1 Tahrcountry Musings: Genealogy of scaly reptiles rewritten

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Genealogy of scaly reptiles rewritten

Comprehensive analysis of the genetic relationships among all the major groups of snakes, lizards, and other scaly reptiles has resulted in a radical reorganisation of the family tree of these animals. The analysis was done by two biologists working at Penn State University: S. Blair Hedges, professor of biology, and Nicolas Vidal, a postdoctoral fellow in Hedges' research group (Now curator at the National Museum in Paris). The old tree is based primarily on morphology. The new tree is based exclusively on comparisons of the molecular structure of the animals' genes. Because the current tree has been widely accepted for nearly a century, there will be a delay of few years before the general scientific community gets used to the new tree. The research is reported in the current issue of the journal C. R. Biologies

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