Navigation Links
World's largest snake discovered in fossilized rainforest
Date:2/4/2009

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
kingb@si.edu
703-487-3770 x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... point. Driven largely by the confluence of organizations, ... users, distaste for knowledge-based systems (password and challenge ... consumer, industrial, and government systems. The market is ... been a demarcation between consumer and enterprise uses ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... Feb. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. ... healthcare, will present at the LEERINK Partners 6th Annual ... Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 a.m. ... the presentation can be accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh .  ... conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical Research Institute announced that its ... Schlesinger as the Institute,s new President and CEO. Dr. ... 31, 2017. He is currently the Chair of the Department ... for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State University. ... President and CEO of Texas Biomed," said Dr. James ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Pa., Feb. 24, 2017  VWR Corporation (NASDAQ: VWR), the ... laboratory and production customers, today reported its financial results for ... Highlights: 4Q16 record quarterly ... 1.0% on an organic basis. ... an organic basis, while the Americas net sales increased 2.5%, ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... BellBrook Labs is formalizing a ... array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. The company’s Lead Discovery ... programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of action, and inhibitor residence times ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  Seattle,s upscale Capitol Hill ... a strange place for a head lice treatment salon to ... between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E ... perfect. "We aren,t just any old lice clinic, we pride ... feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... the 12th annual Inventors Recognition Reception at Purdue Research Park of ... faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing discoveries ...
Breaking Biology Technology: