A New York Times article reports on a recent fossil discovery that may shed light on snake evolution. “The origin of snakes is a perplexing matter. Although DNA analysis suggests that snakes are related to monitor lizards and iguanas, they are anatomically more similar to a group of earthwormlike creatures called worm lizards. Now a new study helps clear the confusion, suggesting that worm lizards are related not to snakes, but to lacertids, a group of limbed lizards found in Europe, Africa and Asia. Writing in the journal Nature, researchers identify a 47 million-year-old fossilized lizard in Germany that appears to be (emph. added—RL) a common relative to both lacertids and worm lizards. ‘This was the transitionary animal; it was exactly what we were looking for (agenda-driven science is not objective—RL),’ said Johannes Müller, a paleozoologist at the Natural History Museum in Berlin and the study’s first author. ‘It indirectly implies (how’s that for nailing it down with certainty?—RL) that identifying burrowing worm lizards with snakes is a mistake.’”
The caption for the above fossil picture reads:
“The original and only known specimen of the Messel lizard Cryptolacerta. The skeleton is only a few centimeters long and is almost complete, lacking only parts of the tail. Its hands and feet were very small, showing the first steps of limb reduction.”
As you can see from the second picture (click for larger view), the specimens clearly show that these animals are also in “the first steps of limb reduction.” Notice the large, tubular bodies and the short, stubby appendages. And, we have TWO living specimens (with which this writer has firsthand knowledge), not just one fossilized example. So, using the same logic and methodology as the above researchers, there is TWICE as much convincing evidence that wiener dogs are losing their legs.