Data from: Molecular evidence for the paraphyly of Scolecophidia and its evolutionary implications
Miralles, Aurélien et al. (2018), Data from: Molecular evidence for the paraphyly of Scolecophidia and its evolutionary implications, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4p2781m
The phylogenetic relationships between the three main clades of worm snakes remain controversial. This question is, however, crucial to elucidate the origin of the successful snake radiation, as these burrowing and miniaturized wormlike organisms represent the earliest branching clades among the snake tree. The present molecular phylogenetic study, intended to minimize the amount of missing data, provides fully resolved inter-subfamilial relationships among Typhlopidae. It also brings robust evidence that worm snakes (Scolecophidia) are paraphyletic, with the scolecophidian family Anomalepididae recovered with strong support as sister clade to the “typical snakes” (Alethinophidia). Ancestral state reconstructions applied to three different traits strongly associated to a burrowing life-style (scolecoidy, absence of retinal cones and microstomy) provide results in favour of a burrowing origin of snakes, and suggest that worm snakes might be the only extant fossorial representatives of that primordial snake incursion toward an underground environment.