Fossils found of 42-foot-long snake

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38 Responses to “Fossils found of 42-foot-long snake”

  1. seijihyouronka says:

    Alleging that people who know people who like snakes have a conflict of interest was suposta be silly … ( ._.)

  2. Gilbert Wham says:

    Feh. Snakes my eye. Those’re Graboids, and you’d better all watch out…

  3. seijihyouronka says:

    Might we say that this is evidence of … snakes on a wane?

  4. Ugly Canuck says:

    Aaah, Prester, last time we passed a “tipping point”, the Ice Age came.
    No predicting what could happen if you keep burning oil/coal: that uncertainty itself is included, in a very high potential future price for very little present gains: for the convenience of a quickly-passing (as all are) generation, of moving around faster than otherwise.
    Opposing changes to reduce the risk is not conservatism , not by a large shot.

  5. Beanolini says:

    The same snake was covered here previously.

    A scientist on Radio 4 news last night suggested that it may have fed on crocodiles/alligators. Current-day snakes appear to have some trouble doing this (warning: slightly gruesome).

  6. presterjohn says:

    We must use the “Lost” technology to go back in time and prevent the Earth from being warm enough to engender these super snakes.

    Failure to do so would lead to be it being all Venusy now, due to the tipping point!

  7. dculberson says:

    There are snakes up to 25 feet long right now, so it hardly seems like a stretch…

  8. GatoRanch says:

    More info, pics, and video:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7868588.stm

    And for the person wondering what these snakes ate:

    “What its prey was exactly, we don’t know. But it probably included alligators, big fish or crocodiles.”

  9. skatanic says:

    “The maximum body size that a snake species can reach is related to the average annual temperature of the environment in which it lives.”
    Great, something else caused by global warming to look forward to.

  10. travelina says:

    @Seijhyouronka: snakes on a wane– I just got that!

    @Joncro: it ate primitive crocodiles, says National Geographic News, which also provides a timely roundup of megafauna, including a sea scorpion bigger than a man and a shark 30 times heavier than a great white:
    http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2009/02/biggest-animals-of-all-time.html

  11. Chrs says:

    If anyone’s interested in extinct big snakes, I’d suggest Darren Naish’s blog. He’s gone through some of the literature on them.

    The knee-jerk skepticism in this case is due to the large size of the animal; there are serious difficulties in projecting the size of extremely large animals based on existing species. In this case, I’m just going to say that it’s probably because it’s hard to tell just how chunky these things were, and length gets hard to guess.

  12. 5alo says:

    The snake is, incidentally, 13 metres long, as this rather essential information had been left out of the story.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How old are the fossils?

  14. joncro says:

    what did it eat??

  15. Phikus says:

    I’ll bet some of the people having a hard time er… digesting that snakes were this large are also the ones who have no problem at all believing a snake talked to the first couple of humans. -Just sayin’.

    Perhaps the Lizard King knew what he was talking about in The End…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Snakes on the sun must be huge

  17. ordodk says:

    42 feet? That’s gotta be the high score!

  18. Takuan says:

    I thought megafauna back then may have enjoyed a higher oxygen content in the atmosphere as well too. Leastways, that’s how I remember it.

    Easy to believe, 42 feet long, waist high, not a lot bigger than the biggest croc on record these days (GustafF? can’t remember exactly). It would only have to eat twice a year and spend the rest of the time lying around farting.

  19. technogeek says:

    Answer 1: “Anything it wanted to.”

    Answer 2: “A lot, presumably.”

    Answer 3: “Given how much it probably had to eat, I suspect it ate anything that came within reach.”

    Then again, elephants seem to be able to keep themselves fed, and this thing’s presumably only a few elephants in mass…

  20. Anonymous says:

    OK, here’s your message on global warming then: warmer weather will give us giant goddamn snakes!

  21. Procrastes says:

    The Titanoboa cerrejonensis was a specialized hunter favoring the ferocious and wily sabre-toothed pinky.

  22. MameDennis says:

    I saw that movie, and there wasn’t nearly enough Feedback in it.

    (I can’t be the only person who suffered through Mega Snake, right?)

  23. Brainspore says:

    @ Joncro #1:

    Hamsters the size of small ponies.

  24. Phikus says:

    Takuan: Yeah, but when those were first discovered, a lot of people also said: “What a croc!”

  25. seijihyouronka says:

    I’ve heard that some students at the University of Toronto are fans of snakes; I find that in light of this potential conflict of interest we should exercise more skepticism not only of whether this was a snake, but also whether its measurement of 42-feet is a distortion of the facts to garner more mainstream media attention and win the favor of the public.

  26. Takuan says:

    Ow! (you must die for that – but with honour)

  27. Mindpowered says:

    I think, rather than use an unsubstantiated rumour, and use that to cast aspersion on the validity of the conclusion, we should accept that this has been substantiated by long hard peer reviewed process.

    “In total, scientists discovered 180 vertebrae and ribs that represent the 28 individual snakes. Of the 28 snakes, scientists found one or two vertebrae for some and 50 to 60 for others.”

  28. urshrew says:

    @seijihyouronka

    I didn’t want that to come across as a personal attack. It was just an opportunity to ask a good question that’s been sitting on my mind. Although, I can see the point you are making now.

  29. urshrew says:

    Whats with the new knee-jerk reaction to scientific news? First off, if you consider that giant lizards, mammals and insects (giant by today’s standards) roamed the earth not too long ago, and some very long ago, what’s sensational about a giant snake?

    I flip through various science newsletters when they report a new idea being published that may shift some of our understanding of things, and the responses in the comments literally drip bile and smug. These are not even controversial reports and the reactions are in the realm of “I can’t believe that a reputable paper would ever report this…” as if they publishing a study on UFOs and not research into how DNA is affected by sugar molecules.

  30. IWood says:

    Tasted like megachicken.

  31. The Lizardman says:

    ‘Hmmm, if we warm the global climate enough can we hope to see something like this return or develop anew?’ – and thus the next horrible snake movie for the Sci-Fi channel was written…

  32. pinehead says:

    @9
    That would be because most people have developed the strategy of concealing their ignorance behind a wall of righteous indignation. When a person responds so pessimistically to a reputable and/or uncontroversial report, it’s safe to assume that person doesn’t fully comprehend what’s being said.

  33. gandalf23 says:

    So global warming leads to giant snakes? Sweet! Or not so sweet if you don’t like giant snakes, I guess.

  34. mdh says:

    Fossils like this, discovered before the science of paleontology emerged, couldn’t possibly have spawned fantastic tales of dragons.

  35. Ugly Canuck says:

    Travelina: thanx for the great link. I liked the megarodent…
    IIRC ancient crocs got big too, with some being 40 footers, with six-foot-long skulls…Link:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Sarcosuchus-imperator

  36. Gary61 says:

    Would someone please tell Samuel Jackson to drop a plane on it’s mutha-f*ckin’ ass?

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