Scientists have found a 67 million-year-old fossil of a snake coiled around dinosaur eggs and a hatchling. This is the first evidence of snakes eating dinosaurs.
“It’s a stunning, once-in-a-lifetime find,” said paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the study. “We’ve caught one of the rarest moments in the fossil record, which is prey and predator, together.”
Geologist Dhanajay Mohabey of the Indian Geological Survey first unearthed the fossil 26 years ago in a rocky, limestone outcropping in the northwestern Indian village of Dholi Dungri. He thought all the bones at the site were those of dinosaur hatchlings.
But in 2001, University of Michigan paleontologist Jeff Wilson, took a second look at the fossils. The team then recognized they had actually found a snake coiled around a broken egg, with a hatchling and two other eggs nearby. The findings appeared Mar. 1 in Public Library of Science Biology.
The newly discovered species of snake, Sanajeh indicus, measures about 11.5 feet long. The hatchlings, part of a group called titanosaurs, measured about a foot and a half long. Titanosaurs were the largest animal to ever walk on land, with adults that could reach up to 100 feet long.