(ORDO NEWS) — First, they lost their front legs. Then their hind legs. Now they can only slide.
It’s been about 100 million years since three genetic modifications made snakes unable to walk, and snake lover and YouTuber Allen Pan won’t.
“When every other animal has deformed legs, humanity bands together to spit in God’s face, and we create amazing new cyborg legs for that animal,” Pan states in a recent YouTube video titled “Give snakes their legs back.”
“But no one loves snakes enough to build robotic legs for them. Nobody except me. Snake Lover: Allen Pan.
Thus begins a very strange (and surprisingly inexpensive) venture in which Pan, from a pet store, observes the movements of closely related lizards to the home of a local snake breeder to try out a real snake prosthesis.
The end product that Pan puts together fully works, the science behind this venture is a little ironic.
However, Pan does mention some interesting 2014 research that found that cells that were once destined to become the snake’s two hind legs are instead recruited to form a paired outer penis called a hemipen.
Only one is used for mating at a time, which seems like a missed opportunity for the sacrificed legs. , but evolution works in mysterious ways.
There must be some advantage to being smooth and slippery. But, unfortunately, the fossil record can tell scientists only about this.
To date, no example of a four-legged snake has yet been found on Earth. One promising fossil discovered in 2015 actually turned out to be a lizard.
However, a fossil of a bipedal snake has been discovered. It is about 95 million years old and has strong hind legs. The researchers suspect that the common ancestor of this ancient snake and modern snakes probably resembled the Komodo dragon.
This connection contradicts the idea that snakes evolved legless forms to better swim in aquatic environments. Instead, their legless lifestyle may have originated on land.
If this is true, there must be some evolutionary advantage to not having legs. One theory is that the ancestors of these slippery animals spent their lives in burrows, where the lack of legs would allow them to reach prey hidden in tighter spaces.
In normal life, a snake would have four legs. is probably a hindrance, so returning the legs to the snakes may not be the gift Pan was hoping for.
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