Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The oldest known Miocene snake fauna from Central Europe: Merkur-North locality, Czech Republic

Martin Ivanov

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47 (3), 2002: 513-534

The Early Miocene Merkur-North locality (MN 3a) represents the oldest known Miocene ophidian locality in Europe east of Germany. The snake assemblage is characterised by high species diversity and includes the following families: Boidae (Bavarioboa sp.), Colubridae (Coluber dolnicensis, Coluber suevicus, Coluber caspioides, cf. Elaphe sp., Natrix merkurensis sp. nov., Natrix sansaniensis), Elapidae (Elapidae gen. et sp. indet.), and Viperidae (Vipera sp.-"Vipera aspis" complex). Fossils of the extinct species, Coluber dolnicensis, Coluber suevicus, and Natrix sansaniensis, represent their earliest known occurrences. The cranial elements of C. suevicus and N. sansaniensis are described for the first time. Discoveries of cf. Elaphe sp. may represent the earliest fossil member of the genus Elaphe. Elapidae gen. et sp. indet. probably represents the oldest known member of the cobras.

Key words: Snakes, Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Viperidae, Early Miocene, Czech Republic

Martin Ivanov [], Department of Geology and Palaeontology, Moravian Museum, Zelný trh 6, 659 37 Brno, Czech Republic.

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