The delicate skeleton dates to about 99 million years ago
Ming Bai/Chinese Academy of Sciences
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