Navigation Links
World's biggest snake gives climate clues
Date:2/4/2009

TORONTO, ON. Skeletal remains from an enormous snake that would dwarf Hollywood's anacondas have been discovered near the equator, shedding new light on the climate and environment that housed the monstrous reptile 60 million years ago.

"This colossal, boa constrictor-like creature stretched longer than a city bus and weighed more than a car. It's the biggest snake the world has ever known," says University of Toronto Mississauga paleontologist Jason Head, part of an international team that analyzed the remains. Their findings are published in the Feb. 5, 2009 edition of Nature.

The snake's giant vertebrate, found in Colombia, show it was far larger than any previously discovered, says Head, lead author on the paper. The giant reptile weighed more than 1.25 tons, was more than 13 metres long and had a body so wide it would have to squeeze through a doorway to enter a room. The snake ate giant turtles and crocodiles, whose skeletons were also uncovered.

Jonathan Bloch, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History, who co-led the expedition that discovered the snake with Carlos Jaramillo from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, says the find provides scientists with a rare window into past equatorial environment.

"Until now, tropical South America's dense forest prevented discovery of fossil vertebrates found between 55 and 65 million years ago, so this discovery gives us a very unique and important glimpse into the past," he says.

Since the body size of snakes and other cold-blooded animals is determined by the temperature where they live, researchers used the snake's huge dimensions to paint a picture of what the equatorial climate was like 60 million years ago. Based on its size, scientists found the mean annual temperature at equatorial South America during that time would have been nearly 33 Celsius, about six degrees warmer than today.

"The key thing about this discovery is that we can use it as a launching point to develop very precise climatic reconstructions," says Head. "It will help us to look at how ecosystems respond to climate change and specifically, what happens when temperatures increase or decrease. Obviously, this type of knowledge is very relevant in today's changing climate."


'/>"/>

Contact: April Kemick
april.kemick@utoronto.ca
416-978-5949
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
2. The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive
3. Biggest ever public investment in bioenergy to help provide clean, green and sustainable fuels
4. Worlds biggest heart model simulated at Université de Montréal
5. 390-million-year-old scorpion fossil -- biggest bug known
6. Zoologists: Sea snakes seek out freshwater to slake thirst
7. Snakes, salamanders and other creatures thrive in areas with higher deer populations
8. Rattlesnake-type poisons used by superbug bacteria to beat our defenses
9. Brown tree snake could mean Guam will lose more than its birds
10. Worlds smallest snake found in Barbados
11. Detecting the snake in the grass
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/9/2016)... May 9, 2016 Elevay is ... to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals seeking ... today,s globally connected world, there is still no substitute ... ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm handshake. ... by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs like ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... CHICAGO , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can ... weight, pulse and body mass index, and, when they ... quick and convenient visit to a local retail location ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) outlining ... if clinically relevant data were available when and where it was needed. The ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Cell therapies ... will be accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) that yielded a ... and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, developed by WPI faculty members Raymond ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released ... and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities ... witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... focused on molecular nanotechnology, announced the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman ... Feynman, are given in two categories, one for experiment and the other for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: