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Predation upon Hatchling Dinosaurs by a New Snake from the Late Cretaceous of India

Figure 1

Fossil snake preserved within a sauropod dinosaur nesting ground.

Photograph of blocks collected at Dholi Dungri, India preserving the snake Sanajeh indicus, n. gen. n. sp., in association with a partial clutch of three titanosaur eggs (oogenus Megaloolithus) and a titanosaur hatchling (GSI/GC/2901–2906). Beginning from the center of the lower portion of the photograph, the articulated skeleton of Sanajeh is coiled in a clockwise fashion around a crushed Megaloolithus egg (egg 3, at the junction of three blocks), with its skull resting on the topmost loop of the coil. The uncrushed Megaloolithus egg (egg 1) at right pertains to the same clutch, which would have contained six to 12 eggs. A second uncrushed Megaloolithus egg (egg 2) from the same clutch is still at the site. At lower right are the front quarters of a titanosaur hatchling, including elements of the thorax, shoulder girdle, and forelimb preserved in anatomical articulation. The titanosaur hatchling was approximately 0.5 m long, or one-seventh the length of Sanajeh (3.5 m long). No other sauropod bones were found at the site. Please see Figure 2 for interpretive map of specimen. Scale bar equals 5 cm.

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000322.g001