In DepthPaleontology

‘Four-legged snake’ may be ancient lizard instead

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Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, pp. 536-537
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6312.536

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In a major paper last year, researchers called a rare fossil from more than 100 million years ago the first known four-legged snake. But at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Salt Lake City last week, another team suggested that it’s not a snake at all: Using the “counterpart” to the original fossil—its opposite half, containing primarily an impression of the body—they say it’s a marine lizard instead. Even as scientists hotly debate the identity of this tiny, fragile, controversial specimen, the only one of its kind, it has apparently become inaccessible for further study. And paleontologists are mad as hell.