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Magnus Eisengrim
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We all know that 60 million years ago the earth was much warmer than it is today. Here's the cool thing: hot temperatures help cold-blooded animals get REALLY big!

From CBC:

Ancient snake's massive size points to extra hot jungle: study
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 |1:53 PM ET Comments4Recommend45CBC News
An artist's rendition shows the giant snake lounging in the tropical jungle 60 million years ago, near primitive crocodiles and giant turtles. (Jason Bourque/Nature) Researchers have found the remains of what they are billing as the biggest snake the world has ever known — an animal estimated to be longer than a city bus and heftier than a car.

The boa constrictor-like reptile lived in South America about 60 million years ago and its size provides valuable clues about what the climate was like in the equatorial tropics at that time, said a study published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by an international team of authors that included University of Toronto paleontologist Jason Head.

Head said he first saw one of the snake's giant vertebrae, the bones in its backbone, while chatting online with co-author Jonathan Bloch, from the University of Florida, who held them up in front of webcam.

"I jumped out of my seat and got very excited and he started laughing and I started laughing … because it's just such a mind-bogglingly big animal," Head recalled.

A vertebra (one bone of the spine) of a 5-metre long anaconda, one of the largest living snakes, looks tiny beside a similar bone from the 13-metre long Titanoboa. (Ray Carson/University of Florida News Bureau)Based on the size of the snake's vertebrae — the largest ever for either a living or extinct snake — the researchers estimate that the ancient snake could have grown to be 13 metres long and weigh about 1,135 kilograms.

Head said the largest modern snakes are reticulated pythons, which reach a length of about nine metres, and green anacondas, which can grow to be 7.5 metres long.

Researchers found the vertebrae and ribs for about 28 individual snakes of this species, which was given the name Titanoboa cerrejonensis to indicate its great size and the fact that it was found in the Cerrejon region of northeastern Colombia. The type of pollen found with it suggested that it lived about 58 to 60 million years ago, roughly six to eight million years after the dinosaurs went extinct.

Head said cold-blooded animals such as snakes can't generate their own heat, so they need an external heat source to power their metabolisms. Because larger animals have slower metabolisms, larger cold-blooded animals need more heat.

Hotter climate lets cold-blooded animals grow
Scientists have already studied the size of snakes living at different temperatures, and found that their maximum size is proportional to the average temperature. Based on what they know about that relationship, as well as the size and environment of the living anaconda, which is similar, the study estimated that Titanboa would have needed an environment where the average temperature was at least 33 C — about six degrees warmer than equatorial South America is today — in order to survive.

The Titanboa fossils were found in an open pit coal mine, alongside fossilized giant turtles, as well as fossils of primitive crocodiles that the snake likely ate.

Fossils from the tropics are difficult to find, Head said, because so much of the area is covered by jungle rather than rock or sand. That means there is little data about what the ancient climate was like there.

"Fortunately, the owners of the Cerrejon mine had the presence of mind to be interested in the fossils they were finding," he said.

The mine owners worked with Carlos Jaramillo of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Bloch, who eventually consulted Head because his research specialty is fossil snakes.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
gsidhe
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Yaay Global Warming!!
Bring the giant snakes back!!!
Woohoo!
Gwyd
kcg5
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Come of it, we all know that the planet is only 4,000 years old. giant snakes and dinosaurs, please!
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
gsidhe
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Quote:
On 2009-02-04 15:20, kcg5 wrote:
Come of it, we all know that the planet is only 4,000 years old. giant snakes and dinosaurs, please!

The estimates in the report were in fruit fly years (As opposed to dog or human years). Fruit flies have a 24 hour life cycle so 58 to 60 million years isn't all that long ago.
Gwyd
kcg5
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Now it makes perfect sense
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
evolve629
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Giant snakes that ate crocodiles like small prays? I can see a movie coming - Meeting the Giant Mongoose!
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
Chessmann
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Wait - weren't the crocodiles bigger, too? Can't remember if they are cold blooded or not. They're pretty cold blooded when they attack humans, but....

++++

expert.com says they are cold blooded, so those must have a heretofore unknown species of midget crocodile that is as big as our current crocs.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
Magnus Eisengrim
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I think that there was lots of little creatures too. Just 'cause the conditions are right to be big, doesn't mean that everything will get big.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
RicHeka
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Quote:
On 2009-02-05 21:12, Chessmann wrote:
Wait - weren't the crocodiles bigger, too? Can't remember if they are cold blooded or not. They're pretty cold blooded when they attack humans, but....

++++

expert.com says they are cold blooded, so those must have a heretofore unknown species of midget crocodile that is as big as our current crocs.


Saurosuchus Imperator was around during the end of the Cretaceous period.It is better known as 'Super Croc'.It's head alone was about six feet long.He use to hide along the shore to grab unsuspecting Dinosaurs.

Click here to view attached image.
RicHeka
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Sorry double post
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