The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Crocs for dinner. Whole ones.

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From Colombia, a snake story to remember:
clipped from www.npr.org
Artist's interpretation of how Titanoboa might have looked.Morning Edition, February 5, 2009 · The largest known snake that ever lived grew as long as a school bus, was 3 feet thick, weighed over a ton and ate crocodiles — presumably whole and al dente.

Not to worry: Titanoboa cerrejonensis lived 60 million years ago and is extinct. But for some 20 million years after the dinosaurs disappeared, this 42-foot serpent ruled the land.

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Titanoboa vertebra dwarfs an anaconda vertebra.A vertabra from the Titanoboa dwarfs that of an adult Green anaconda.

Cold-blooded animals such as snakes require warm climates to grow large. The Titanoboa’s size suggests that the average temperature once was considerably higher than it is now.

Python crawling over Titanoboa vertebra.Enlarge A live python crawls over the enormous vertebra of Titanoboa.

Head points out that a cold-blooded animal that big would have had to live in a very hot place to survive […] several degrees warmer than the [current] tropical average and […] warmer than scientists believed the tropics ever got […] even during ancient periods of greenhouse warming […]

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See the whole story at the NPR link.

Stands to reason, I suppose, that if global warming is happening anything like majority scientists believe it to be, reptiles in some parts of the world will grow larger again.

And then there’ll be snake stories to tell. Let’s see: what reptiles do you think would become huge first?


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Written by Monte

February 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

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