Newly discovered fossils provide novel insights on the biology of the South American Miocene snake Colombophis Hoffstetter & Rage, 1977

Andrés ALFONSO-ROJAS, Rubén Dario VANEGAS, Elizabeth MARIÑO-MOREJÓN & Edwin-Alberto CADENA

en Geodiversitas 45 (13) - Pages 377-399

Published on 13 July 2023

This article is a part of the thematic issue Neotropical palaeontology: the Miocene La Venta biome

Colombophis Hoffstetter & Rage, 1977 was an alethinophidian snake that inhabited South America from Middle to Late Miocene. Since its discovery, its position within the phylogenetic tree of snakes has been controversial, due the fact that it is a taxon based solely on postcranial elements. Here, we describe several fossils, potentially representing 50 individuals belonging to this genus, which were discovered in La Tatacoa desert, Colombia. Furthermore, we report for the first time the presence of parazygantral foramina in Colombophis vertebrae, which are similar to those observed on madtsoiids. Although most of the fossils described herein are fragmentary, they support the placement of this snake among the alethinophidians. Additionally, considering the vertebrae size, we suggest a potential non-fossorial lifestyle.


Snakes, Colombophis, Miocene, Tatacoa, South America, Anilioidea

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