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Scientists Discover 48-Million-Year-Old Fossil Containing Insect, Lizard, and Snake

Photo by: Krister Smith

As of right now, this 48-million-year-old fossil is one of only two that have ever been found.

According to reports, it appears that scientists at a dig sight in southwest Germany called the Messel Pit have uncovered a 48-million-year-old fossil of three animals that appear to be inside the other.

“It’s probably the kind of fossil that I will go the rest of my professional life without ever encountering again, such is the rarity of these things,” palaeontologist Krister Smith from Germany’s Senckenberg Institute told Michael Greshko at National Geographic.

Smith’s suspicion is that iguana ate the insect, and then a few days later, was eaten by the juvenile snake. They are unsure how the snake died, but it seems it got too close to a deep volcanic lake. This could have caused it to be poisoned or suffocate. Most likely, it somehow died near the lake and was washed in over time.

48-mil-year-old fossil
Photo by: Krister Smith

“To see this kind of trophic scale recorded within the gut of a snake is a very cool thing,” UK palaeontologist Jason Head told National Geographic.

While this latest discovery was especially intriguing due to the layout of the fossils, the Messel Pit has long been notorious for revealing discoveries that make headlines around the world. The pit was previously best known for being the discovery site of the Darwinius masillaefossil, a beetle that was preserved with its iridescence mostly intact.

Agustin Scanferla, one of the people that worked at the site admits that, “We are lucky men to study this kind of specimen.”

A full publication digging deeper into this amazing discoveries has been published in Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments.

If you are interested in finding out more about this fossil, be sure to follow the link and dig in.

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Scientists Discover 48-Million-Year-Old Fossil Containing Insect, Lizard, and Snake