As fossil snake with two legs

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Another creation myth bites the dust [1]. As reported on the BBC site Ancient serpent shows its leg, scientists have uncovered a fossil of a snake with two legs.

Scientists have only a handful of specimens that illustrate the evolutionary narrative that goes from ancient lizard to limbless modern serpent.

In other words, this fossil helps fill in a major gap in the fossil data. The snake fossil is called Eupodophis descouensi.

[1] Although see this blog

105 Comments

Another creation myth bites the dust [1].

No another creation myth doesn’t bite the dust because those were what the snakes looked like before the fall of man. No creation myth biting the dust! Sorry!

Has anyone ever compiled a list of of LIVING transitional forms? Skinks are just one example:

Skinks look roughly like true lizards, but most species have no pronounced neck and sport relatively small legs. Several genera (e.g., Typhlosaurus) have no limbs at all, others, such as Neoseps, have only reduced limbs. Often, their way of moving resembles that of snakes more than that of other lizards. Skinks usually have long, tapering tails that can be shed and regenerated. (from WikiPedia).

And as pointed out by several on Pharyngula, in a sense, every individual organism is a transitional form. If you took a snapshot of all living forms at any instant in time, they would appear to be fixed just as species living today do. But just wait a million years or so .…

386sx:

Another creation myth bites the dust [1].

No another creation myth doesn’t bite the dust because those were what the snakes looked like before the fall of man. No creation myth biting the dust! Sorry!

De-lurks to point out - I’m no expert on literal readings of Genesis, but thanks to the wonderful educational efforts of Ken Ham (oops, my irony meter just exploded) I gather that before the fall of man God’s creation was ‘very good’ and there was no death… In which case how did a pre-fall version of a snake (presumably a beta release) come to die and be fossilised? For an omnipotent deity, God would seem to need to work on his housekeeping…

Whilst breaking my PT commenting duck, would just like to say what a fascinating and stimulating site this is - and to thank those that persistently and patiently try to explain how science works in the face of continual trolling from either malicious or deluded people. It’s also refreshing to see that genuine queries tend to be treated with courtesy and respect. Kudos to all, and cheers!

Oh yea??!! Well you’ll never find a snake with FOUR legs and TOENAILS, cuz only GOD (baruch a shem) cudda dunnit!!!

And on my list of living transitional forms would be penguins, walruses, salamanders (and now frogs) without lungs, roadrunners, and perhaps flying fish.

I guess this one of the snakes that failed to get on board the Ark in time. Perhaps if it had started with four legs - it may have got there before the launch day !

There will always be those creos who, when presented with a transitional form or transitional series, simply point out that now you have more gaps (despite those gaps being half the size of the previous one). I guess the true reality-deniers will never accept that one “kind” of organism can, over many generations, give rise to something different, despite the observational facts that exist in the public domain.

The 3rd chapter of Genesis, the first verse is quite clear on this Now the serpent with two legs was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

You’ll need the uncensored version of the KJV. The KJV committee made some cuts after being threatened with legal action by Peter Irons acting on behalf of a Darwinist consortium who claimed that the snake portrayed in Genesis was copied from the “The Origin of Species” (the Darwinist bible).

Oh, look you can’t win because there are “two more gaps…” :lol:

Nigel D:

There will always be those creos who, when presented with a transitional form or transitional series, simply point out that now you have more gaps (despite those gaps being half the size of the previous one). I guess the true reality-deniers will never accept that one “kind” of organism can, over many generations, give rise to something different, despite the observational facts that exist in the public domain.

I am currently teaching maths to adults who are close to functionally innumerate. Many seem to have difficulty in transitioning from making discrete measurements of a pair of variables (such as time and distance of a moving object) to a continuous function. I wonder if many creationists would have a similar difficulty.

Carl:

The 3rd chapter of Genesis, the first verse is quite clear on this Now the serpent with two legs was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

You’ll need the uncensored version of the KJV. The KJV committee made some cuts after being threatened with legal action by Peter Irons acting on behalf of a Darwinist consortium who claimed that the snake portrayed in Genesis was copied from the “The Origin of Species” (the Darwinist bible).

Should this two legged snake be called Lilith ?

From DeepDesign over at UD:

“This is an an interesting find. Doesn’t say anything very profound about evolution, however.

Interesting the Bible of all sources, informs the modern reader that the serpent originally had legs. Which is a startling claim from ancient man.”

