify the creature.

However, it was later determined that they were misdiagnosed, said study lead author, paleontologist Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta.

The four-legged snake discovered in 2015 is not actually a snake, but a long-bodied sea lizard

Tetrapodophis amplexus was initially found in Brazil and was considered the 'missing piece of the puzzle' among snakes and lizards.

Tetrapodophis amplexus was initially found in Brazil and was considered the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ among snakes and lizards.

“There are many evolutionary questions that can be answered by finding a fossil of a four-legged snake, but only if it’s the real deal,” Caldwell said in a statement. Statement,

‘Our team’s major conclusion is that Tetrapodophis amplexus is not actually a snake and was misclassified.

‘Rather, all aspects of its anatomy are consistent with the anatomy observed in a group of extinct marine lizards from the Cretaceous period called dolichosaurs.’

Initially, scientists thought that Tetrapodophis amplexus had traits that were closely related to those of snakes, including similar anatomy and morphology, but this is now a misclassification.

Scientists initially classified the creature because of its long body, snake-like teeth and a row of abdominal scales hinted at on the fossil.

Scientists initially classified the creature because of its long body, snake-like teeth and a row of abdominal scales hinted at on the fossil.

The answer to this conclusion comes from the rock from which Tetrapodophis amplexus came.

‘When the rock containing the specimen was split and discovered, the skeleton and skull ended up on opposite sides of the slab, with a natural mold preserving the shape of each on the opposite side,’ Caldwell explained. .

‘The original study only described the skull and ignored natural mold, which preserved many features that make it clear that Tetrapodophis did not have a snake skull – not even that of a primitive one.’

When it was first discovered several years ago, Tetrapodophis contained the remains of its last meal, including bone fragments believed to be from a salamander.

It probably lived on the shores of a salt lake, in an arid environment, surrounded by succulent plants and probably on a diet of small amphibians and lizards, DailyMail.com previously reported,

When the specimen was discovered several years ago, experts found that it measured 20 centimeters from head to toe, but did not rule out the possibility that it could have been larger.

The head is the size of an adult fingernail, and the smallest tail bone is only a quarter of a millimeter long.

The forelimbs are very short, about 1 cm long, but their elbows and wrists and hands are only 5 mm in length.

The hind legs are slightly longer and the feet are larger than the hands and may have been used to capture prey.

The ancient fossil measured 20 centimeters from head to toe and may have grown larger with age.

The ancient fossil measured 20 centimeters from head to toe and may have grown larger with age.

However, it was later determined that these features were nothing more than misrepresentations and were not indicative of a ‘missing piece’ between reptiles and snakes.

The answer to this conclusion comes from the rock from which Tetrapodophis amplexus came.

Despite the fact that Tetrapodophis is not the four-legged snake that is the ‘missing piece’, it provides many insights into how lizards lived during the age of the dinosaurs.

Study co-author Tiago Simos said, ‘One of the biggest challenges of studying Tetrapodophis is that it is one of the smallest fossils ever found.

‘This is in comparison to the smallest squamates alive today whose limbs have also been reduced.’

Caldwell said paleontologists are still hopeful they will find the missing link between snakes and vertebrates.

‘It has long been understood that snakes are members of the lineage of four-legged vertebrates, which lost their limbs as a result of evolutionary specialization.’

‘Somewhere in the fossil record of ancient snakes there is an ancestral form that still had four legs. Thus it has long been predicted that a four-legged snake will be found in fossil form.

The study was recently published in Journal of Systematic Paleontology,

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