Snakes are muscle-noodles that have been biting and thriving for at least 140 million years. And while they’ve gone from squirming alongside dinosaurs to living alongside humans on every continent besides Antartica, one thing has essentially remained the same: the snakes themselves. This seemingly time-resistant state of homeostasis is underscored by the recent discovery of ancient snakes preserved in Late Cretaceous amber.
An international team announced Wednesday in the journal Science Advances that they discovered two snakes trapped within the golden fossilized resin — one of which is considered the oldest known fossilized baby snake. This unique and very tiny snake hatchling, the Xiaophis myanmarensis, has anatomy comparable to living snakes despite its estimated 99 million years of age. With 97 vertebrae and rib bones, it’s most similar to the modern-day Asian Pipe snake, a smooth and glossy invertebrate that boasts a powerful jaw.
The snake’s anatomy is evidence that its general body shape has been conserved for a very long time, study co-author and University of Alberta professor Michael Caldwell, Ph.D. explains to Inverse. . .
These fossilized snakes were found in the Southeast nation of Myanmar; but when they were alive and slithering, their home existed within Laurasia, one of the two mega-continents that emerged when Pangea split. The scientists were able to pinpoint the snake’s ancient origins through the use of uranium-lead dating, which revealed that the amber that encased both snakes is around 99 million-years-old.
The amber itself is novel because of its ability to serve as a spyglass into the past. Encapsulated within it are fragments of the insects and plants that lived alongside the snakes, making it a mini time-capsule of the Mesozoic era. (Read more from “Evolutionists Confounded Again: Snakes Unchanged for 100,000,000 Years” HERE)