Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Science | By

Scientists find 99-million-year-old snake trapped in an amber tomb

Scientists find 99-million-year-old snake trapped in an amber tomb

"A second specimen preserves a fragment of shed skin interpreted as a snake", the authors wrote in their paper. That may indicate the chunk of land that became Myanmar had previously broken off from the other southern continents, such as Australia, Africa, and India, before colliding with modern-day Asia, Caldwell says.

Using CT scans, the scientific team studied the ancient snake and compared it with the young of modern snakes.

The fossil of a baby snake has been discovered entombed inside amber.

Scientists have discovered the oldest known baby snake fossil, a find that will reveal more information about the creatures that lived in ancient Earth.

The Mesozoic era, also known as "the age of the dinosaurs", or "the age of the reptiles", stretched from about 252 million years ago to about 66 million years ago, according to LiveScience.

The unique little snake fossil, according to the report, is an articulated post-cranial skeleton (everything but the skull) and sits at just 47.5 millimeters long. They settled on Xiaophis myanmarensis, where "Xiao" is the Chinese word for "dawn", "ophis" the Greek word for "snake", and "myanmarensis" for the place of its discovery, Myanmar.

Light photographs of probable snake shed skin: (A) overall view of the complete specimen; scale bar - 5 mm; (B) close-up of the left portion of the specimen showing converging scale rows (center top); scale bar - 1 mm; (C) close-up of the right mid-region of the specimen; scale bar - 1 mm. "And having this one be almost a hundred million (years) old is really quite fantastic", said coauthor Michael Caldwell, a fossil reptile expert at the University of Alberta, according to National Geographic.

Study co-author Dr. Lida Xing is a paleontologist from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing.

But in an interesting twist of fate, it was encased in resin and found by humans 99 million years later in Myanmar.

An X-ray of the baby snake.

The discovery is very important as it offers us more information about snakes. A few months late he was contacted by another dealer and what was believed to be the fossil of a centipede proved to be the baby snake.

If you were to travel back in time about 100 million years you'd see a whole lot of things that you can't see today.

"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 Professor Caldwell.

The pieces of amber also revise our understanding of the global distribution of snakes by the early Late Cretaceous. Previously snake fossils have only been found in desserts.

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