Temporal range: Palaeocene
Titanoboa cerrejonensis is the largest known snake. Now extinct, the snake was a relative of the anaconda and the boa constrictor. It was about 43 feet long (13 m), and weighed over a ton (about 1135 kg or 2,500 pounds). The snake lived in the Palaeocene epoch, about 58 million years ago. It ate crocodiles.
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.
Researchers found three skulls of the snake in 2002. A life-size replica is on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. It was sent on a world tour to be shown at various museums.
Habitat[change | change source]
Titanoboa lived in the first recorded tropical forest in South America. It shared the ecosystem with large Crocodylomorpha and large turtles. The paleogeography of the late Paleocene was a sheltered paralic (coastal) swamp, with an open connection to the proto-Caribbean in the north. In this environment tropical aquatic ferns like Salvinia flourished. The ferns were found as fossils in the Bogotá Formation and the Palermo Formation.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Kwok, Roberta (2009). "Scientists find world's biggest snake". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2009.80. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- Previous record-holder was Gigantophis.
- Head, Jason J.; et al. (2009). "Giant boid snake from the paleocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures". Nature. 457 (7230): 715–718. doi:10.1038/nature07671. PMID 19194448. S2CID 4381423. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- O'Brien, Jane 2012. The giant snake that stalked the world. BBC News Magazine. 
- "Science Daily: At 2,500 pounds and 43 feet, prehistoric snake is largest on record". ScienceDaily. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- "Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service - Titanoboa: Monster Snake". sitesarchives.si.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-22.[permanent dead link]
- Pérez Consuegra, Nicolás; Aura Cuervo Gómez; Camila Martínez; Camilo Montes; Fabiany Herrera; Santiago Madriñán, and Carlos Jaramillo 2017. Paleogene Salvinia (Salviniaceae) from Colombia and their paleobiogeographic implications. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 246. p85–108.