Scientists discovered a rare fossil formation in India that depicts a prehistoric snake attacking a dinosaur hatchling, NPR reported Tuesday.
The fossil is about 67 million years old and gives scientists a glimpse of this particular snake species's (called Sanajeh indicus) behavior. The area in which the fossil was found was a popular place for sauropod dinosaurs, which are a kind of long-necked gargantuan herbivores.
But when these gentle giants are newly hatched, they are the perfect meal for a waiting 12 ft. snake.
Jeffrey Wilson, a professor at the University of Michigan, is credited with the fantastic discovery, said the AP. Scientists have found several sauropod nests near the dig site, and even some with Sanajeh indicus fossils nearby. But never with such an intricate interaction.
"I saw the characteristic vertebral locking mechanism of snakes alongside dinosaur eggshell and larger bones, and I knew it was an extraordinary specimen," Wilson told the AP.
Scientists predict that this snake-dinosaur interaction was preserved in fossil form due to an instantaneous mudslide or volcanic incident, though this fact is not entirely clear.