Pachyrhachis is one of three genera of Cenomanian snakes with hindlimbs. Although many modern pythons and boas still retain remnants of legs, in the form of small spurs, the tiny legs of Pachyrhachis included a hip, knee, and ankle joint. Pachyrhachis was originally described by Haas (1979, 1980) who noted it had a puzzling melange of snake and lizard features; its status as an early snake was later confirmed (Caldwell and Lee 1997).
The position of Pachyrhachis within snakes has been debated (e.g. Lee and Scanlon 2002; Rieppel et al. 2003). Pachyrhachis is among the oldest known snakes and retains well-developed hind limbs, suggesting it represented a transitional form linking snakes to marine lizards (Lee and Scanlon 2002), though other studies place Pachyrhachis within the modern snake radiation Macrostomata (Zaher & Rieppel, 1999).