ibusinesslines.com August 20, 2018

In Myanmar, found the oldest of the baby snake

22 July 2018, 02:34 | Justin Tyler

First fossilized snake embryo ever discovered rewrites history of ancient snakes

Remains of the earliest snake hatchling known to science were preserved in amber for 100 million years

The authors named the new species of snake Xiaophis myanmarensis.

The research saw the collaboration of and worldwide team that included the China University of Geosciences, the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Midwestern University, the South Australian Museum, Flinders University, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the University of Regina, the Paleo-Dairy Museum of Natural History and the Beijing Forestry University.

The fossilized baby snake's spinal cord was still turning into bone in the same way those of its descendants still do. "And that goes back nearly 100 million years - just fantastic", says one of the authors unique finds Michael Caldwell, an expert on fossil reptiles at the University of Alberta, Canada.

"The fossil is the first baby snake and the oldest baby snake to yet be found", said Xing. The little hatchling measured less than two inches long, which matches up with some species of snake that we see today, but the fossil isn't totally complete.

Scientists have discovered the world's oldest known fossilized baby snake, which will provide clues about the species' evolution, according to a new study.

"Whether or not these early snakes were giving live birth, which is common in modern snakes, or whether they were hatching from eggs, is unclear".

"I've learned critical details about snake development".

Alongside this, the researchers also found a second snake fossil (also encased in amber) likely containing part of the shed skin of another, much larger snake.

That skin hasn't been confirmed by the researchers as coming from a snake, but when compared to modern specimens, the scale-like markings look pretty close to that of a snake.


They also discovered fragments of plants and insects found inside the amber that confirm the snake lived in forests during the Cretaceous period.

Professor Michael Caldwell of Albert's department of biological sciences said: "It is an important - and until now, missing - component of understanding snake evolution from southern continents, that is Gondwana, in the mid-Mesozoic". "Most lizards don't show that same kind of diamond shape and pattern of overlap in the scales".

The fossil in amber was recovered in Myanmar, where various similar fossils have been retrieved.

Xing says he acquired the new skin specimen in early 2016 for the Dexu Institute of Paleontology in Chaozhou, China, from a Burmese fossil dealer who believed it was crocodile skin.

The baby snake lived in the forests of Myanmar during the Cretaceous period.

"Xiaophis myanmarensis was part of the fauna that rode on this drifting landmass, which like a very big passenger ship transported all sorts of Gondwanan plants and animals to Asia", said Professor Michael Lee, also from Flinders University and the South Australian Museum.

The critters' fragile constitution does not allow them to preserve well and baby species are even more delicate.

The discovery is very important as it offers us more information about snakes.

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