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Extinct reptiles: Titanoboa

Updated on December 10, 2014

Discovered in 2009 in Colombia in the vast area of Cerrejón mine, Titanoboa (titanic boa) represents the largest snake ever found. This area is rich in fossils as fossils of large reptile, like giant turtle Carbonemys is also found here. Rich fossil deposits are the result of flourished species after the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago due to extremely hot and humid climate that prevailed in that era (this is a theory which is not yet validated). With rain more than 150 inches a year and temperatures as high as 80 degree Fahrenheit it was most inviting and fertile land for big living things, big leaves, big trees and bigger reptiles.

Titanoboa considered to be as long as a school bus
Titanoboa considered to be as long as a school bus

Quick facts

Titanoboa (monster snake):

  • Survived 5 million years after the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago
  • Was shaped like boa but haunted crocodile
  • Could grow up to 50 feet, longer than a 40 feet school bus and circumference as wide as 6 feet, theoretically, it flourished in extremely hot and humid climate
  • It inhabited with another extinct reptile, 1-ton giant turtle carbonemys

Concrete evidence of Titanoboa was first found in Cerrejon Mine, Columbia


Would the giant snake return as hot and humid climate is foreseen with warmer earth?

It is still a theory that because the climatic conditions 60 million years ago were much warmer than they are today, therefore, it favored larger reptiles, birds and other living things.

Theory negating this warmer climate big reptiles states that it is not possible. Sinderman, in his research concluded that If it were then today's lizard would be 33 meter long.......(reference link at end)

Another research conducted by Mark Denny suggested that if such temperatures prevailed, the cold blooded snakes would have overheated themselves and died not flourished......(reference at end as 1)

Currently displayed at Florida Museum of Natural History

Do you think warmer climate can breed bigger reptiles?

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So? would it return?

Frankly, its 50-50. While some researchers say that the warmer the earth, the bigger the reptiles and other species that existed in prehistoric times. While others say, that if it were true then the human race would also evolve. However, humans are quite a new specie as compared to snakes, lizards and the oldest-turtles. Reptiles have more in their kitty as far as evolving is concerned. Our race is still affixed on Darwin's theory that man was monkey before. How can we ascertain the future in the warmer world. Having said that, it is also unlikely that such a giant creature could re-inhibit our land, mainly because humans won't allow it and they are too risky to breed. We all must have seen the movie Anaconda. We don't like to live fretting about snakes when even a small cobra could give us jitters.

1: "Can the giant snake predict palaeoclimate?", Mark W. Denny, Brent L. Lockwood & George N. Somero, Nature 460, E3-E4 (30 July 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08224; Received 20 February 2009; Accepted 27 April 2009


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