Anaconda Alex Kushniarevich

  • Anacondas are large snakes that are typically found in the tropical parts of South America.
  • Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly found in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon or Orinoco basins in South America.
  • Anacondas belong to the Boidae family and are a member of the genus Eunectes, which is a group of aquatic snakes.
  • Anacondas go way back to when European explorers explored the dense jungles of South America and claimed to have seen a gigantic snake. In 1684, Andreas Cleyer described the anaconda as a gigantic snake that crushed large animals by coiling and crushing their bones.
Anaconda eating an alligator.
  • Anacondas are closely related to Boidae family which include snakes such as the Boa Constrictor, Green Anaconda, and the Yellow Anaconda.
Green Anaconda (Left) and Yellow Anaconda (Right)
  • The Green and Yellow Anaconda are both non-venomous and both kill their prey by constriction.
  • The Green Anaconda and Yellow Anaconda have a 98% in molecular similarities when compared to each other. They are both non-venomous, kill their prey by constriction, and they have similar structures. However, they have different colored patters, they grow up to different lengths, and have different weights.
  • Anacondas probably evolved because of competition against other snakes due to food shortages. That's why some Anacondas require different amounts of food to satisfy them. Anacondas are very similar to the snakes in the Boidae family which can show molecular similarities.
  • The Caecilian and the Lialis are two organisms with similar structures, but have different functions when compared to the Anaconda.
Lialis (Left) and Caecilian (Right)
  • A homologous structure is an example of an organ or bone that appears in different animals that shows commonalities and descent from a common ancestor.
  • The scaly skin from a snake is homologous to the skin from a lizard.
  • The hind legs found on a snake can show a homologous structure between the snake and a lizard.
  • Some snakes like the Anaconda have tiny hind legs that became useless over time which show a vestigial structure.
  • Vestigial Structures are inherited structures that have lost much of their original function due to evolution.
  • Snakes are believed to be evolved from lizards which used their hind legs, however over time the snake evolved and lost its need for hind legs.
Vestigial Structure in a snake.
Lizard Fossil (Left) Tetrapodophis Fossil (Right)
  • The Anaconda doesn't have any arms or legs unlike its ancestors.
  • A transitional fossil is any fossilized remains of a life form that shows common traits to its ancestral group and its derived descendant group.
  • Although the oldest snake fossil is very similar to the modern snake, the modern snake doesn't have any arms or legs like its ancestors. This transitional fossil can show how the snake evolved over time and changed in form when compared to a lizard or tetrapodophis.
Snake development stages.
  • Comparative embryology is the branch of embryology that compares and contrasts embryos of different species.
  • The snake and lizard look very similar in the embryonic stage, however as they both begin to evolve they start to look different and have different features.

The End!


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