An ancient baby snake preserved in amber


A tiny fossil reveals a new environment for Cretaceous snakes.


The skeletal remains of a Xiaophis myanmarensis snake hatchling trapped in Burmese amber.
The skeletal remains of a Xiaophis myanmarensis snake hatchling trapped in Burmese amber.
Ming Bai, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Scientists have discovered the oldest known baby fossilized snake in Late Cretaceous amber found in Myanmar. It was one of the first Mesozoic snakes to have lived in a forested environment, a habitat in which snake fossils have not been recovered before.

The snake shown above belongs to the species Xiaophis myanmarensis. Uranium-lead dating of zircons from the volcano-derived amber material that encased the fossil suggests it is around 99 million years old.

The research is published in Science Advances.


  1. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/7/eaat5042
  2. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/7/eaat5042
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