Sunday, 21 May 2017

Fossil 'winged serpent' is a new species of ancient snake

Date: May 12, 2017
Source: University of Pennsylvania

An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Pennsylvania paleontologist, is a new species of snake that lived 5 million years ago.

Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn.

The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master's degrees.

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