Titanoboa: Prehistoric Monster Snake
Monster Snakes, Oh My!
Snakes are one of the animals on earth that tend to creep out many people. But others are completely fascinated by snakes. Those who aren't afraid to learn about snakes and their kin, please continue reading. WARNING: if you're afraid of snakes, don't continue reading this article...hit your back arrow now!
On our trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, we discovered a terrifying and intriguing bit of prehistory...that the world's biggest snake ever lived only a few million years after the T-Rex. This prehistoric monster snake is now called Titanoboa because it was a Titanic-sized boa constrictor! But just how big was this prehistoric monster snake? Was the world's biggest snake ever really that big and aggressive? What happened to the world's biggest snake ever? We'll find answers to all of this and more in this monster snake cameo.
How big was Titanoboa?
While gazing at the exhibit of Titanoboa at the Smithsonian Museum, I couldn't believe that a snake could possibly be this large. A monster snake so large that it could swallow an alligator? How big was this titanoboa? Titanoboa was found in Colombia very recently in one of the world's largest coal mines. Titanoboa, or the world's largest snake ever, is known to have gotten up to 49 feet in length and weighed just about a 2500 pounds (that's the weight of a heavy hippo or about the weight of twenty people)! South American researchers who discovered the remains claimed that when Titanoboa was alive, he was so wide that he would've come up to the height of a person's hips. Scary? So to date, Titanoboa is the world's largest snake ever...beating out the largest pythons and boas by at least ten feet and hundreds of pounds.
Don't worry too much, though. This prehistoric monster snake has been dead for at least 60 million years...or so they would have us believe. The vertebrae that was discovered by researchers is monstrous - over ten times the size of a normal large snake's vertebrae. Then again, I guess this monster snake would have to be humongous in order to swallow a beast such as a crocodile. If you were scared of garter snakes or typical black snakes before this article, imagine a snake that is longer than your kid's schoolbus. Now are you scared? This discovery is monumental, and many are claiming that Titanoboa is the biggest discovery since the discovery of the T-Rex fossils.
What happened to this prehistoric monster snake?
The world's biggest snake ever, the gigantic Titanoboa, lived ten millions years after the dinosaurs. But why isn't Titanoboa still alive in the rain-forests of South America today? Much research has gone into the discovery and analysis of this giant snake's vertebrae found in Columbia in 2005, including the possible options of extinction for Titanoboa. Since this snake lived after the meteorite hit earth and killed the dinosaurs, that theory was shot. And obviously humans weren't living in that same time period (or so we think), and even if they were there is no possible way humans could have killed an aggressive, huge predator like Titanoboa.
So what killed off the world's biggest snake ever to exist on the planet? The only real option could be that something bigger than the prehistoric monster snake itself made it go extinct. If the dinosaurs were gone, what could possibly have been as large or larger than a 49 foot snake weighing in at a ton? A giant crocodile. That's right, folks. You read it right. In the same area where Titanoboa's vertebrae was discovered, the fossils of a gigantic prehistoric crocodile were also discovered. Now researchers had a cause of extinction for Titanoboa. The coal mine where Titanoboa was found proved to be a treasure-trove of giant monster fossils of many kinds. And this giant crocodile is the theory as to how the Titanaboa went extinct. This crocodile was indeed large enough to take out a 49 foot, 2500 lb. prehistoric monster snake! The theory was built upon giant tooth marks found in the fossils of giant turtle shells and the like from the same digging area.
My question is, if the world's biggest snake ever and largest crocodile ever were found in this Columbian coal mine...what other types of creatures might have been of enormous proportions at this prehistoric time nearly 60 million years ago? You can watch a video of the researchers digging up the remains of a giant turtle found in the same area, whose shell is the size of a kiddie pool or kitchen table!
To learn more about the world's biggest snake ever, go to the Smithsonian Channel and watch the videos on Titanoboa.
© 2012 Nicole Canfield