Scientists have, for the first time, reported sighting the fossil of a madtsoiidae snake in the molasse deposits of Ladakh Himalaya, indicating they lived in the subcontinent much longer than previously thought.
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Madtsoiidae is an extinct group of medium-sized to gigantic snakes, which first appeared during the late-Cretaceous and were mostly distributed in the Gondwanan landmasses. However, their Cenozoic record is extremely scarce. The whole group disappeared in the mid-Paleogene across most Gondwanan continents, except Australia, where it survived with its last known taxon, Wonambi, till late-Pleistocene.
Dr Ningthoujam Premjit Singh, Dr Ramesh Kumar Sehgal, and Abhishek Pratap Singh from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, in association with Dr Rajeev Patnaik and Wasim Abass Wazir from Panjab University Chandigarh; Dr Navin Kumar and Piyush Uniyal from Indian Institute of Technology Ropar; and Dr Andrej Čerňanský of Comenius University Slovakia have reporteda madtsoiidae snake from the late-Oligocene (part of the Tertiary Period in the Cenozoic Era, 33.7-23.8 million years ago) in the molasse deposits of Ladakh Himalaya.