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A Brief Evolution of Reptiles

Updated on December 27, 2007
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003


Evolution is the theory that all plants and animals developed by gradual changes to previous forms of life. Charles Darwin and A.R. Wallace created the first concept of evolution, but today their theory has been further worked out to fill in the gaps between species changes. In theory first there were fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and then mammals. Looking at the reptile aspect of evolution, I'm going to start with fish up to the more evolved reptiles.

Thinking about evolution as a child's storybook, you can envision a school of fish becoming bored in waters, which were becoming overcrowded and food becoming low. The school decides to hope on land, some make it, some don't. Finding that there was much more available food on land, the fish decide to stay longer and longer. Eventually, only using water for food and breeding, thus creating the amphibian, which after time decide that the water thing just isn't cutting it, there's more out there than just water. So, because they normally would have to spend much of their time around pools of water, the amphibians, decided to venture further away. Already having, laying eggs, the amphibians slowly began developing harder, more calcified eggs, that were able to sustain their own water without becoming dehydrated without being in water. This let up much more opportunities for the amphibians, now known as reptiles.


The evolution of reptiles did not happen over a period of a few years, but rather millions of years. Slowly, evolving more and more characteristics that would allow them to breed, multiple, and survive, on land. Water was no longer a source of life, but a food source and a source of hydration.

Once solely on land, the new reptile group of animal, began to evolve into different orders. Each order having different characteristics allowing them to survive in different environments. Jungle snakes would not be able to survive in the desert heat of the Sahara, and, vice versa, desert lizards would not be able to survive in humidity of the Amazon.

There are four orders to classify all reptiles. The Squamata includes the lizards and snakes, making it the largest of the four orders. The Chelonia includes all turtles and tortoises, wild and captive bred. Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gavials, are all grouped in the Crocodilla order. The fourth order, the Rhynchocephalia, is composed of only one member, the living fossil, also known as the tuatara.

Reptiles have come a long way throughout the evolution process. Now, with the ability to live, breed, and survive in captivity, to include zoos, sanctuaries, and personal homes.

I want to make it clear that this brief summary is all scientific theory, and not 100% facts.

Pictures can be found at Yahoo images.


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    • gingersmaltese profile image

      gingersmaltese 6 years ago from 27597

      That's funny ive read work by hundreds of scientists that doubt evolution. I guess there not "real" scientists then right? Only "real" scientists toe the party line and don't propose alternative theory's.

      This huge amount of evidence for evolution is very well hidden, i cant find any; Although i can find some unquestionable frauds and distortions in textbooks in support of Evolution. ie, Stanly miller experiment, human embryonic gill slits, Acheopetrics "missing link". I could go on. Why are these lies and distortions used to support evolution if it is so ironclad?

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      Smith 7 years ago


      Scientists do not distinguish between "macro-" and "micro-" evolution. Those are terms created by creationists. "Macro-evolution," as you put it, is indeed a FACT with much evidence to support it and there is no doubt among scientists who study evolution, biology, etc..

      Also, be certain one is not confusing the term "theory" as used in the scientific community with the term "theory" as applied by the public in everyday life. In the scientific community, a theory is an explanation of the hows and whys of a scientific fact that best matches the current evidence. Just how the Theory of Gravity explains the fact of gravity, the Theory of Evolution explains the fact of evolution. While it's possible that tomorrow we may start floating through the air, or find a horse in the Permian, it is very highly unlikely.

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      Anthony 7 years ago

      I must add that to purport macro Evolution as fact is poor science indeed. The holes in the theory (which in my opinion the term theory suggests too much in the way of validity with regard to Evolution) inextricably raise sever questions. To clarify, I do not write this from a religious perspective for creationism is an even more inconclusive theory. Macro Evolution should never be presented as fact, for to do so would imply that there is no doubt among scholars as to its veracity when in fact, there is much.

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      Juan  8 years ago

      cool ! but I must add that evolution is FACT! just because it is called theory doesn't mean it isn't fact, remember the Heliocentric Theory is called theory but is a fact that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun.

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      sandra 9 years ago

      Hey whitney been trying to get write a paper on evolution of reptiles ur hub helped simplify and put things into perspective now i know how to start thanks

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      No offense taken. I just hope that you didn't think I was being serious when I wrote the hub. It was supposed to be taken in simplicistic form.

    • Anne Burlinson profile image

      Anne Burlinson 9 years ago from Australia

      Well understood.

      The comment from the earlier reader drove me to write my previous comment. Sorry to offend you...

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      I did not go into any deep, dark facts because I'm trying to make it simple so that the basics are understood. Personally, if any takes this serious that fish just up and decided to check out land, then they need help and a LOT more schooling.

      I wasn't trying to be scientific with my example. It was supposed to be a fun way to look at it. It was supposed to make it simple to understand from a child's point of view, not an adult, teacher, professor, etc. I'm not stupid, and I do fully understand how evolution works. I am not saying that litterally, the fish got bored and decided to check out the land. I posed a creative way to looking at evolution.

      I have no problems receiving criticism. I'm not sure where you see that I'm not convinced this is fact. I gave the points as were given to me with an added creativitiy. I didn't pose any agreeance or disasgreeance to the theory of evolution.

      Be creative, imaginative when reading this don't be so serious. That's not how it was written. ;-)

    • Anne Burlinson profile image

      Anne Burlinson 9 years ago from Australia

      Hi Whitney!

      You have written a nice and informative hub. Good job.

      Sadly though, I have to say, you haven't done your research well. Here are my concerns:

      - Darwin and Wallace were not the first to come up with evolution theory. There were others before him. Lamarck and others, for example, prior to the year 1800, had promoted evolutionary theories, but in order to explain just how life changed, they depended on speculation, unlike Darwin who did his natural observation.

      - Your storybook depiction of evolution theory, is, unfortunately, misleading. In evolution, there wasn't a group of organisms who got 'bored' and moved away from their natural habitat and populate other terrain. To be exact, there was some changes, probably quite dramatic ones, in their living environment, and that some of the members of the species were born with slightly different characteristics than their previous generation. With the change in that environment and the newly acquired characteristics, they rule! And the story goes on.

      I know it's not nice to receive critics, especially like this one. But if we were to consider that is a public site where every one can read the hubs, possibly some students are also doing their research for a school assignment, topics such as evolutionary theory SHOULD be presented as 'facts' - even though I noticed you're not convinced the theory is facts, per se.


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      shruti  9 years ago

      this site is good eor studentd of every age group