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Biol Lett. 2005 Jun 22;1(2):227-30.

Molecular evidence and marine snake origins.

Author information

  • 1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA, Australia. michael.s.lee@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

A molecular phylogeny was used to refute the marine scenario for snake origins. Nuclear gene sequences suggested that snakes are not closely related to living varanid lizards, thus also apparently contradicting proposed relationships between snakes and marine mosasaurs (usually considered to be varanoids). However, mosasaurs share derived similarities with both snakes and living varanids. A reanalysis of the morphological data suggests that, if the relationships between living taxa are constrained to the proposed molecular tree, with fossil forms allowed to insert in their optimal positions within this framework, mosasaurs cluster with snakes rather than with varanids. Combined morphological and molecular analyses also still unite marine lizards with snakes. Thus, the molecular data do not refute the phylogenetic evidence for a marine origin of snakes.

PMID:
17148173
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1626205
Free PMC Article
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