A recent published in the British journal Biology Letters, has used a huge set of molecular data to recover the evolutionary history of lizards and snakes. It resulted in the unexpected discovery that most snakes living on the Earth today, comes from the ground of their ancestors.
The article describes a study conducted by John J. Vance, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Stony Brook, New York (Stony Brook University). The study is based on information on 44 genes and 161 as snakes and lizards – is one of the largest arrays of data on reptiles.
The study found that almost all snakes come from a rather unusual infraorder Scolecophidia – blind snakes living in burrows. This finding means that these reptiles originally lived underground, and thousands of species of snakes that live on the surface now, came from underground ancestors.
The authors speak about the specific signs of the underground origin in modern snakes. “For example, regardless of the environment, snakes have an elongated body and a relatively short tail, and besides a snake figure is observed only in the underground lizards – said Professor Vance. – Snakes kept these general principles of body, even spreading in almost all habitats on the planet, from rain forests to deserts and even oceans. “