The ‘four-legged snake’ was discovered in 2015, six years ago today. Now a study has revealed that it was not a snake but a long-bodied sea lizard. The fossils found in Brazil were initially believed to be between a snake and a lizard. According to paleontologists from the University of Alberta, the 110-million-year-old reptile, Tetrapodophis amplexus, is nothing more than a lizard.
Due to its long body and snake-like teeth, scientists initially thought of the creature as a snake. University of Alberta paleontologist Michael Caldwell, lead author of the study, said it was later discovered that there was a mistake in identifying the creature. He said there are many questions that could have been answered with the discovery of the fossil of a ‘four-legged snake’ but if it was actually a four-legged snake.
Initially, scientists felt like a snake
Caldwell said the major conclusion of our team is that Tetrapodophis amplexus is not actually a snake and was misclassified. Rather, all aspects of its physical appearance match that of a group of extinct marine lizards from the Cretaceous period, called dolichosaurs. Scientists initially thought that Tetrapodophis amplexus had characteristics similar to those of snakes, but it has now become clear that this was a misclassification.
Lizard was about 20 cm long
When the specimens were discovered several years ago, experts found that its length was 20 cm from head to toe. But the possibility cannot be ruled out that its length could have increased further. Its head is the size of an adult human fingernail and its smallest tail bone is just a quarter of a millimeter in length. Its front legs are only 1 cm long but the hind legs are slightly longer, which it used to catch prey.