Did snakes ever have legs? If yes why did they lose them?
Why did snakes lose their legs? Long before the dinosaurs were extinct, some 340 million years ago, snakes made their first appearance on Earth; at that time, they were likely four-legged, exactly like any other contemporary reptile (lizards, crocodiles, turtles), but not like any snakes that exist now.
The remains of non-functioning limbs found near the base of the tail in some species have provided scientific confirmation of this (mainly the constrictors like pythons, see below).
However, it was soon discovered that the legs in question were unfavorable (even a liability), particularly when it came to living in the mud, the water, or underground burrows.
As a result, creatures with shorter limbs (sometimes paddle-shaped, ideal for swimming and steering and more tapered bodies moved more efficiently and reproduced more readily.
The body lengthened as the legs gradually atrophied and eventually vanished, giving rise to the serpents we are familiar with and (incorrectly) afraid of today.
Fun fact: Many species of legless lizards (see above and below), which are completely different creatures, also share the attribute of having lost limbs during the course of evolution with snakes.
The response from Serge Elia to the question (“What distinguishes snakes from legless lizards?” – You must be wondering, therefore, why these guys’ legs vanish. Probably for the same cause as before.