It looks like the question of the serpent in the Garden of Eden may be solved, finally, outside the Jewish world. Jonathan Webb, science reporter at BBC News, has the story, published last Friday:
A 113-million-year-old fossil from Brazil is the first four-legged snake that scientists have ever seen.
Some inquiring minds will want to know whether this snake, or one like it, tempted Eve (Hava haRishona, namesake of this blog). It reminds me of what Rashi says about the nahash in Bereshith (Genesis) 3:14. First, the verse:
יד וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים | אֶל הַנָּחָשׁ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת אָרוּר אַתָּה מִכָּל הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה עַל גְּחֹנְךָ תֵלֵךְ וְעָפָר תֹּאכַל כָּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ:14 And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed be you more than all the cattle and more than all the beasts of the field; you shall walk on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
Now, the salient part:
על גחונך תלך: רגלים היו לו ונקצצו:
you shall walk on your belly: It had legs, but they were cut off. — [from Gen. Rabbah 20:5]
[Source of all Hebrew and English (small type), including translation]
Now, Rashi lived in the 11th C. CE...and I find it funny to think that now we've finally caught up with him and seen with our own eyes (I don't take pictures from the sites I cite; you'll have to go there) that there is such a thing as a snake with legs. I'm not saying that these are the bones of the ophidian body the crafty one used to tempt Hava haRishona; however, they'll have to find at least one more skeleton like that to convince me that they're not.