Scientists have discovered a 99-million-year-old baby snake preserved in amber, providing a rare glimpse into the evolution of these reptiles. The fossil, which was found in Myanmar, is the first of its kind to be found in amber and is remarkably well-preserved.
The snake, which is just a few centimeters long, is believed to have lived during the Late Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. The fossil is so well-preserved that scientists can see the snake’s scales, spine, and even its tiny teeth.
The discovery is significant because it sheds light on the evolution of snakes, which are thought to have evolved from lizards around 150 million years ago. The fossil provides evidence that snakes were already well-adapted to their environment by the Late Cretaceous period, and were likely an important part of the ecosystem.
The fossil was discovered by a team of scientists led by Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences in Beijing. The team used high-resolution X-ray imaging to study the fossil, which was encased in a piece of amber the size of a small potato.
The discovery of the baby snake is just the latest in a series of remarkable finds in Myanmar’s amber deposits. In recent years, scientists have discovered a wide range of fossils, including insects, spiders, and even a feathered dinosaur tail.
The amber deposits in Myanmar are particularly rich in fossils because they were formed during a time when the region was covered in dense forests. The resin from these trees would often trap insects and other small animals, preserving them for millions of years.
The discovery of the baby snake is a reminder of the incredible diversity of life that has existed on Earth over the past 100 million years. It also highlights the importance of preserving our planet’s natural resources, so that future generations can continue to learn from these remarkable fossils.