The world’s oldest python fossil was discovered

The remains of a python have been found near ancient lakes, helping researchers figure out where the animals came from. It was not immediately clear whether the pythons came from the southern hemisphere (where they live today) or from the northern hemisphere, where their closest living relatives (the Southeast Asian snake and the Mexican python) live. A newly discovered species of python called Meselopython freyi indicates that this type of snake evolved in Europe.

One of the participants in this research named Christer Smith“By email to LiveScience,” said the paleontologist at the Schبرnenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany.

So far, no early fossils have been discovered that could help decide which python originated in the northern and southern hemispheres. Our new discovery is the oldest python-related fossil, and its presence in Europe confirms the origin of this species from the Northern Hemisphere.

oldest python fossil

M. freyi, along with a number of other fossils, was found in the Mesel Fossil Pit near Frankfurt, Germany. The site, formerly an oil shale mine, almost became a dumpster in the 1970s. Smith says:

A large hole in the ground is a valuable asset. The site was once known for its remarkable fossils from the Eocene period (57 million to 36 million years ago) and was registered with UNESCO in 1995. Newly discovered fossils include pregnant mares, paired turtles and shiny beetles.

Researchers say M. freyi was about the same size as today’s small python, reaching about 3.2 feet (one meter) long and weighing about 275 nuts. The ancient python also clarifies its relationship with a variety of boa constrictors.

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This discovery shows that the early European python lived alongside the boa constrictors; Surprising findings given that modern boas do not live anywhere near pythons. In general, boas live in South and Central America, Madagascar, and the North Ocean; While pythons live in Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia. Hesam Zahir“This is one of the most interesting aspects of the discovery of Messelopython,” says a professor and curator of vertebrates at the Museum of Zoology at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

oldest python fossil

Researchers already knew that boa constrictors lived in Europe during the early Paleogene period, from 66 to 23 million years ago. Appearance in an email to Live Science says:

Now that it is clear that pythons also live there, the question arises as to how these “direct environmental rivals” who coexist and coexist... This question may be answered by finding early python and boa fossils, especially those whose stomach contents have been preserved. In addition, researchers can look to South Florida; Where pythons and boas coexist as invasive species. It is not yet clear whether Florida-dwelling pythons and boa constrictors compete for resources or their micro-habitats and prey are slightly different. A similar situation may have occurred in Europe during the Eocene.

اYen study Wednesday (December 16) in the journal Biology Letters Released. The original article was published in Live Science.

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