Herp enthusiasts grow up hearing such things as “Reptiles and amphibians are older than the dinosaurs…”, but it is hard to imagine what this means – to actually picture creatures that look like modern-day turtles or frogs interacting with dinosaurs. Well, interact they did – a fossil unearthed in Western India depicts a snake about to consume a young dinosaur.
A Prehistoric Nest Raider
The moment was frozen in time by a mudslide some 67 million years ago. Captured in action is an 11.5 foot long snake (Sanjeh indicus) invading a nest and ready to attack a 1.6 foot long Sauropod (a type of plant-eating dinosaur). The fossil is unique in being one of the few known examples of dinosaurs being eaten by any creature other than another dinosaur.
The snake, which resembles those we know today, was wise in choosing an unguarded nest – its intended prey was likely a hatchling Titanosaur, whose mother may have been over 55 feet long!
Well, my mind is exploding with “re-creations”, including a basket-ball sized ancient Horned Frog I read of which was also thought capable of downing a “mere” dinosaur!
Another Shocker: an Egg-Incubating Dinosaur
Fossils are amazing in and of themselves, but those that capture “moments” are my favorites. The most dramatic I’ve seen (many times!) depicts a small dinosaur incubating a clutch of eggs, and is on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.
Please see my article on Titanoboa to learn about a 43-foot-long, 2,500 pound Anaconda ancestor.
You can see a re-creation of the scene described above on the Website of the National Geographic Society.