Meet the Authors: Rebecca J. Laver & Juan D. Daza

By Sheryll Poe 


The next Special Issue of the Anatomical Record will focus on blind snakes, a small, burrowing snake known for its’ degenerate eyes that lie beneath opaque head scales. They are among the most early divergent group of snakes, so they can give scientists some clues about the origin of snakes.

Rebecca J. Laver
Australian National University

Juan D. Daza
Sam Houston State University

Herpetologist and Sam Houston University Associate Professor Juan Daza and Rebecca Laver, a postdoctoral researcher at Australian National University will publish their research on the skull anatomy of southern blind snakes, Anilios australis Gray, in the upcoming Special Issue. “One of the most astonishing discoveries was the presence of a bone (Septomaxilla) with many foramen in between the brain cavity and their chemosensory organ (the Jacobson’s organ),” Daza explained. “This is a very interesting convergence with mammals. In mammals, a different bone (the ethmoid) has similar perforations. We see in two very distant groups the developing of several nerve tracks running into olfactory organs, something that is very incredible.”

The two, who met during the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologist and Herpetologist in 2018 in Rochester, NY, used Zoom, Google Docs, and Dropbox to collaborate on the paper across the time zones. “I don’t sleep very well, so I can chat when people are active in Australia,” Daza added. 

They both had high praise for the Anatomical Record. “Publishing in the Anatomical Record is really worthwhile as the staff are highly professional and incredibly helpful,” Laver said. “The process was easy, enjoyable, and efficient, and I would definitely consider publishing with them again in future.”

“The Anatomical Record, unlike many other journals of anatomy, have a great appreciation for descriptive work,” Daza added. “I think we ignore a lot about the anatomy of many animal groups and I appreciate that the Anatomical Record supports this type of research.”

Read: “Underground Down Under: Skull anatomy of the southern blind snake Anilios australis Gray” by Rebecca J. Laver, Juan D. Daza, Ryan J. Ellis, Edward L. Stanley, and Aaron M. Bauer