قالب وردپرس درنا توس
Home / Science / Baby Snake fossil found enclosed in amber provides clues to evolution

Baby Snake fossil found enclosed in amber provides clues to evolution



Trilobites

  Nicholas St. Fleur
Image
The skeletal remains of a new prehistoric snake species preserved in amber and found in Myanmar. Credit Ming Bai, Chinese Academy of Sciences

In 2016, Lida Xing scoured the amber markets of Myanmar when a trader lured him to his booth, with what he said was the skin of an amber-enclosed crocodile Dr. Xing inspected the specimen through its honey-colored sheath and noticed the diamond-shaped pattern of its scales. He realized that it was a 99 million year old snake skin .

Dr. Xing, a paleontologist from the Chinese University of Earth Sciences in Beijing, had previously found a feathered dinosaur tail and a juvenile in amber boxes. But he said that of the hundreds of thousands of amber pieces discovered in the area, no one had yet found a snake.

He bought the snake skin and met with Michael Caldwell, a snake paleontologist at the University of Alberta. A few minutes before Dr. Xing made his flight to Canada, another colleague notified him of another, recently discovered snake species that was more astonishing than the first: trapped in a silver dollar amber was a baby snake.

"The fossil is the first baby snake and the oldest still-to-find baby snake," Dr. Xing. Before this finding, paleontologists had not discovered a fossilized baby snake, not even in the fossil record of the rock. Caldwell.

Vertabrae and Ribbing of Baby Snake Preserved in Amber Credit Lida Xing, China University of Geosciences Beijing

The researchers found that the fossilized snake was either an embryo or a newborn based on development from his spinal cord. Like modern baby snakes, the conserved baby had Dr. Caldwell's tiny vertebral bones, but a large spinal cord. This is a telltale sign that the snake is still evolving, as well as the first direct evidence that the developmental processes in the spine of a baby snake were detected at least 100 million years ago and have remained relatively stable since.

Previous Reports on Amber Trapped Fossils


Source link