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Temporal range: Eocene
Palaeophis toliapicus.jpg
Articulated vertebrae of P. toliapicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Infraorder: Booidea
Superfamily: Alethinophidia
Family: Palaeophiidae
Subfamily: Palaeopheinae
Genus: Palaeophis
Owen, 1841
  • P. casei
  • P. colossaeus
  • P. ferganicus
  • P. grandis
  • P. littoralis
  • P. maghrebianus
  • P. nessovi
  • P. tamdy
  • P. toliapicus
  • P. udovickenkoi
  • P. virginianus

Palaeophis ('ancient snake') is an extinct genus of marine snake whose fossils have been found in England, France, Denmark,[1] Morocco[2] and Mali,[3] dating back to the late Paleocene and Eocene epochs. The species P. colossaeus, known from a single vertebra, was originally estimated to exceed 9 m (30 ft) in length,[3] making it one of the largest known snakes, however most species of the genus were not as big (e.g. P. casei).[4][5]


  1. ^ Kristensen, H. V.; Cuny, G.; Rasmussen, A. R.; Madsen, H (2012). "Earliest record of the fossil snake Palaeophis from the Paleocene/Eocene boundary in Denmark". Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 183 (6): 621–625. doi:10.2113/gssgfbull.183.6.621. 
  2. ^ Houssaye, A.; Rage, J.-C., Bardet, N., Vincent, P., Amaghzaz, M., Meslouh, S. (2013). "New highlights about the enigmatic marine snake Palaeophis maghrebianus (Palaeophiidae; Palaeophiinae) from the Ypresian (Lower Eocene) phosphates of Morocco". Palaeontology 56 (3): 447–651. doi:10.1111/pala.12008. 
  3. ^ a b Rage, J.-C. (1983). "Palaeophis colossaeus nov. sp. (le plus grand Seprent connu?) de l’Eocène du Mali et le problème du genre chez les Palaeopheinae". Comptes Rendu de l’Academie des Sciences, Paris 3 (296): 1741–1744. 
  4. ^ Holman, J. Alan 1982. Palaeophis casei, new species, a tiny palaeophid snake from the early Eocene of Mississippi. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 2, (2), 163-166. [1]
  5. ^ Rage, Jean-Claude et al. (2003). "Early Eocene snakes from Kutch, Western India, with a review of the Palaeophiidae". Geodiversitas (India: Editions scientifiques du Muséum, Paris, FRANCE) 25 (4): 695–716. ISSN 1280-9659. Retrieved 12 May 2010.