Menu

Image of the Day: Snakes Alive

Scientists have found the 99-million-year-old remains of a baby snake.

Jul 19, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

ABOVE: Overview of skeletal remains from a Xiaophis myanmarensis hatchling trapped in Burmese amber
MING BAI, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (CAS)

Researchers have found the remains of two new snakes, one of which is the oldest-known fossil of a neonate, caught in Burmese amber from the Late Cretaceous epoch going back 100 million years, according to research published in Science Advances yesterday (July 18). They identified the baby snake as Xiaophis myanmarensis, while the second specimen, remained difficult to classify. 

Photograph of snake vertebrae and ribs 
LIDA XING, CHINA UNIVERSITY OF GEOSCIENCES BEIJING (CUGB)

This is the first time snakes that lived in a jungle environment have been discovered from the Mesozoic period, which stretches back to 250 million years ago. The researchers used dating methods to determine that the two fossilized snakes are 99 million years old. The anatomy of the X. myanmarensis backbone matched that of living baby snakes, showing that snake vertebrae have changed little over millions of years. 

L. Xing et al., “A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar,” Sci Adv, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat5042, 2018.

Correction (July 19): We erroneously captioned the image of the snake vertebrae and ribs as a microphotograph. The image is a photograph. The Scientist regrets the error.  

July 2019

On Target

Researchers strive to make individualized medicine a reality

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 Software
DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 Software
DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 today, which includes a broad range of improvements in for analysis of DNA, RNA and protein sequence data, as well as new advancements for predicting and analyzing protein structures. 
Arbor Biosciences Partners with Curio Genomics for Analysis of IWGSC Wheat Exome
Arbor Biosciences Partners with Curio Genomics for Analysis of IWGSC Wheat Exome
Arbor Biosciences, a division of Chiral Technologies, Inc and worldwide leader in next generation sequencing (NGS) target enrichment, announces a partnership with Curio Genomics for bioinformatics analysis of the wheat genome.
IDT and Washington University join forces to increase access to the latest NGS technologies
IDT and Washington University join forces to increase access to the latest NGS technologies
As part of its commitment to advocate for the genomics age, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) aims to lower the barriers to access the latest NGS technologies.
Bio-Rad Launches Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex Multiplex Assay, a targeted tool for researching signaling networks in Immunotherapy Research
Bio-Rad Launches Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex Multiplex Assay, a targeted tool for researching signaling networks in Immunotherapy Research
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) July 15, 2019 announced the launch of its Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex, a multiplex immunoassay that offers a targeted approach for Immunotherapy Research.