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New skulls and skeletons of the Cretaceous legged snake Najash

Najash is an extinct genus of basal snakes from the Late Cretaceous (Candeleros Formation) of Patagonia. Some modern snakes retain traces of hind legs - boas, pythons, leptotyphlopids, and others. Some Cretaceous snakes also had hindlimbs or remnant hindlimbs, but Najash is unusual in having well-developed legs that extend outside the rib cage as well as a pelvis connected to the vertebral column. Fossil Najash was first found by Sebastián Apesteguía at the Argentine Museum of Natural History and his team in a terrestrial deposit in the Río Negro province of northern Patagonia, Argentina, in 2003 (Apesteguía and Zaher, 2006). The fossils date to roughly 90 million years ago. The skull and vertebral of Najash show primitive features that resemble other Cretaceous snakes, such as Dinilysia and Madtsoiidae. Additionally, several characteristics of the anterior body and tail of Najash and Dinilysia show how the body plan of snakes evolved from a lizard-like ancestor. Najash retained its s…

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