Meet Titanoboa, 45-Foot Snake

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 11:32 AM CST
A photo released by Nature magazine shows a Precloacal vertebra of an adult Green Anaconda, lighter colored vertebra dwarfed by a vertebra of the giant snake they named Titanoboa cerrejonensis.   (University of Florida)
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(Newser) – A 45-foot, 1.25-ton snake stalked the jungles of South America in the period shortly after dinosaurs went extinct, the Times of London reports. Researchers have found 28 individual “Titanoboas” in Colombia’s Cerrejon Coal Mine; with every specimen at least 40 feet long, scientists say it’s likely some of the snakes could’ve reached much larger sizes.

The Titanoboa was the largest land-based predator for 10 million years, and, coming after the dinosaurs, it was likely the top predator of its time. The researchers have used the snakes—which are cold-blooded like their contemporary relatives—to gain information about the jungle’s climate 60 million years ago. They found that the prehistoric jungle was about 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is now.

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