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Post Info TOPIC: Unexplained Mysteries - Snake Caught Attacking Dinosaur—First Fossil Proof

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Unexplained Mysteries - Snake Caught Attacking Dinosaur—First Fossil Proof

Entombed at the moment of attack, a fossil serpent and sauropod are the first solid proof that prehistoric snakes ate dinosaurs, a new study says.

Found in India, the well-preserved dinosaur-nest scene boasts several fossils: a nearly complete snake, a newly emerged dinosaur, and two unhatched eggsall apparently part of a spine-tingling tale.

One stormy day 67 million years ago, the 11.5-foot (3.5 meter) snake apparently slithered into the unguarded dinosaur nest. The snake had spotted a 1.6-foot-long (half-meter-long) dinosaur struggling out of its eggshell, scientists speculate.

The snake curled up next to the hatchling and was preparing to attack when heavy rains likely sent mud surging out of a nearby channelsmothering both snake and prey, according to the new study, to be published in this week's issue of the journal PLoS Biology.

First Fossil Evidence of Snakes Eating Dinosaurs

The snake's interrupted meal offers a rare glimpse into the feeding behavior of ancient snakes and the dangers that newborn dinosaurs faced, said study team member Jeffrey Wilson, a University of Michigan paleontologist. "It's actually one of the very few examples that we have of anything other than a dinosaur eating a dinosaur," said Wilson, whose work was funded in part by a grant from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Scientists have long known that some dinosaurs were egg snatchers, and recent fossil evidence suggests mammals also dined on young dinosaurs. (See "Five 'Oddball' Crocs Discovered, Including Dinosaur-Eater.") It's been suspected that snakes too ate dinosaurs, but until now there had been no proof.

"It's a rough life if you're a juicy little dinosaur," Wilson said.




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