Snakes ate dinosaurs, according to articles in ScienceDaily, BBC News and PLoS Biology, 2 March 2010.
An international team of scientists has found a fossil snake buried with several dinosaur eggs and a newly hatched baby dinosaur. The snake was about 3.5m (11 ft) and had a mouth large enough to swallow whole the half metre (1ft 9in) dinosaur hatchling. The baby dinosaur was a sauropod Megaloolithus. The snake has been named Sanajeh indicus, meaning “ancient gaped one from India” in Sanskrit.
The researchers interpreted the presence of snake and eggs together as ‘‘ethofossil’’ preservation of feeding behaviour. The snake, eggs, eggshell and hatching must have been rapidly buried to preserve their delicate structure. Shanan Peters, a geologist from of the University of Wisconsin, one of the research team explained: “Sedimentation was unusually rapid and deep for this formation – a pulse of sand, probably mobilized during a storm, resulted in the preservation of this spectacular association.”
Editorial Comment: The researchers’ word “ethofossil” comes from “ethology” – the study of animal behaviour. However, fossils are dead, so it is impossible to study their behaviour. Anyone studying the fossils can just as easily argue the eggs, dinosaur hatchling and snake were all deposited together in the same sediment, after being all swept up by a flood.
Evidence News, 24 March 2010
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