This book presents perspectives on the past and present state of the understanding of snake origins. It reviews and critiques data and ideas from paleontology and neontology (herpetology), as well as ideas from morphological and molecular phylogenetics. The author reviews the anatomy and morphology of extant snakes. Methods are also critiqued, including those empirical and theoretical methods employed to hypothesize ancestral ecologies for snakes. The modern debate on squamate phylogeny and snake ingroup phylogeny using molecules and morphology is examined critically to provide insights on origins and evolution.

Key Features

  • Important major evolutionary transformation in vertebrate evolution
  • Continuing historical debate in vertebrate paleontology
  • Of wide interest to a core audience of paleontologists, herpetologists, and morphologists
  • Author acknowledged as prominent contributor to debate over snake origins
  • Based on remarkable well preserved fossil specimens

1. Ancient Snakes, Modern Snakes: What Is a Snake? 2. Ancient Snake Lizards: The Fossil Record. 3. The Anatomy of Ancient Snake Lizards. 4. Ancient Snake Lizard Paleoecology: Reading the Rocks for Habits and Habaitats. 5.Origin Myths as Opposed to Scientific Hypotheses. 6. Ancient Snake Lizard Phylogeny: Where Do Modern Snake Lizards Belong? 7. Beginnings: Where Do We Go from Here?