Romartus:

Carl:

The 3rd chapter of Genesis, the first verse is quite clear on this Now the serpent with two legs was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

You’ll need the uncensored version of the KJV. The KJV committee made some cuts after being threatened with legal action by Peter Irons acting on behalf of a Darwinist consortium who claimed that the snake portrayed in Genesis was copied from the “The Origin of Species” (the Darwinist bible).

Should this two legged snake be called Lilith ?

I don’t think so: the Jewish borrowed the Babylonian she-demon, Lilitu, who had the aspects of an owl, and possibly a wolf, and heavily edited her.

Most sources that say that the snake is Lilith tend to borrow from Jewish apocrypha. Other sources say that the snake was either Satan, himself, or acting as the Devil’s ventriloquist’s dummy. (And then there’s the Gnostic heresy that says that the snake was a great and wonderful person for allowing mortals to become enlightened)

ellazimm:

From DeepDesign over at UD:

“This is an an interesting find. Doesn’t say anything very profound about evolution, however.

Interesting the Bible of all sources, informs the modern reader that the serpent originally had legs. Which is a startling claim from ancient man.”

I thought the Bible never explicitly stated how many legs the snake had before God punished it for its role in the Fall.

Moses:

Oh, look you can’t win because there are “two more gaps…” :lol:

You jest, but I have actually heard creationists make such arguments before, and they seriously believed what they were saying. The self-imposed ignorance of some people is astonishing to me.

Richard Simons Wrote:

I am currently teaching maths to adults who are close to functionally innumerate. Many seem to have difficulty in transitioning from making discrete measurements of a pair of variables (such as time and distance of a moving object) to a continuous function. I wonder if many creationists would have a similar difficulty.

Well, first off: best of luck to you.

Second, I think many creos do (or will) have trouble with what we might consider to be quite basic (they sure have trouble with the basic idea of checking statements by reference to reality).

MattusMaximus:

Moses:

Oh, look you can’t win because there are “two more gaps…” :lol:

You jest, but I have actually heard creationists make such arguments before, and they seriously believed what they were saying. The self-imposed ignorance of some people is astonishing to me.

I thought this line of “argument” was an obligatory part of the Gish gallop…?

Are there other fossils like this where snakes have atavistic legs?

Carl being amusing:

The 3rd chapter of Genesis, the first verse is quite clear on this Now the serpent with two legs was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

Ummm, Carl, I don’t think this is the smart ass serpent from the Garden of Eden.

1. This snake is only 33 inches long.

2. It has a tiny head. I doubt if it’s brain is big enough to carry on long conversations with humans and there is no room for a mammalian style vocal track.

3. It is much older than 6,000 years, 92 million years older.

4. Genesis said the Eden snake was supposed to crawl on the ground (presumably after losing its legs), eat dust, and show animosity towards people. This snake still has legs, and is a sea snake found in limestone.

5. Genesis said there was just one snake. “This makes the few known bipedal snakes in the fossil record hugely significant, because they could hold the clues that settle this particular debate.” Ooppssss, we have multiple fossils of several old legged snake species spread across a few million years.

I’m afraid Carl, that the Eden snake is still missing, not in a European synchronic radiation facility encased in a block of limestone. But thanks for playing.

PS The smart ass, walking snake in Genesis is one of the great coverups of Xianity. Where did it come from, how come their was only one and so on. My best guess is that there were whole chapters on another bipedal species that got censored by the victors.

The other coverup, is the total disaster of the Big Boat salvage operation which resulted in a catastrophic 99% loss of all land species including the dinosaurs despite heavy supernatural backup.

Interesting the Bible of all sources, informs the modern reader that the serpent originally had legs. Which is a startling claim from ancient man.”

So what does the bible say about Archaeoptyrx, ancient whales with legs, and fish-amphibians such as tiktaalik? And while we are on the subject, there is a bit of a shortage of fossils between the first flying dino-bird, archaeoptyrx and avipod raptors. I’m sure the bible can help out here.

MW Caldwell and MSY Lee claimed that a Cretaceous fossil with obvious hind limbs, which they called Pachyrhachis problematicus, is the oldest known snake. However, they had to slightly redefine the definition of “snake” to fit this fossil into the group commonly known as “snakes.” The absence of limbs has long been viewed as the essence of being a member of the group “snakes.” Caldwell and Lee argued that mosasaurs (extinct marine lizards with limbs adapted as fins) represent “a crucial intermediate stage” in the evolution of modern snakes and that ancestral snakes had limbs and were aquatic. Their ideas are contrary to the long-held view that snakes evolved from small, terrestrial lizards or even burrowing lizards by an increasing reduction in limb size.

