Hissing link? asks Nature, vol 446, p473 29 Mar 2007.

Palaeontologist Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta and Alessandro Palci of the University of Modena, Italy have studied a fossil lizard found in Slovenia and claim they have found clues as to how lizards evolved into snakes. The creature has been namedAdriosaurus microbrachis and has a small head and a long neck and body. Its forelimbs are “greatly reduced”, i.e. it does not have forearm bones, hands or digits.

In an article from the Eureka Alert news service Caldwell comments: “For some oddball reason the forelimbs were lost before the rear limbs when you would think it would be the opposite. The front limbs would be useful for holding onto dinner or digging a hole but it must be developmentally easier to get rid of the forelimbs.”

Dr. Martin Cohn, from the Department of Zoology and University of Florida Genetics Institute commented: “This is a terrifically important discovery because it shows, in a group of animals thought to be closely related to snakes, that forelimb reduction and trunk elongation were well underway before the onset of hindlimb reduction. By uncovering the sequence of the morphological changes that occurred during evolution of a snake-like body plan, Palci and Caldwell’s study provides important clues as to which developmental mechanisms could have been involved.”

The Eurekalert article also comments: “Living lizards also show almost every variation in limb reduction from a perfectly formed back limb with no forelimb, or a spike for a forelimb and one or two toes on the rear limb, to total limblessness. This degree of variation makes it very difficult to understand the pattern of evolutionary limb loss in these animals.”

Editorial Comment: The best explanation for the fossil described above is that genes for lizard limb formation have been damaged and some lizards no longer develop normal limbs. This is not evolution, it is degeneration.

Loss of structures in both fossil and living creatures is good evidence for the Biblical history of life. Genesis tells us that God made fully functioning creatures in separate kinds to live and reproduce in a very good world. Since then the world’s environment has degenerated because of human sin and God’s judgement, and radiation and chemicals have damaged the genes of many animals.

In addition we can add, If living lizards show “almost every variation in limb reduction,” then finding a fossil lizard showing one of these variations cannot be considered evidence that lizards turned into snakes millions of years ago.

Evidence News 4 April 2007

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