Re: [asa] YECism and implications for herpetology

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Mar 26 2007 - 13:22:46 EDT

> I guess I'm looking for the answer a good YEC would give to the questions 1)
> where did modern snakes come from? 2) why don't they have legs? and 3) what
> did the original Serpent look like?

I suspect the best YEC answer is "I don't know".

As far as the paleontological evidence goes, snakes appear to derive
from within the varanoid lizards (monitors, goannas, Komodo dragon,
etc.) and to be especially closely related to the mosasaurs, an
extinct group of large sea-going reptiles. Proto-snakes retaining
small hind limbs are known as Cretaceous fossils. Even some modern
snakes (e.g. boas, pythons) have tiny buds, remnants of hind limbs.

Several other lizard lineages have also reduced or lost limbs.

Snakes also pose problems for the "no death before the Fall" claim.
Two major prey capture methods in the snakes, venom and constriction,
are only useful in subduing live prey. Constriction may be difficult
to trace in the fossil record, although it seems likely that members
of modern groups that rely entirely on constriction probably practiced
it. However, venom-injecting fangs are easy to recognize in the
fossil record and are known as early as Triassic. Recent molecular
data on Gila monsters suggests that venom may go back well before the
snake-lizard split (probably roughly to the Triassic, though I don't
think the Triassic fang has a known owner), though more study is
definitely needed.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Mar 26 13:23:00 2007

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