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Tetrapodophis
Reconstruction of Tetrapodophis amplectus swimming
An artist's illustration of Tetrapodophis amplectus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
clade: Squamata
Superorder: Ophidia
Genus: Tetrapodophis
Martill et al., 2015
Species: T. amplectus
Binomial name
Tetrapodophis amplectus
Martill et al., 2015

Tetrapodophis (meaning "four-foot snake" in Greek) is an extinct genus of dolichosaurid lizard from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil.[1]

The type species, Tetrapodophis amplectus, was named in 2015 on the basis of a complete skeleton (BMMS BK 2-2) preserved on a limestone slab in the Bürgermeister Müller Museum inSolnhofen, Germany, which was labeled as "unknown fossil" until its importance was recognized by paleontologist David Martill.

The specimen was determined to come from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation in Ceará, Brazil.

Description[]

Tetrapodophis possesses small yet well-developed forelimbs and hindlimbs, an odd feature for a lizard. The animal was; like most lizards; a carnivore and; like most reptiles; was cold-blooded. The animal probably hunted anything smaller than itself that it could catch; Like our small ancestors, small reptiles like lizards, smallest avian\bird dinosaurs and maybe newborn dinosaurs. The animal itself was quite small so it probably was hunted by several species.

Tetrapodophis possesses small yet well-developed fore/hindlimbs. İt is unknown if it can walk; but given its limbs are well developed; it is a big possibility.

Nevertheless it shares some characteristics with modern lizards. It had a short snout and long braincase, curved jaws, and sharp hooked teeth. The high number of vertebrae (upwards of 150) in Tetrapodophis is not seen in other burrowing reptiles with elongated bodies and reduced or absent limbs, meaning that it is most likely not an adaptation for a serpentine form of locomotion, and may instead be an adaptation for constricting prey, which is a behavior unique to modern snakes.

Discovery and controversy[]

The type species, Tetrapodophis amplectus, was named in 2015 on the basis of a complete skeleton (BMMS BK 2-2) preserved on a limestone slab in the Bürgermeister Müller Museum in Solnhofen, Germany, which was labeled as "unknown fossil" until its importance was recognized by paleontologist David Martill, and illegally exported from Brazil, since the country's laws do not allow the removal of fossils from its territory, nor that studies on them be conducted without the participation of at least one Brazilian scientist.

Classification[]

Initially thought to be a snake now it is reclassified as a dolichosaurid lizard, a close relative of the Mosasaurs of the Cretaceous.

In popular culture[]

  • The supposed larger than life Tetrapodophis that appeared in the Disney/Pixar film The Good Dinosaur. It is inaccurately portrayed as venomous and appears more snake-like (very close to a viper) in appearance. The appearance was outdated but it was still rather inaccurate even for its time, during the same year Tetrapodophis was discovered.
TetrapodophisTheGoodDinosaur

Tetrapodophis as it appeared in The Good Dinosaur despite its inaccuracies.

Gallery[]

Tetrapodophis/Gallery

References[]

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