Natural History Museum - Titanoboa
“There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees. But once again he reveals his own lack of wisdom. It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”
A graduate student at the University of Florida, studying vertebrate paleontology, whose major focus is crocodilians, was working on some fossils that were labeled crocodile, when he came across a flattened vertebra that did not look quite like the other fossils he had been working with. Alex Hastings, the student, called a colleague to confirm his suspicions that this was more of a snake vertebra rather than a crocodile. Only, there was something different about this vertebra—it was massive! If this was, indeed a snake vertebra, it had to be the world's largest snake!
Dr. Jonathan Bloch, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology for the University of Florida, who lead the fossil dig in Cerrjon, Colombia, that uncovered a treasure trove of fossils in the continent of South America, could not believe what he was seeing and immediately called Dr. Jason Head, Associate Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who was somewhat of an authority on snake fossils. He verified, in astonishment, that it was indeed, the world's largest snake.
Just so you know, that is a prehistoric crocodile that the Titanoboa is snacking on—whole. Oh, and by the way, That is, of course, a model of the snake, in case someone was wondering :) Here are some stats and info on this snake—one of the greatest discoveries since the T-Rex (according to the Smithsonian website).
- This snake is 48 feet long and weighs in at a whopping 2,500 pounds!
- The forked tongue makes the tongue more sensitive and increases surface area.
- Its recurved teeth helps the snake grab, catch and have a firm grip on its prey. It prevents the prey from trying to escape once caught.
- 60-70 centimeters wide and doubles in size after its dinner!
- The vertebrae of the Titanoboa measures roughly the size of the vertebrae of the the modern whale.
If you want to know more, check out the Smithsonian website.
By the way, when I saw the poster for the monster snake, all I could think of was ' Lord Voldemort!