Ancient snakes in India fed on baby dinosaurs, study says
A 67-million-year-old fossil of a gigantic snake coiled around dinosaur eggs found in western India has led scientists to conclude the ancient snakes a fed on dinosaur hatchlings, news reports said Wednesday, dpa reported.
The study published in the journal Plos One said the fossil found in Dholi Dungri village in Gujarat state had helped an international team of palaeontologists to confirm the unusual feeding behaviour of the 3.5-metre-long prehistoric snake, Times of India newspaper reported.
The team of scientists said the near complete remains of the snake were found preserved in the nest of a sauropod dinosaur. Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals to ever inhabit earth, with some species weighing as much 100 tons.
"The snake was coiled around a recently hatched egg adjacent to a hatchling sauropod," the article said. "Other snake-egg associations at the same site suggest that the new snake frequented nesting grounds and preyed on hatchling sauropods."
The scientists have named the snake from the Late Cretaceous period the Sanajeh Indicus.
The group of scientists who authored the article, which was published Tuesday, was led by Dhananjay M Mohabey of the Geological Survey of India, and the University of Michigan's Jeff Wilson.
Mohabey found the fossil in 1987 and Wilson first examined it in 2001.