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(NEW YORK) Never mind the 40-foot snake that menaced Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 movie "Anaconda." Not even Hollywood could match a new discovery from the ancient world.
Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.
Actually, the beast probably munched on ancient relatives of crocodiles in its rainforest home some 58 million to 60 million years ago, he said.
Titanoboa's size gives clues about its environment. A snake's size is related to how warm its environment is. The fossils suggest equatorial temperatures in its day were significantly warmer than they are now, during a time when the world as a whole was warmer.
Oakspar77777, 02/04/09 at 2:18 pm
Consider as well the snake's tendency to a poorly normalized size distribution. Most humans, for example, are similar in size (within the same population). Snakes, however, will often vary greatly. While this is uniform in dwarfing due to a lack of sustinance (smaller Eastern Diamond backs on coastal islands with limited prey-bases), it is not in the abundance of food (two corn snakes raised in captivity on the same diet can vary from three to six feet in maxium length).
Since they only found a very limited sample, we cannot know if that 43' monster was (a) an abberation of size (like a 6' corn snake) of a normally smaller species OR (b) a normal member of a species capable of signifigantly exceeding the size of the fossils found.
Science may have found a monster here, or it is possible that the real monsters were even greater in size.
J-lo is still safe, however, as any snake that big is going to be a slow ambush predetor (like big snakes today), not a clever hunter.
Also, on the temperatures needed, I wonder if he took into account gigantothermy as a reducer of heat requirements in larger cold-blooded animals. Also, species specific tollerances can exceed the general bulk to temperature ratios of cold blooded animals (the Canadian Garter Snake, for example).
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"At its greatest width, the snake would have come up to about your hips,"