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Re: PYTHONOMORPHA REVISITED
On Thu, 6 Feb 1997, Darren Naish wrote:
> Also worthy of note here, though not relevant to this particular paper, is the
> mosasauroid taxon Natantia which I have seen used in a couple of cladograms. I
> think the name has already been used for a bunch of ostracod crustaceans, in
> which case it can't be used for the mosasauroids. I don't doubt that Lee's
> hypothesis will be much debated (much like all that turtle phylogeny work..
> this _is_ the same Lee isn't it?): Rieppel for one has voiced serious
> to the idea of snakes as varanoids (some of the funny little burrowing snakes
> share odd characters with amphisbaenians and scincoids).
The interesting thing about Lee's phylogeny is that it turns all those
funny little burrowing snakes into a monophyletic group, rather than a
paraphyletic grade of basal snakes as in past hypotheses. This of course
suggests two things 1) a fossorial phase in early snake evolution is less
likely & 2) The characters shared between the fossorial snakes and
amphisbaenids are not necessarily primitive for snakes. Indeed I suspect
a fossorial existance places quite an evolutionary "straight jacket" on
lepidosaur groups creating quite an impressive set of convergences.
"Ah, heres the results of the sci-scan now. It says we're going to