Fossils of Snake Eating Dino Eggs Found

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BANGKOK (AP) – The fossilized remains of a 67-million-year-old snake found coiled around a dinosaur egg offer a rare insight into the ancient reptile's dining habits and evolution, scientists said Tuesday.The findings, which appeared in Tuesday's issue of the PLoS Biology journal, provide the first evidence that the 3.5-meter-long snake fed on eggs and hatchlings of saurapod dinosaurs, meaning it was one of the few predators to prey on the long-necked herbivores.They also suggest that, as early as 100 million years ago, snakes were developing mobile jaws similar to those of today's large-mouthed snakes, including vipers and boas."This is an early, well preserved snake, and it is doing something. We are capturing its behavior," said University of Michigan paleontologist Jeff Wilson, who is credited with recognizing the snake bones amid the crushed dinosaur eggs and bones of hatchlings."We have information about what this early snake did for a living," he said. "It also helps us understand the early evolution of snakes both anatomically and ecologically."Dhananjay Mohabey of India's Geological Survey discovered the fossilized remains in 1987, but he was only able to make out the dinosaur eggshells and limb bones. Wilson examined the fossils in 2001 and was "astonished" to find a predator in the midst of the sauropod's nest."I saw the characteristic vertebral locking mechanism of snakes alongside dinosaur eggshell and larger bones, and I knew it was an extraordinary specimen," Wilson said. …