Skip to comments.First fossilized snake embryo ever discovered rewrites history of ancient snakes
Posted on 07/19/2018 12:07:59 PM PDT by Red Badger
A fossilized baby snake discovered in a 105-million-year-old amber fragment shows the ancient species lived in a forest environment in what is now Myanmar. Credit: Cheung Chung Tat
"This snake is linked to ancient snakes from Argentina, Africa, India and Australia," explained paleontologist Michael Caldwell, lead author and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. "It is an importantand until now, missingcomponent of understanding snake evolution from southern continents, that is Gondwana, in the mid-Mesozoic."
Caldwell and his international team, including collaborators from Australia, China and the United States, have tracked the migration of these ancient Gondwanan snakes beginning 180 million years ago when they were carried by tectonic movements of continents and parts of continents, from Australia and India, to Madagascar and Africa, and finally to Asia, in modern-day India and Myanmar.
The amber fragment in which the specimen was found also provided important clues about its environment.
"It is clear that this little snake was living in a forested environment with numerous insects and plants, as these are preserved in the clast," explained Caldwell. "Not only do we have the first baby snake, we also have the first definitive evidence of a fossil snake living in a forest."
The tiny snake's well-preserved skeleton (reconstruction at right) was found encased in a pebble-sized chunk of amber. Credit: Ming Bai, Chinese Academy of Sciences Using CT scans, the scientific team studied the ancient snake and compared it with the young of modern snakes. Their results yielded unexpected insight into the development and embryology of the ancient specimen, including the formation of the vertebrae and notochord.
"All of these data refine our understanding of early snake evolution, as 100-million year-old snakes are known from only 20 or so relatively complete fossil snake species," said Caldwell. "There is a great deal of new information preserved in this new fossilized baby snake."
The paper, "A Mid-Cretaceous Embryonic-to-Neonate Snake in Amber From Myanmar," was published in Science Advances.
More information: Lida Xing et al. A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar, Science Advances (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5042
Journal reference: Science Advances
Provided by: University of Alberta
Jurassic Park! Whoopie! I call dibs on Jeff Goldblum’s character!
The “first fossil.. ever discovered”. Not the fossil of the
“Not only do we have the first baby snake, we also have the first definitive evidence of a fossil snake living in a forest.”
The first baby snake. Not the first fossil of a baby snake.
a fossil snake living... You have to watch those live fossil snakes. they’re mean.
Jeff Goldblum has character?.............................
Snakes on a plane!
Yadda,yadda,yadda... fossilized snake embryos on a plane
My money’s on Snake Pliskin.
Would make a good movie!.......................65 million year old snake cloned from amber! Turns out to be 100m long!.................
So...if it’s an embryo, shouldn’t it be a snake egg that was encased in amber? I don’t believe that a snake able to move on it’s own on the forest floor and get trapped in amber is an embryo. But who knows, I’m not a biologist.
I thought he was dead
Maybe it was a tree snake...................
Just say a word and the boys will be right there
With claws at your back to send a chill through the night air
Is it so frightening to have me at your shoulder?
Thunder and lightning couldn’t be bolder
I’ll write on your tombstone, I thank you for dinner
This game that we animals play is a winner
Let’s bungle in the jungle
Well, that’s all right by me
I’m a tiger when I want love
But I’m a snake if we disagree
But where the hell is Flight 370 ?
Eve’s heel left quite a dent in its skull.
Didn’t know liberals and Democrats went back that far.
Thanks Red Badger. Some new evidence a-writhing.
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