Titanoboa, meaning "titanic boa", is an extinctgenus of snake that lived approximately 60 to 58 million years ago, during the Paleocene epoch, (approximately 60-58 million years ago) a 10-million-year period immediately following the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event that wiped out the majority of terrestrial life, including the dinosaurs. After the mass extinction event, Titanoboa was, for the majority of the Paleoceneepoch, the largest non-marine vertebrate. It is the largest snake ever discovered at an estimated 43 feet long, and to date, paleontologists have identified about 180 different bones, mainly vertebrae and costae (rib bones) belonging to 28 individual specimens from a cache of fossils excavated from El Cerrejon coal mine in northern Colombia. The prepped fossils were later revealed in early 2007 at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida. However, this is not the first occurence of large snake fossils that have been discovered in South America before. An example would be Madtsoia bai, a huge constrictor known from fossils discovered in Argentina in the mid 1930s. This particular species was believed to be up to 12 meters long, huge by modern snake standards but still 20% smaller than Titanoboa. (Read more...)
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