Home Biological science What happened first: snake fangs or venom?

What happened first: snake fangs or venom?

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Snake Lightning Bites are a great way to inject poison into your prey. Helping and betting on this violent attack is the evolution of long snakes with curved tusks to poison their next meal. Toxins can injure, incapacitate or kill victims. But which came first: poison or fangs?

Unlike the fangs of other animals Snake The defenses are highly adapted to function as a toxin delivery system. For example, many Other fanged animalsLike wolves and cats, use their fangs to stab and tear up meat. However, Alessandro Pulch, a researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Flinders University in Australia who specializes in paleontology and evolution, said snake tusks have lateral grooves or full bumps in their teeth, poisoning their prey. Said to help inject.

Pulch and his team published a recent study on snake tusks in the journal. Royal Society Bulletin B: Biological Sciences August 2021. The research team dismembered the evolution of the snake’s special poisonous teeth.

Related: Can humans have poison?

The poisonous fangs first developed as grooves at the base of snake teeth. Researchers found that these grooves likely evolved to firmly secure teeth to the jawbone, as snake teeth typically have very shallow roots. According to Pulch, these wrinkled grooves, called prismidentines, increase the area that attaches to the jawbone.

Fangs developed from these wrinkles on the teeth, according to Pulch’s team that studied 3D. microCT Images of 19 snake tusks and 3 lizard tusks, as well as a thin blade made from several specimens. These ditches have been found in all species studied by scientists (poisonous and non-toxic, fangs and non-toxic). This indicates that it is more likely to occur in ancestral non-venomous snake species. Researchers have found that poisonous snakes have adopted these existing ditches to deliver poison to their prey.

“The peculiarity of fanged snakes is that their teeth have much larger and deeper ‘wrinkles’,” Pulch said. “When one of these wrinkles becomes larger than the other, a groove forms along the tooth.”

This groove directs the poisonous liquid to its prey from nearby poison glands as the snake bites. “The simplest poisonous fangs only have shallow grooves on the surface,” Pulch told Live Science in an email, but these grooves are much more effective at injecting poison than hard teeth.

“For more advanced snakes (eg vipers and cobras), the groove deepens to the point where its edges meet, sealing the groove and forming a hollow tubular structure that resembles a syringe needle,” Pulch said. . paddy field. “These furrows have been selected for millions of years evolution This is to make a large hook in the shape of a very effective syringe. “

So which one came first? “It is believed that the poison appeared very quickly in a mild form for the common ancestors of snakes and some lizards (a group called Toxicofera),” Pulch said. “Therefore, the poisonous fangs evolved after the poison was already present. The presence of poison may have been an important prerequisite for the evolution of poisonous fangs.

Snakes are very unique in the evolution of these special fangs. “Poisonous fangs haven’t evolved much outside of snakes,” Pulch said. However, snakes have found them to be very useful, different species of snakes have independently developed venomous Prisidentin tusks time and time again.

Here are some interesting examples of the few other animals that have developed poisonous fangs:

  • A small group of mammals digging holes in the Caribbean Solenodon It looks like a big shrew.
  • Little fish called IsoginpoUse their fangs to administer a painless poison that lowers the victim’s blood pressure.
  • Ancient extinct reptiles called Uachitodon, Known only by the discovery of their teeth.

Originally published in Live Science.

What happened first: snake fangs or venom? Source link What Happened First: Snake Fangs or Venom?


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