Paleontology 

Sphenodontian Fossil from Ancient Gondwana Found in Brazil

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) A new reptile fossil was recently discovered in Brazil, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports and describes the species Clevosaurus hadroprodon, which has turned out to be the oldest fossil of its kind from what was formerly Gondwana—the ancient supercontinent that split up into Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula. The remains of the fossil, consisting mostly of the mandible and skull bones, were found in rocks that…

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how snakes lost their legs Animals Paleontology 

How Snakes Lost their Legs

By Kate Stone Long ago, snakes lost their legs. Now, a fresh clue as to how and why has been found deep in an ancient snake’s inner ear.  Leglessness is not what makes a snake a snake. As this article explains, it is the flexible, unhinged jaw that distinguishes a snake from a legless lizard. And yet, developing legs only to lose them may seem like evolution in reverse. A 90 million-year-old snake skull is giving researchers vital clues about how snakes lost their legs as they evolved. Comparisons between…

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