Can the Titanoboa get bigger?
In the realm of the giant snake
Today's boas and anacondas would look like earthworms next to this primeval snake. Even Hollywood hasn't created a monster of this size. The giant boa "Titanoboa cerrejonensis" lived in the rainforests of South America 58 to 60 million years ago. When mining coal with an excavator in Colombia, the fossils of a total of eight giant snakes were discovered, as well as some young animals. Together with paleontologists and biologists from the USA, Jason Head from the University of Toronto in Canada examined the fossilized remains of the monster.
"We can estimate the size of the giant snake from the vertebral fossils we found. The snake was about 13 to 15 meters long and weighed one and a quarter tons. Larger than any living or extinct species we know."
About as heavy as a mid-range car and as long as a bus. Even the diameter of the giant snake was impressive. It would reach up to the waist in a person. In order to keep this cold-blooded reptile alive, a lot of food was necessary. Head:
"The rocks in which we find the fossils were once located in a huge system of rivers and lakes - perhaps comparable to today's Amazon Delta. The animals lived in rainforests and resembled today's anacondas in their way of life. Their preferred food was probably Crocodiles. Because we have also spotted a large number of primitive crocodiles nearby. "
From the findings, the researchers not only draw conclusions about the way of life of the giant snakes and their habitat. You can even make predictions about the climate 58 to 60 million years ago. Head:
"We know from today's snakes that a certain temperature is necessary for cold-blooded animals like snakes to reach a certain size. This is how an equation can be set up. It describes the relationship between the average temperature and the size of the snake and its metabolism."
From the size of the snake, the researchers calculated the average temperature at the time, as it was near the equator. It was 32 to 33 degrees Celsius. That is about six to seven degrees higher than today's average temperatures in this region. Head:
"In the warm periods of the earth's history - like 58 to 60 million years ago - the ice caps of the poles were completely melted. Now we know that precisely at this time the temperatures near the equator were also significantly higher than today."
Hard to imagine: Even warmer and more humid than in the tropical rainforest of today. Just right, so that 15-meter-long snakes feel comfortable and find enough food. It would certainly not have been a pleasant living space for people.
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