Some pythons and other relatively primitive snakes have tiny, claw-like hind limbs that are used during courtship and in combat between males. Boas and pythons also have rudimentary femurs and pelvic girdles. This strongly argues that these animals are secondarily limbless.

Also, snake embryos make hind limb buds that die off and regress due to a non-functional apical ectodermal ridge. The hind limb mesenchyme fails to express sonic hedgehog, which is required for the formation of the apical ectodermal ridge at the tip of the limb bud. Without the apical ectodermal ridge, the limb tissue fails to proliferate and dies.

The forelimbs in snake embryos completely fail to form. Typically in vertebrate embryos, the anterior forelimb forms at the anterior-most expression boundary of Hoxc6, where Hoxc8 is not expressed. Below the forelimb bud, the combination of Hoxc6 and Hoxc8 tells the body to make vertebrae with ribs. In snake embryos, Hoxc8 expression extends further towards the head, and the Hoxc8-free expression domain is absent and Hoxc6 and Hoxc8 expression domains completely overlap. Thus the upper body makes vertebrae with ribs and no forelimbs.

This shows that limb loss in snakes was a two-step process that involved progressive loss of the forelimb and then the hind limb. The fossil record details this with the finding of snake-like creatures that have hind limbs and no forelimbs.

Another creation myth bites the dust

I doubt it PvM. I’m sure Dr. Menton (AiG) is working on this as we speak !

Yeah, while making up lies along the way.

Peter Henderson:

Another creation myth bites the dust

I doubt it PvM. I’m sure Dr. Menton (AiG) is working on this as we speak !

If by “working on this” you mean “spinning the hell out of it”, then I agree.

I could have sworn that some of the “Dead Sea Scrolls*” showed that it was an orangutan and not a snake in the GoE.

Poor snakes getting a bad rap for all this time.

*or other some-such “original notes” for the Bible.

And to visualize it they bombarded the fossil with intense X-rays … this sounds like a set up for a sci-fi/horror movie. Ayyyeee, it’s alive! The Serpent of the Garden has been released from its stony prison! Run for your lives!

I’m personally not surprised as there must have been a reason for the organism having legs thus it could have been designed just as easily as evolved.

Then there are the modern 2-legged snakes like pee wee myers and his brownnosing cult of mental midget followers.

If the legged snake fossil is examined though a Biblical lens it can be clearly seen to support the Genesis account.

http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/[…]eedenxr3.jpg

Keith, You are too witty for us! Does the doctor know you use his computer when he is not on the ward?

jeh:

Ayyyeee, it’s alive! The Serpent of the Garden has been released from its stony prison! Run for your lives!

Oh, it gets WORSE!!!

Michael Buratovich:

The hind limb mesenchyme fails to express sonic hedgehog, which is required for the formation of the apical ectodermal ridge at the tip of the limb bud. Without the apical ectodermal ridge, the limb tissue fails to proliferate and dies.

So, the Garden Serpent is loose and we don’t have Sonic the Hedgehog to fight back. We’re DOOOOOOMED!!!

Keith Eaton Wrote:

Then there are the modern 2-legged snakes like pee wee myers and his brownnosing cult of mental midget followers.

This is just a quick note to formally document Keith’s anger management issues and his attempts to start derailing threads, as soon as he is able, by using taunts and name-calling.

No need to respond.

Well, if you don’t mind my tangent from whack-a-troll, I think it’s dead cool that they’ve found (another?) two-legged snake. (No jokes about Washington DC/Brussels/Capital of your choice being awash with them).

I do have a meta observation on whack-a-troll. I have a great many strange friends and many of them believe in strange things. One is convinced that all the evils of the last 300 years are the result of the Jewish Banking Conspiracy. One thing that is going on here is quite easy to understand in evo psych terms (much as I mistrust evo psych). Humans are really, really good at pattern recognition. It has saved the skin of many of our ancestors and continues to save the skin of people fighting armed conflicts, etc. But our pattern recognition abilities are so sensitive that they give false positives, and too many people are crap at filtering out the nonsense from their own thoughts. After all, this is not much of a handicap in terms of producing children and raising them to childbearing age, which is all that impacts our evolution. So on the on hand, we have a bunch of people who see patterns which either do not exist or are purely coincidental. On the other hand, we have a strong need to be members of the tribe/clan. So when people hear of other people who share the same false pattern recognition (or something close enough), they’ll naturally form a group. And they’ll support each other against the hostility of outsiders. So right there we have a simple model explaining creationists, astrologers, homeopaths, anti-vaccinationists, Holocaust “revisionists,” certain religious fundies, extreme right-wing groups, extreme left-wing groups, people who admire Mark Steyn, etc. But even among these groups of the generally deluded, there will be some exceptional individuals. Some will be persons of varying degrees of charisma who live off of the authority they can get over other people but are too incompetent/stupid/etc to get this authority in mainstream society. They can much more easily establish themselves in small groups of people whose critical faculties are not all that great to begin with. And then there are the true nutters, who can barely get along at all in society as a whole, but who by adopting the subgroup’s cause, however incoherently, can attain a degree of acceptance. We see some of those in this thread.

