The researchers of IISc – Bengaluru discover a new species of vine snake from Western Ghats that dates back 26 million years

The researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru have discovered a new vine snake species called Proahaetulla antiqua in Western Ghats . This is an ancient species which is endemic to southern Western Ghats. This is thought to have evolved around 26 million years ago during the mid-Oligocene period. Vine snakes get their names due to their slender bodies and vine-like appearances. These new vine snakes are named after the Latin words ‘antiqua’, meaning ‘old or ancient’. The common name suggested for these individuals is ‘keeled vine snake’. They are found in the protected habitats of the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu and the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, both located in the southern Western Ghats. The discovery not only help the researchers know more about the evolution of vine snakes but also the evolutionary history of the Western Ghats (a landmass older than the Himalayas).

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