This amber nugget from Myanmar holds the first known baby snake fossil | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News in Brief

This amber nugget from Myanmar holds the first known baby snake fossil

The delicate skeleton dates to about 99 million years ago

By
2:00pm, July 18, 2018
baby snake preserved in amber

SNAKE SURPRISE  A walnut-sized nugget of amber contains the first known example of a fossilized baby snake.

The first known fossil remains of a baby snake have turned up in a hunk of amber found in Myanmar. The critter, a new species named Xiaophis myanmarensis, met its untimely demise about 99 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, an international team of researchers reports July 18 in Science Advances.

How do we know it’s a baby?

First, it’s tiny. The skeleton, which is missing its skull, is about 5 centimeters long. In total, the snake was probably less than 8 centimeters. Plus, its incomplete bone formation matches what’s seen today in neonatal snakes.

Really? Nobody has found a fossilized baby snake before?

The fossil record for snakes has been notoriously sparse until about the last 20 years, says coauthor Michael Caldwell, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Snakes don’t preserve well in general. And this

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content