Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Curse of the Snake

“And you shall walk on your stomach” - על גחונך תלך

This was the curse that G-d placed on the snake, for its role in causing Adam and Chava (Eve) to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. The curse being, that the snake used to be a legged animal, and its legs were “removed” by Heavenly decree.

To explain this to my children, I showed them how some dinosaurs look like “snakes on legs”.

Now, New Scientist magazine brings more proof…as x-rays fossilized snakes reveal a “hidden” leg bone.
Snakes may have evolved from land-based lizards, according to new X-ray images that reveal a leg hidden in a rare fossil. The findings could help resolve a debate about whether the slithering creatures evolved from land-loving or sea-dwelling lizards as they adapted and lost their legs.

Led by Alexandra Houssaye of France's National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the researchers studied a unique fossil of the ancient snake, Eupodophis descouensi. The fossil, which was found a decade ago in 95-million-year-old rocks in Lebanon, captures an intermediary step in the evolution from lizards to legless snakes.

One leg was already visible on the fossil's surface. Now, powerful X-rays have revealed a second leg that was hidden in the stone (3D reconstructions of the newly found leg bones are shown above). The leg's structure, which is bent at the knee with four anklebones but no foot bones, resembles that of today's terrestrial lizards, suggesting snakes' ancestors evolved on land. New Scientist
(Image: A. Houssaye)

Cool!


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4 comments:

realRightWinger said...

I remember learning in biology in school that snakes have limb buds - which was enough proof for me at the time (30+ yrs ago !)
For more - you can see on: http://www.wonderquest.com/snake-legs.htm

JtownPaul said...

This post should have been preceded by a warning to readers who believe that the world is significantly *younger* than 95 million years. Just sayin'.

Nachum said...

Or a mention (for those of us who aren't willfully ignorant of certain facts) that there were no humans 95 million years ago, so there would have been no memory of snakes having legs when the Torah was written.

Anonymous said...

"so there would have been no memory of snakes having legs when the Torah was written"

So it must be divine!

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