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:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... The global military biometrics market ... by the presence of several large global players. The ... major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS Technology, ... 61% of the global military biometric market in 2016. ... military biometrics market boast global presence, which has catapulted ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on ... ... is available in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website ... SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A ... pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer ... age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings announced today ... which its ProCell stem cell therapy prevents limb ... The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ProCell resulted ... saved as compared to standard bone marrow stem ... resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) , ... ... ... than 15 years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy ... the in-house expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range ...
Breaking Biology Technology: