In looking at snake genomes, serpent anatomy and new clues from early snake fossils, researchers at Yale concluded the earliest ancestral snakes lived on land, not in the water.
“Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturization in dinosaurs,” explained Professor Michael Lee, researcher at both the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum.
Lee is the lead author of the study, published in the journal Science.
“Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly,” Lee added. “Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins.”