Titanoboa, the biggest world snake, was Colombian

· science

titanaboaharoScientists have discovered the fossil of the biggest so far snake of the world in La Guajira State, Colombia. They gave to it the name of Titanoboa cerrejonensis, an animal that lived 60 million years ago and that could weight 1,140 kilograms and measured 13 meters (42.7 feet).

The discovery was under the responsibility of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the University of Florida in the Cerrejón Coal Mine in La Guajira Peninsula, the northern part of South America.

The amazing reptile became a clue to investigate the climate of ancient times as old as 60 million years and compare it with our current climate changes and its possible consequences.

Normally, people would think that cooler temperatures would create bigger reptiles of cold blood. However, it works just the opposite. Titanoboa teaches us that the earth was warmer than it is now. In conclusion, with the increasing global warming, it is easy to guest that snakes could gain in size. But we are destroying their inhabitants, so maybe it could happen only in the next Hollywood movie that must be shot in Colombia, of course.

According with the scientists, Titanoboa needed an average annual temperature of 30 to 34 degrees Celsius (83 to 93 Fahrenheit), to survive. The snake was a non-venomous constrictor, just as anacondas and boas. But according to the computer estimations, the reptile could be bigger in size than it appears from its bones.

The discovery will be published in Nature Magazine by paleontologist Jason Head of the University of Toronto. He said that the animal probably feed itself from crocodiles. It was discovered in 2004 in a coal mine in Cerrejón, La Guajira State and researches continue in the site with the support of the Smithsonian Institute. The fossil was sent to the Smithsonian department in Panama and after to the Natural Science Museum of Florida, but the ancient monster will return to Colombia in 2011 to be hold by the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mines (Ingeominas).

Titanoboa overcame an Egyptian snake fossil that is 3,35 meters long (11 feet) and that lived 4o million years ago. In current times, the longest alive snake was a piton of 9,14 meters (30 feet), smaller than Titanoboa cerrejonensis, according to the conclusions of Head.

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