Large palaeophiid and nigerophiid snakes from Paleogene Trans-Saharan Seaway deposits of Mali

McCartney, J.A., Roberts, E.M., Tapanila, L., and O'Leary, M.A. (2018) Large palaeophiid and nigerophiid snakes from Paleogene Trans-Saharan Seaway deposits of Mali. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 63 (2). pp. 207-220.

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The Paleogene was a time of high diversity for snakes, and was characterized by some of the largest species known to have existed. Among these snakes were pan-Tethyan marine species of Nigerophiidae and Palaeophiidae. The latter family included the largest sea snake, Palaeophis colossaeus, known from the Trans-Saharan Seaway of Mali during the Eocene. This paper describes new material collected from Malian Trans-Saharan Seaway deposits, including additional material of Palaeophis colossaeus, a new, large species of nigerophiid, Amananulam sanogoi gen. et sp. nov., and a medium-sized snake of indeterminate affinities. The material provides new information on the intracolumnar variation of the vertebral column in Palaeophis colossaeus. We estimate the total length of each species by regression of vertebral measurements on body size. Both Palaeophis colossaeus and Amananulam sanogoi gen. et sp. nov. are the largest or among the largest members of their respective clades. The large size of Tethyan snakes may be indicative of higher temperatures in the tropics than are present today.

Item ID: 54588
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1732-2421
Keywords: Serpentes, body size, Paleogene, Teberemt Formation, Tamaguelelt Formation, Tilemsi Valley, Gao Trench, Mali
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© 2018 J.A. McCartney et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (for details please see, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Leakey Foundation, Saurus Institute, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: NSF-EAR 0622359
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 07:47
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370506 Palaeontology (incl. palynology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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