The Messel Pit is a 48-million-year-old fossil locality, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site by virtue of the extraordinary preservation of its fossils. Still, this 1-meter fossil snake collected by the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung is breathtaking even by the high standards of Messel. It is a juvenile specimen of a kind of extinct boa, where even some of the scales are preserved. Shortly before it died, it had swallowed an extinct lizard called a basilisk. The lizard, in turn, had swallowed an insect shortly before it was captured by the snake. All three can be seen - can you find them?


  • Title: Fossil boa
  • Location: Messel pit, Hesse, Germany
  • Type: original
  • Rights: Sven Tränkner Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
  • size: 23 cm x 15 cm
  • scientific name: <i>Palaeopython fischeri<i>
  • geological Age: Middle Eocene
  • age: 48 mil. years

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