Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Najash

Najash rionegrina
Najash is an extinct Snake named for the Hebrew word Nahash-- the biblical snake who tempted Adam and Eve. They lived around 90 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous, and their fossils have been uncovered in Patagonia, Argentina.

Najash is notable because it still had legs. Two of them to be precise, and they weren't just vestigial little limbs that weren't connected to anything. Najash still had a sacrum, a pelvic girdle, and clear femora, fibulae, and tibiae!

This species was only recently discovered back in 2003, and it has helped to answer long standing questions regarding the nature of Snake evolution. There have been aquatic theories in the past, ideas that Snakes came from the same common ancestor as the Mosasaurs. Since the 1990s, however, the terrestrial origin theories have been gaining more ground (it was around then that early vestigal-limbed snakes were found). The discovered of Najash with its fully functional, burrowing-capable appendages has only given that theory more legs to stand on (forgive the pun).

Status : Extinct for 90 millions years
Location : Argentina
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Squamata
Suborder : Serpentes -- Genus :Najash -- Species :N. rionegrina

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