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October 21, 2008

40-foot fossil snake discovered

Paleontologists have found the fossilized remains of a huge ancestor of the boa constrictor.

At a site in northern Colombia, (paleontologist Jonathan) Bloch and his colleagues unearthed the partial remains of an ancient snake. Each of the dozen or so vertebrae in that body segment measured about 10 centimeters across. That’s about twice the width of the largest vertebra taken from a 6-meter–long, modern-day anaconda, another modern relative, Bloch notes.

None of the ribs included in the fossil are complete, but the size and curvature of the fragments that remain indicate that the snake “would have had trouble fitting though the door into your office,” he adds. The gargantuan fossils represent an as yet unnamed species. [Science News; HT: Boing Boing]

2008 has been a blockbuster year for herpetology. In August, evolutionary biologist Blair Hedges of Penn State University announced the discovery of the world's smallest snake.

One of the best parts about the smallest snake discovery was his argument for why his snake must be the smallest: "The snake may even be as miniscule as nature could go for snakes since, if it were any smaller, he believes its young would have nothing to eat. As it stands, Hedges thinks it primarily consumes the tiny larvae of termites and ants."

That's it people, that's as small as they get.

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Comments

The arrogance of scientists still amazes me. Nature has no limitations; if there are animals that live without any kind of energy from the sun, in the geotermal chimneys of the ocean, feeding on toxic particles in boiling water, then there could be snakes smaller than the one they mention. Not saying there is; Im only saying nature can do anything, wether we find it realistic or not.

The arrogance of scientists still amazes me. Nature has no limitations;

And you're so certain of this how?

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