This fish fossil is exciting. However, I just finished reading “The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.” Prior to that I had no idea of the DNA evidence for evolution. Given the DNA evidence alone any sane and semi-intelligent person would be unable to deny evolution. The fossils and primates were enough for me, but the DNA evidence is just amazing.

I’m new to this blog, but have a question: is evolution generative or degenerative?

I know it is the creationism side of things to say that everything is leading toward a ‘purpose,’ but doesn’t evolution also suggest the bettering of a species?

If this snake was aquatic, then loosing the legs would be good, but are we also finding a movement toward a flattening of the tail sea serpent style among other fossils of the time and location?

Bettering of the species only in the sense of survival. Is evolution generative or degenerative? I’d say that depends as you point out on the circumstances.

That evolution leads to function that improves survival may appear purposeful but as Ruse and others have convincingly argued, this ‘teleology’ should not be confused with final cause.

shadrach:

I’m new to this blog, but have a question: is evolution generative or degenerative?

I know it is the creationism side of things to say that everything is leading toward a ‘purpose,’ but doesn’t evolution also suggest the bettering of a species?

If this snake was aquatic, then loosing the legs would be good, but are we also finding a movement toward a flattening of the tail sea serpent style among other fossils of the time and location?

shadrach: I’m new to this blog, but have a question: is evolution generative or degenerative?

Well, both.

Any population of individuals contains a range of different characteristics (for example, leg length). If, at any time, environmental conditions (or whatever) lead to some of those individuals having a competetive advantage over the others, then the traits that are possessed by those individuals will, over several generations, spread through the population. At any given moment, there is no telling whether the next advantageous trait will be classifiable as one or the other. In fact, to a large extent, the distinction has no real meaning.

I know it is the creationism side of things to say that everything is leading toward a ‘purpose,’ but doesn’t evolution also suggest the bettering of a species?

Only insofar as the individuals who out-compete their relatives will have more offspring and thus be more represented in the next generation. The term “bettering” has only a very transient meaning in biology. What is better under one set of circumstances may not be better under another set of circumstances.

For instance, there is an island in the Indian Ocean to which domestic dogs were recently introduced (this is from memory, so I may have some details wrong). The island is home to a unique specieas of lizard. After a few generations, the lizards developed longer legs, which helped them to run faster. However, after a few more generations, a reverse trend appeared, as the lizards developed a tree-climbing strategy to evade predation.

One could envisage a cladogenetic event developing, where some lizards continued to evade predation by running, and hence gradually developed ever-longer legs, while another population pursued the tree-climbing strategy and retained short legs but grew behaviourally different from their forebears. Thus, after enough generations, the two populations would represent distinct species. I do not believe this is happening, but it easily could.

What, then, is better? Longer legs or climbing trees?

If this snake was aquatic, then loosing [sic] the legs would be good, but are we also finding a movement toward a flattening of the tail sea serpent style among other fossils of the time and location?

If we knew the exact details of the snake’s environment and predators and prey, we could potentially answer this question. However, at present we cannot. All we can say is that, since the organism did exist, it possessed an advantage over its forebears. Since it no longer exists, its descendents possessed an advantage over it.

Charlemagne is pole-greaser. Compare comment #150424 with pg’s comment on the Nigersaurus post.

fnxtr:

Charlemagne is pole-greaser. Compare comment #150424 with pg’s comment on the Nigersaurus post.

If true, this is sock-puppetry, and thus a contravention of the rules. Ban him!

fnxtr:

Charlemagne is pole-greaser. Compare comment #150424 with pg’s comment on the Nigersaurus post.

And you know this how?

I checked out that thread. The pole-greaser guy also called BS on the evolutionists fossil side show. Don’t you think it’s possible that more than one person has caught on to this charade?

Charlemagne:

fnxtr:

Charlemagne is pole-greaser. Compare comment #150424 with pg’s comment on the Nigersaurus post.

And you know this how?

I checked out that thread. The pole-greaser guy also called BS on the evolutionists fossil side show. Don’t you think it’s possible that more than one person has caught on to this charade?

