Smithsonian explains how the genetic differences between different snakes can show the landscape of South America.
Neotropical rattlesnakes are found in dry, arid parts of South America and small savanna pockets in the Amazon. Many of these snake populations are discontinuous — or separated from one another by wet rainforest habitat. Although these populations are all part of the same species, they have small, but noticeable genetic differences. These differences can signal when and where populations stopped interbreeding and became geographically isolated. But it’s difficult to picture how and when these gradual changes happened.
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