A second amber fossil, which appears to contain part of the shed skin of another much larger creature - but scientists can not determine if it is a snake or a lizard.
The find has offered scientists important insights into the evolution of modern snakes. This is the first discovery of a snake living in a coastal forest of the Mesozoic era, indicating that early snakes lived in a more diversified environment, Xing said.
Oldest Fossil of a Baby Snake Discovered Trapped in Amber Tomb
During the early Late Cretaceous from 100 million to 95 million years ago, snakes roamed all over the world.
The snake fossil is tiny - missing a head and with about 97 bones all up, the minuscule specimen comes out at only 47.5 millimetres (1.9 inches) in length.
A second specimen found in Myanmar by the same team includes a preserved fragment of shed skin.More news: Jose Mourinho reveals back four to start the Prem season
Neither of the snakes is significantly different from species today - the earliest direct evidence so far that the biology of snakes has remained relatively unchanged over the last 100-or-so million years. It's likely related to some modern groups of snakes found in Southeast Asia, including nonvenomous Asian pipe snakes and sunbeam snakes, says study leader and National Geographic Explorer Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences. Caldwell said the snake was discovered in a quarry that was only opened a couple of years ago. The spinal cord was found to form late in the snake's development; when compared to present-day snakes, very little about their spinal bone development has changed.
The snake hatchling's ribs and vertebrae were preserved and are clearly visible. "There is a great deal of new information preserved in this new fossilized baby snake".More news: China's yuan plunges again. Is a currency war coming?
Anatomical features suggest development of the backbone of snakes appears to have changed little in almost 100 million years. The link was established by the remnants of insects and plant material found in association with the snake fossils.
"Even though it is a baby, there are very unique features of the top of the vertebrae that have never been seen before in other fossil snakes of a similar kind", he said. It appears the animals were more widely spread than previously thought, though the researchers caution more specimens are needed before they can determine routes of slithery migration across the Southern Hemisphere supercontinent of Gondwana.More news: Rory hits back at Butch - I'm no robot