It symbolized deception and evil and from the earliest of times to the modern age, therefore many have feared and loathed the snake, so much so, that many species have been hunted near extinction.
And yet, even though it has been studied and feared intensely for centuries, until recently, scientists had no clear idea of the path that the snake has followed through evolution.
The original ancestor of the snake has been a topic for speculation among researchers for many years. Their first theory regarding the characteristics of the primordial snake was that it lived in water and that is way his body had to have the streamlined shape that it does.
However, according to latest findings, this theory has been proven wrong and it turns out the first snake actually was an earth dweller.
It has never been easy for scientists to gather up information regarding snakes, present or extinct. Their fragile skeleton is easily destroyed and apart from a few vertebrae, which only proved that the animal in question was a snake, there was little to investigate in order to find out more details about the snake`s evolution.
The only big exception to the rule of evolution that states that snakes are small and that their fossils do not stand the test of time is the Titanoboa.
The Titanoboa is a gigantic snake that could grow to surpass 40 feet and which lived 60 million years ago.
But scientists needed to discover earlier and well-preserved fossils of snakes, if they were to figure how the protosnake actually looked like.
Recent discoveries and improvement of their equipment, allowed researchers to gain access to a glimpse of how the snake evolved through time starting 120 million years ago.
From what they managed to find out, they came to the conclusion that the oldest ancestor of the snake was a nocturnal creature and it hunted tiny rat-like animals with some hind like members.
It also looks like, the protosnake had sharp teeth, similar to needles and they also were unable to swallow anything larger than their head.
Research also showed that the original snakes were unable to constrict their victim as a method of killing, this ability arrived later in evolution, which also signals that boas and pythons are newer and more evolved species of snakes.
The study and a description of the original snake was published in the BMC Evolutionary Biology journal and it hopes that it will help evolutionary biology come up with better tools to use when speculating on what the ancestors of animals used to look like.
Image Source: nytimes