A fossil unearthed from a remote corner of western India reads like an ancient crime scene. The fossil depicts a dinosaur nest containing two unhatched dinosaur eggs and the broken pieces of shell from a third egg. Next to the shattered shell lies the remains of a hatchling dinosaur. The fossil also features the remnants of a rather more sinister creature: an ancient snake lies coiled around the broken egg, as if caught in the act of raiding the nest.
The fossil, originally discovered in 1984, is described by Jeffrey Wilson from the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology and his colleagues in a paper published in the journal PLoS Biology.
The first task Jeffrey Wilson and his team tackled was identifying the creatures at the scene of the crime. The snake was deemed to be new to science—unique enough to require the creation of a new genus and species: Sanajeh indicus. The would-be victim, the hatchling dinosaur, was identified as belonging to a group of dinosaurs known as the titanosaur sauropods. This dino group included some of the largest land vertebrates ever to have lived: Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus.
Find out more: Ancient Snake Dined on Dinos