Scientists have uncovered a fascinating dinosaur snake discovery in Argentina. The remains of this prehistoric serpent are estimated to be approximately 70 million years old and reveal new insights into the evolution and diversity of snakes.
The fossilized skeletal remains were found in the Patagonian region of Argentina, a location well-known for its rich deposits of dinosaur fossils. The discoverers named the giant snake species as ‘Najash rionegrina’, after the biblical snake ‘Najash’, which means serpent in Hebrew, and the Rio Negro, the locality where the fossils were found.
The first discovery of this dinosaur snake was made by Fernando Garberoglio, a paleontologist at the Fundación Azara in Argentina, who noticed a long and slender vertebra during an excavation. Further digging revealed the complete fossilized remains of the snake’s body, making it one of the most prominent dinosaur-era snake specimens ever found.
The discovery of Najash rionegrina is remarkable because it’s one of the oldest-known snakes with a complete skull. The snake also had features similar to that of lizards, revealing an evolutionary link between snakes and lizards.
Surprisingly, this dinosaur snake had hind legs that were more developed than its front ones. While snakes are famed for not having legs, this new discovery adds another layer of complexity to our understanding of snake evolution.
Scientists believe that the legged snake, a trait that has long been extinct, may have helped Najash rionegrina move around on land, climb, or even swim. This theory is because the specimens were found in ancient floodplains deposits, and the snake’s hind legs were positioned downwards in a natural, sprawling position.
The discovery of this ancient snake is not just about its unique body structure. It also reveals insights into the ecological history of Patagonia 70 million years ago. The Patagonia region was once home to a diverse array of dinosaurs and snakes that are long extinct today. The discovery of Najash rionegrina also adds to our understanding of the biodiversity that existed in this region.
This discovery also shows how important scientific research on fossils can be in shedding new light on the history of the world. As scientists continue to explore and analyze the fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, we can hope to learn much more about life on earth millions of years ago. As some have said, fossils are a time machine, and discoveries like Najash rionegrina showcase how exciting and illuminating that time machine can be.