Navigation Links
World's largest snake discovered in fossilized rainforest

Sixty million years before Jennifer Lopez starred in the film "Anaconda," the world's biggest snake slithered around northern South America. Excavations in Colombia co-organized by Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Jonathan Bloch, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History, unearthed fossil remains of a new snake species named Titanoboa cerrejonensis.

Surrounded by huge trucks extracting coal from Cerrejon, one of the world's largest open-pit mines, researchers discovered fossilized bones of super-sized snakes and their prey, crocodiles and turtles, in the Cerrejon Formation, along with fossilized plant material from the oldest known rainforest in the Americas, which flourished at the site 58-60 million years ago.

Jason Head, the lead author of the new species description in the journal Nature, is a research associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Head, with David Polly, associate professor of geosciences at Indiana University, used the ratio between vertebral size and the length of existing snakes to estimate that this boa-like snake must have reached 13 meters (42 feet) in length and weighed more than a ton. Titanoboa, as it is now called, is the largest snake ever known, and was the largest non-marine vertebrate from the epoch immediately following the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. "The discovery of Titanoboa challenges our understanding of past climates and environments, as well as the biological limitations on the evolution of giant snakes." said Head "This shows how much more information about the history of Earth there is to glean from a resource like the reptile fossil record."

Titanoboa's size indicates that it lived in an environment where the average yearly temperature was 30-34 degrees Celsius. This estimate coincides with paleoclimatic models predicting greenhouse conditions. "This temperature estimate is much hotter than modern temperatures in tropical rainforests anywhere in the world. The fossil floras that the Smithsonian has been collecting in Cerrejon for many years indicate that the area was a tropical rainforest. That means that tropical rainforests could exist at temperatures 3-4 degrees Celsius hotter than modern tropical rainforests experience," said Jaramillo.


Contact: Beth King
703-487-3770 x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Related biology news :

1. The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive
2. Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
3. Largest study to investigate risk factors of autism to begin enrolling families
4. Single-largest biodiversity survey says primary rainforest is irreplaceable
5. Worlds largest investor coalition seeks further disclosure on climate change and shareholder value
6. Worlds largest marine protected area created in Pacific Ocean
7. Largest ever study of genetics of common disease just got bigger
8. University of Minnesota to host worlds largest conference on evolution
9. Findings released from 1 of the largest percutaneous coronary intervention trials ever
10. Largest ever acoustics meeting is next month from June 30 to July 4, in Paris, France
11. Exploited fish make rapid comeback in worlds largest no-take marine reserve network
Post Your Comments:
(Date:7/20/2017)... DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead of their boarding ... ... biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May at the ... to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in CLEAR to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several ... dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking ... During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they ... industries. France is ... with a 30 percent increase in the number of startups ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge ... health organizations, and MD EMR Systems , ... development partner for GE, have established a partnership ... Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, including ... EMR. These new integrations will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is ... and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and ... distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address key ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017  SkylineDx ... London (ICR) and University of Leeds ... to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in a multi-centric ... The University of Leeds is the ... UK, and ICR will perform the testing services to include ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh ... orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of ... SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: