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Temporal range: Palaeocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae
Genus: Titanoboa
Head, 2009

Titanoboa was the largest known snake.[1][2] Now extinct, the snake was a relative of the Anaconda and the Boa constrictor. It was about 40 to 50 feet long (12–15 m), and weighed over a ton. The snake lived in the Palaeocene epoch, about 58 million years ago. It was about three feet (1m) in diameter at the thickest part of its body.[3]

The fossil was found in an open-cast coal mine in Colombia, in 2009. Plant fossils at the site proved the climate at the time was a tropical rainforest. The site was in the Cerrejón Formation in La Guajira, Colombia. Other large reptile fossils have been found at this site.[1][4][5]

Researchers found three skulls of the snake in 2002. A lifesize replica is now on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kwok, Roberta (2009). "Scientists find world's biggest snake". Nature. http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090204/full/news.2009.80.html. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  2. Previous record-holder was Gigantophis.
  3. O'Brien, Jane 2012. The giant snake that stalked the world. BBC News Magazine. [1]
  4. Head, Jason J. et al. 2009. Giant boid snake from the Paleocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures. Nature 457, 715–718.[2]
  5. "Science Daily: At 2,500 pounds and 43 feet, prehistoric snake is largest on record.". ScienceDaily. 2009-02-04. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204112217.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-06.