Definitions for pythonomorpha

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Webster Dictionary

  1. Pythonomorpha

    same as Mosasauria

Freebase

  1. Pythonomorpha

    Pythonomorpha was originally proposed by paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope as a reptilian order comprising snakes and mosasaurs. The etymology of the term Pythonomorpha comes from the Greek Python and morphe, and refers to the generally serpentine body plan of members of the group. Cope wrote, "In the mosasauroids, we almost realize the fictions of snake-like dragons and sea-serpents, in which men have been ever prone to indulge. On account of the ophidian part of their affinities, I have called this order Pythonomorpha." However, the category was rejected by most 20th-Century herpetologists and paleontologists, who sought, instead, to demonstrate a close relationship between mosasaurs and varanid lizards and who generally considered snakes to have evolved from terrestrial, burrowing lizards. Cope's Pythonomorpha was later resurrected by a number of paleontologists who have conducted cladistic analyses which seem to show that snakes and mosasaurs may be more closely related to one another than either is to the varanid lizards, and that snakes more likely arose from aquatic ancestors. As redefined by Lee, the monophyletic Pythonomorpha consists of "The most recent common ancestor of mosasauroids and snakes, and all its descendants." This would include the aigialosaurs, dolichosaurs, coniasaurs, mosasaurs, and all snakes. Lee was able to show no less than 38 synapomorphies supporting Pythonomorpha.

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