Archaeologists found the fossil of a two hind legged creature in the Rio Negro province in Argentina. It was named as Najash, due to its similarity with Biblical creature 'Nahash' who was the snake in 'Garden of Eden.' Even though the discovery was made in 2013, the research behind the discovery has only just been published which stunned the archaeology experts.
Fernando Garberoglio, an undergraduate palaeontology student from Universidad de Buenos Aires first found the skull of the creature during a field trip to northern Patagonia with Sebastian Apesteguia from the Universidad Maimonides and Guillermo Rougier of the University of Louisville. Later, Rougier examined the animal remains before coming to any conclusion and then the study was published in the Science Advances journal.
Evolution of the skull and different bone structure
As per the experts, Worm-like, small-mouthed snakes known as scolecophidians are addressed as the earliest snakes of this world. But the newly found fossil material from Najash suggested that the skulls of ancient snakes are different from scolecophidian snakes.
It should be noted that Najash showed signs of skull evolution to eat and ingest large prey, a landmark feature of many modern snakes. The researchers have also found that Najash and its kind had developed sharp teeth and some of the skull joints are typical of most modern snakes.
It should be noted that for a long time the rod-like bone located behind the eye of modern snakes, called the jugal, was believed to be the equivalent of the bones of their lizard ancestors. But scientists claimed that jugal was absent in all snakes, fossil and modern.
The bone below the orbit in Najash has the same shape, position and connections as the L-shaped jugal which suggests that the lower bar of the jugal was lost through evolution. However, Najash's skull reveals that ancestral snakes were very similar to some of their close lizard relatives, such as Komodo dragons.
The biblical reference
In Genesis 3:1 a snake appears in the Garden of Eden and tempts to eat the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve both eat the fruit and punished with banishment from the Garden. In the book of Revelation, Satan is called "the ancient serpent" which refers to the snake in Genesis. That means in the New Testament the snake is Satan.