Name: Sanajeh ‭(‬Ancient gape‭)‬.
Phonetic: San-aj-eh.
Named By: Jeffrey A.‭ ‬Wilson,‭ ‬Dhananjay M.‭ ‬Mohabey,‭ ‬Shanan E.‭ ‬Peters‭ & ‬Jason J.‭ ‬Head‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.‭
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Squamata,‭ ‬Serpentes,‭ ‬Madtsoiidae.
Species: S.‭ ‬indicus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull,‭ ‬9.5‭ ‬centimetres long,‭ ‬total length‭ ‬3.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: India,‭ ‬Gujurat‭ ‬-‭ ‬Lameta Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete skull,‭ ‬jaws and‭ ‬72‭ ‬vertebrae,‭ ‬in a total of five articulated sections.

       A late Cretaceous era snake of the Indian subcontinent,‭ ‬the discovery of Sanajeh has revealed a little bit more about Mesozoic ecosystems.‭ ‬The holotype specimen of Sanajeh was found not only alongside several sauropod eggs,‭ ‬but also the remains of a hatchling sauropod,‭ ‬probably a titanosaur of about fifty centimetres length.‭ ‬It is believed that the individual Sanajeh was raiding a nest of eggs to try and take a hatchling dinosaur,‭ ‬something that would have been a relatively easy meal for a large three and half meters long snake.
       ‬Like many other primitive snakes however as well as some of its relatives‭ (‬such as Wonambi which lived much later‭)‬,‭ ‬Sanajeh did not have a very wide gape like modern varieties such as pythons and boas do.‭ ‬This is probably why Sanajeh was raiding the nest,‭ ‬not just because the hatchling was virtually helpless,‭ ‬but because it was of a size that could pass through its mouth.‭ ‬The fast growth of sauropods documented in other finds however,‭ ‬indicates that hatchlings were likely only in danger for the first few months of their lives,‭ ‬and would soon grow to a size that even a large snake like Sanajeh could not attempt to eat.
       Possible candidates for the laying of the eggs include Titanosaurus,‭ ‬Jainosaurus and Isisaurus,‭ ‬all titanosaurs known from the Lameta Formation,‭ ‬though a so far unknown genus may have still laid them.‭ ‬There is also no reason to assume that Sanajeh only raided sauropod/titanosaur nests,‭ ‬as it could have also targeted other kinds of dinosaurs such as theropods like the abelisaurid Rajasaurus amongst others.‭ ‬It is also quite possible that Sanajeh hunted for small animals such as lizards or even primitive mammals,‭ ‬though this is so far only speculation.

       Another genus of madtsoiid snake that was named in‭ ‬2010‭ ‬is Menarana,‭ ‬a Madagascan relative of Sanejah that might have burrowed into the ground.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Predation upon Hatchling Dinosaurs by a New Snake from the Late Cretaceous of India,‭ ‬Jeffrey A.‭ ‬Wilson,‭ ‬Dhananjay M.‭ ‬Mohabey,‭ ‬Shanan E.‭ ‬Peters‭ & ‬Jason J.‭ ‬Head‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.


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