Finding a 42-foot-long snake (fossil)

 Images Titanoboa-Model-Photo-Shoot-3 In 2009, I posted that paleontologists found the fossilized remains of the world's largest snake, a 42-foot-long relative of the boa constrictor. Paleontologists from the University of Toronto dubbed the species Titanoboa cerrejonensis for the Cerrejón region of northern Colombia where they found the remains. The snake snacked on crocodiles. As part of a new Smithsonian documentary "Titanoboa: Monster Snake," sculptor Kevin Hockley built a life-size replica of the beast. Smithsonian has a preview of the documentary along with a feature article about the discovery of the snake. From Smithsonian:
 Images Titanoboa-Eating-An-Alligator-1 The (Cerrejón) river basin held turtles with shells twice the size of manhole covers and crocodile kin—at least three different species—more than a dozen feet long. And there were seven-foot-long lungfish, two to three times the size of their modern Amazon cousins.

The lord of this jungle was a truly spectacular creature—a snake more than 40 feet long and weighing more than a ton. This giant serpent looked something like a modern-day boa constrictor, but behaved more like today’s water-dwelling anaconda. It was a swamp denizen and a fearsome predator, able to eat any animal that caught its eye. The thickest part of its body would be nearly as high as a man’s waist. Scientists call it Titanoboa cerrejonensis.

It was the largest snake ever, and if its astounding size alone wasn’t enough to dazzle the most sunburned fossil hunter, the fact of its existence may have implications for understanding the history of life on earth and possibly even for anticipating the future.

"How Titanoboa, the 40-Foot-Long Snake, Was Found"

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  1. Random, but pleasing,  facts:

    These kind of snakes are known as “boids”.
    Boa constrictor appears to be the only living creature which has the same common name and scientific (“latin”) name.
    Titanoboa is as long as seven Kevin Bacons glued together.

    1. Boa constrictor appears to be the only living creature which has the same common name and scientific (“latin”) name.

      Not so! Lots of things get called by the scientific name: gorilla, bison, alligator, danio, mantis, chrysanthemum, amoeba. If you insist on the full species name it’s not common, but still happens with some plants like aloe vera, and then it’s hard to even think of extinct cases beyond tyrannosaurus rex.

    2. Boa constrictor appears to be the only living creature which has the same common name and scientific (“latin”) name.

      I’m pretty sure that boas have a common name in the local language.

      1. I’m pretty sure that boas have a common name in the local language.

        I thought that WAS the local language… don’t most boas live in Latin America?

    3. ‘boids’ meaning ‘like a boa,’ I presume. Though it gives me visions of huge schools of the things flying through the air.

      1. Yes. 

        “The Lord spaketh unto the entertainers ‘thine 6th night fare must sucketh’.  And so it was.” – Somewhere in the bible.

    1. Snakes basically shit hairballs. I’m not sure what a snake that lives on crocodiles would extrude.

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