Ever baby snake fossil discovered beautifully encased in amber

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In Myanmar found a perfectly preserved baby snake in a piece of amber, which is 99 million years. The second fossil only consists of skin and scale fragments, but are still distinctly snake-like, its discoverers report.

"This is the very first baby snake fossil that we have ever found", Prof Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta in Canada told BBC News.

According to Newsweek, the snake fossil and the bug remains found alongside it were extensively studied through multiple analysis methods, including CT scans, X-rays, microscopes and even particle accelerator technology. The specimens were obtained from an amber deposit in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, and date back to the early Late Cretaceous period. The fossil skeleton is missing its skull which leads the researchers to estimate that in total it could not have been more than 8 centimeters.

"We also describe a second amber specimen containing a large fragment of integument, possibly a piece of shed skin, considered here to be a snake and from a much larger animal", the study explained. Scientists called him "the snake of Dawn of Myanmar" (Xiaophis Myanmarensis).

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Another piece of amber, also recovered from mines in Myanmar (Burma), holds a piece of probable snake skin with light and dark banding on its scales, which may have come from an adult Xiaophis or from another contemporary serpentine species.

Remains of the earliest snake hatchling known to science were preserved in amber for almost 100 million years.

"No one has ever seen a fossilized baby snake of any kind whatsoever".

Because of the way normal fossils are created, the little snakes would be crushed and separated in the sedimentary rock. Caldwell stated that the snake was found in a mine that was just opened two or three years ago.

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The study authors explained that the new snake fossils represent "a greater ecological diversity and global distribution of Late Mesozoic snakes, and more specifically, Cretaceous snakes, than was previously understood".

"We need to learn that snakes that were so abundant in the southern hemisphere reached up to the northern hemisphere and this specimen helped us to answer part of that question", Simones said.

Instead, it met a sticky end in a patch of resin that eventually formed the wee snake's amber tomb. Based on its features, the team concluded it shows that many aspects of snake ontogeny have remained virtually unchanged for 100 million years.

Various insects and plants were preserved in the clast, showing the snake lived in a forested environment.

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Dr Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, who is not connected with the research team, said the find gives "invaluable developmental and evolutionary data on ancient snakes".

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