>> Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Scientists uncovered a fossilized snake the size of a bus recently in Colombia. The snake has been dubbed the titanoboa and was a ridiculous 42 ft (13 m) long! The longest snakes today get to be about 32 ft but are quite thin. This snake was believe to weigh a ton! And I thought the snake I held was heavy... sheesh!
The picture to the left with the vertabrae gives a good idea of how massive these things were. The one on the left comes from an anaconda. The one on the right is the fossil of the super snake.
The snake (given the scientific name Titanoboa cerrejonensis) was found in a coal mine excavation. Scientists working together from the University of Toronto, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and the University of Florida determined the snake for what it was and using the fosilised evidence determined that this jumbo snake lived approximately 58-60 million years ago when this region of Colombia (Cerrejón, hence the species name cerrejonesis) was a flood plain. The mine operation here is enormous and is considered one of the world's largest. In recent years, however, there has ben a pretty decent haul of goods added to the fossil record extracted from this mine.
This recent discovery, however, seems to eclipse them all. The snake has broken all records for snakes found and honestly, I wouldn't want to swim in water where that thing may have lived! I don't mind snakes, but when one can eat me without even trying, time to admire from a distance. 60 million years is a great distance for me! This is about all the snake I can handle. Yes I am still glowing about my snake handling.
The original article was published in Nature.