The Evolution Of Snakes
By: Ja'Quaveous Scott
The ancestors of our modern snakes and lizards appeared along with the first dinosaurs during the late Triassic period, almost 200 million years ago, although fossil records of these reptiles are sparse. The modern lizards (suborder Lacertilia) are likely to have branched off from the primitive order Eosuchia during the Triassic period, but the oldest definite fossil links between modern lizards and their ancestors originated in the Upper Jurassic period, about 140 million years ago. During the same period, the first bird ancestors arose.
It is generally accepted that modern snakes (suborder Serpentes) arose from the lizards in the early Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago, but there is no hard and fast fossil evidence to link the two suborders.
Unfortunately, small lizards and snakes do not make good fossils, as the small, delicate bones tend to break down or become scattered. Due to this incomplete fossil evidence, snake evolution is based largely on theory.
The earliest known fossil creatures resembling snakes are from the Cretaceous period some 130 million years ago. These were short and heavy and had a mixture of lizard and snake characteristics. Unfortunately, there is no intermediary evidence to link these creatures with modern snakes.
(Example: Indian Python)
- Class: Reptilia: All Reptiles
- Order: Squamata: Lizards And Snakes
- Suborder: Serpentes: All Snakes
- Family: Boidae: Pythons And Boas
- Subfamily: Pythoninae: All Pythons
- Genus: Python: Typical Python
Python molurus:Indian Python
P. m. molurus:Light Phase Indian Python
- Subspecies: P. m. bivittatus: Dark Phase Indian or Burmese Python