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Menarana nosymenaFossil, Madtsoiid Snake
Dr. Thomas C. LaDuke - East Stroudsburg University
D.W. Krause, J.D. Scanlon and N.J. Kley
Menarana nosymena
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Université d’Antananarivo (UA 9684), holotype

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Publication Date: 18 Feb 2010


The imagery on this page is the basis for a paper entitled A Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) snake assemblage from the Maevarano Formation, Mahajanga Basin, Madagascar, by T.C. Laduke, D.W. Krause, J.D. Scanlon and N.J. Kley (2010, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30:109-138). The abstract is as follows:

       A Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) assemblage of snakes from the Maevarano Formation of the        Mahajanga Basin, northwestern Madagascar, constitutes the only fossil record of snakes from the        island. The assemblage, which lived in a highly seasonal, semi-arid climate, includes only archaic forms        belonging to the Madtsoiidae and Nigerophiidae, and therefore no representatives of extant Malagasy        clades. A large sample of exquisitely preserved vertebrae and several ribs are assigned to Madtsoia        madagascariensis, a long (almost 8 m), heavy-bodied ambush predator inferred to have subdued its        prey via constriction. A new madtsoiid genus and species, Menarana nosymena, is represented by        several associated vertebrae and rib fragments, and part of the basicranium. It was approximately 2.4        m long and appears to have been a powerful, headfirst burrower, or at least to have had a burrowing        ancestry. Kelyophis hechti, by far the smallest snake in the assemblage (<1 m long), is a new genus and        species of primitive nigerophiid based on six isolated vertebral specimens. It was not as specialized for        the aquatic lifestyle inferred for other nigerophiids. Although recent molecular phylogeographic        studies suggest an early colonization of Madagascar by snakes ancestral to modern Malagasy boids,        with subsequent vicariant evolution, the Maevarano Formation assemblage offers no support for this        hypothesis. The repeated pattern of extinct archaic lineages being replaced on Madagascar by basal        stocks of extant clades (e.g., Anura, Crocodyliformes, Avialae, Mammalia) after the Late Cretaceous is        also a plausible scenario for the origin of the extant Malagasy snake fauna.

About the Species

This specimen, the holotype, was collected from MAD93-14, Berivotra Study Area, Mahajanga Basin, northwestern Madagascar. It was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. David Krause of Stony Brook University. Funding for scanning was provided by an NSF grant (EAR-0446488) to Dr. Krause.

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 7 October 2008 along the coronal axis for 960 slices. Each 1024x1024 pixel slice is 0.02024 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.02024 mm and a field of reconstruction of 19 mm.

About the


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Menarana nosymena

To cite this page: Dr. Thomas C. LaDuke, D.W. Krause, J.D. Scanlon and N.J. Kley, 2010, "Menarana nosymena" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed October 31, 2014 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Menarana_nosymena/.

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