It sounds like an oddity to some: a fossilized snake found in Lebanon with two hind limbs. For others, the serpent of Genesis 3—cursed to walk on its belly—comes to mind. So what does this leggy snake have to do with Genesis and evolution?
First, the details. This specimen, 33 inches (85cm) long, was originally described back in 2000. The news is that a team at the European Light Source (ESRF) has used X-rays to confirm that the snake indeed had two limbs; only one is visible on the surface of the limestone slab the snake is trapped in. The hind limbs are pretty useless, however, at less than an inch (about two centimeters) long. No toes were found fossilized, either, “but that may be because they are not preserved or because, as this is a vestigial leg, they were never present,” according to ESRF's resident palaeontologist Paul Tafforeau.
The serpent of Genesis 3—cursed to walk on its belly—comes to mind.
Second, the import of this find. Evolutionists hope fossils like this one will help solve the debate over snake origins: were they terrestrial lizards that lost their limbs after burrowing for generations, or were they marine reptiles instead?
This find doesn’t faze creationists, though, and we have the same response we’ve had to several other legged snake fossil finds in the past. For instance, two years ago we responded to the Argentine snake fossil; here are a few of those notes (summarized):
- If snakes once had legs they’ve now lost, this fits in perfectly with the creation model. The “evolution” we observe around us is all information-reducing, degenerating change. That is, creatures become less sophisticated from their original forms and actually lose features and functionality. It makes sense, then, that snakes may have been created with legs but that over time, natural selection in specific environments favored those without legs—a simpler form. That said, these so-called “legs,” which evolutionists admit were too short in this specimen to be used for ambulation, may have been used in copulation. Perhaps no snakes ever “walked” in any sense.
- Evolutionists conceptualize snakes as evolved lizards (or marine reptiles) because it’s the only conclusion from an evolutionary standpoint—yet this conclusion ignores the fact that snakes require a very specialized backbone and some snakes have unhinging jaws, also unlike other reptiles.
In short, a snake with “legs” neither threatens the creation model nor is any evidence of a genetic information-adding evolutionary transition.
Now what about the connection between this snake and the serpent of Genesis 3, which was cursed in Genesis 3:14 to crawl on its belly? As we’ve noted previously, fossilized snake forms are most likely from Noah’s Flood, more than a thousand years after the events in Genesis 3. Furthermore, Scripture isn’t specific about the anatomy of the Eden serpent nor if the curse on it applied to all “serpents” or just one.
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