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Palaeophis maghrebianus (2) - vertebra

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Description

Origin : Morocco (Oued Zem)

Geological era : Eocene (Lutezian)

Age : 47 million of years

Size : cm 1.6 x 1.5 x 1.4


fossil vertebra of boid sea-snake, 2.1 gr, cm 1.6 x 1.5 x 1.4.

The Palaeopheidae is a group of primitive extint snakes that had a significant development in the Early Cenozoic, between the Paleocene and Eocene (60 to 45 million years ago). Its fossil remains, mostly vertebrae, were discovered in several places on the planet: the eastern U.S.A., Kazakhstan, Kirgygistan, Tadzikistan, Ukraine, Morocco, Mali, Italy, Germany and England.
This large snake (could exceed nine feet in length), had to be quite similar to the current boa and pythons. In particular, the vertebrae of paleophid recall much of the boid, which were probably close relatives. It's possibile, however, that this animal was vaguely similar to the current sea snakes, and that the end of the tail was flattened laterally, having developed some adaptations to aquatic life. Some remains of this animal, in fact, have been found in fluvial deposits, while others were found in layers that at the time of fossilization, were in coastal or estuary. Palaeophis, therefore, was a remarkably adaptable predator, living in both freshwater and salt. There are numerous species of fossil snakes ascribed to this genus, many of which are known in fragments. Among the best known, to remember Palaeophis toliapicus, from lower Eocene of England, and P. ferganicus, lived in the same period in large parts of Central Asia. The widespread use of this kind is demonstrated by the finding of Palaeophis in North America. In Mali, was found a gigantic species, P. colossaeus, which could exceed nine feet in length. Remains of paleophis (P. Owen) have been found in Italy. Among the North American species, to remember P. grandis, over 5 meters long, and P. casei, just 1.3 meters long.



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