So says the person who has staked his alleged faith in Jesus over the alleged nonexistence of transitional fossils.

That, and if you hadn’t already crucified the last of your functioning brain cells long ago, you would have known that Pole-Greaser is a moronic troll who parodies a creationist, and is not an actual creationist himself.

Charlemagne said:

Don’t you think it’s possible that more than one person has caught on to this charade?

No, because it isn’t a charade. To carry on about this stuff as the evolution-deniers do requires a good bit of derangement with at least a touch of stupidty. There is simply no way a sane, unbiased person could draw the kinds of conclusions you guys draw. This is, of course, why those who draw such conclusions are so geographically concentrated. No predisposition not to understand, no denialism.

raven:

Carl being amusing:

The 3rd chapter of Genesis, the first verse is quite clear on this Now the serpent with two legs was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

Ummm, Carl, I don’t think this is the smart ass serpent from the Garden of Eden.

1. This snake is only 33 inches long.

2. It has a tiny head. I doubt if it’s brain is big enough to carry on long conversations with humans and there is no room for a mammalian style vocal track.

Phyisical characteristics play no role in the supernatural.. Neither does phyisical evidence for that matter.

did the dinasaurs was leving with the fuck haw did dinasaurs gaT in the fUCk i want to fuck tou b.

Well just one things to say… There might have been a snake found with two legs, but a whale also has “legs” too… it dosent mean they are walking… No where in the bible have I read where it said “serpent you will have no legs”, but rather “upon thy belly shalt thou go”.

Also if you are refering to the evolutionary process… evolution itself does not disprove anything. We can say ‘bob’ built a car including all the components for it to drive. Just because someone looks under the hood and figures out the different components and how it runs does not mean bob did not build the car. God created the universe and all the mechanisms we know as “laws”, “theories”, and such.

Facts do not “speak” for themselves, but are how we interpret them with our presumptions. You pressume there is no God and everything started from nothing; therefore, you interpret facts that way.

If everything evolves and evolves and then where did it first start? A big bang which was no “bang” at all but rather a “singularity” that scientist cannot even define because it defys their current understanding of physics?

Jason said:

Facts do not “speak” for themselves, but are how we interpret them with our presumptions. You pressume there is no God and everything started from nothing; therefore, you interpret facts that way.

You are making shit up. Evolutionary scientists do not as a group make any presumptions about the gods because it is completely irrelevant to the issue. Believers and nonbelievers alike can and do acknowledge the evidence for evolution, because it has passed so many tests that do not depend on interpretation. That’s how religion is done, not science.

If everything evolves and evolves and then where did it first start? A big bang which was no “bang” at all but rather a “singularity” that scientist cannot even define because it defys their current understanding of physics?

You are conflating two topics, evolution and cosmology, which have little to do with each other. It’s not a good idea to get your science from Ben Stein.

Facts do not “speak” for themselves, but are how we interpret them with our presumptions. You presume there is no God and everything started from nothing; therefore, you interpret facts that way.

No. I have no idea if there is, or isn’t a God.

However, I can determine that no God apparently involves himself in the day-to-day functioning of biology, because I can demonstrate that all the mechanisms running are sufficient to carry on the process by themselves, and the hand of God steadfastly remains hidden everywhere I can measure.

I can’t tell you God doesn’t exist. I can tell you that he doesn’t seem to be on the job anywhere we can measure, which, nowadays is pretty much everywhere.

Am I somehow wrong? Then show me the evidence. If you actually show me evidence that has no explanation other than the supernatural, that I’m not going to be able to explain it away no matter what my presumptions are.

But, alas, there simply is no such evidence, now is there?

You don’t actually deal with evidence, do you?

No. You cling to the ever-narrowing gaps in human knowledge, and whine about our “presumptions” and my “interpretations” while you steadfastly refuse to a single shred of evidence on the table that somehow supports your side.

Did you get your talking points from the Creation Museum? They beat the “viewpoint” drum pretty hard - it sells well to the rubes who can’t fathom why science continues to refuse the Good Book as de-facto truth.

It’s not about “presumption”, “assumptions” or “interpretations”. It’s about evidence, apparently an alien term.

My presumption is that you have none. My interpretation is that you want to gloss over this point. My conclusion is that you’re full of crap.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 11, 2008 4:06 AM.

Egg on your face… was the previous entry in this blog.

David Bolinsky: ‘Expelled’ ripped off Harvard’s ‘Inner Life of the Cell’ animation is the next entry in this blog.

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