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Researchers discover new snake species at Gray Fossil Site
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GRAY, Tenn. (AP) — A new species of an ancient snake has been discovered at the Gray Fossil Site.
The Johnson City Press reports (http://bit.ly/2rI87UO) the 5-million-year-old snake called Zilantophis schuberti was named after the Gray Fossil Site Executive Director Blaine Schubert. Zilantophis schuberti roughly translates to "Schubert's Winged Serpent."
Steven Jasinski, lead author of the study, says after looking at the serpent they felt confident it represented a new species. He says what makes the Zilantrophis different is that its vertebrae have pronounced projections toward the front of its body.
Jasinski says the Zilantophis could've evolved in a small area and went extinct when the area changed or when another animal out-competed it.