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Reason #102,432 to be happy you live in the present era: No 45-foot-long snakes

February 7, 2009 | 12:43 pm

We told you on Wednesday about the discovery of the Titanoboa cerrejonensis, a prehistoric snake as long as a school bus and as heavy as a Volkswagen Beetle

The snake lived about 58 million to 60 million years ago and its fossilized remains were found in a coal mine in Colombia.  It could eat animals the size of modern cows and bison. 

And the giant snake wasn't the only thing found in the mine, according to our colleague Thomas H. Maugh II:

[Paleontologist Jonathan Bloch of the University of Florida, who identified the snake] and his students identified hundreds of specimens that had been dug from the mine, including "the largest freshwater turtle ever known" and "beautifully preserved skeletons" of an extinct species of crocodile "known to have been in South America, but never seen [there] before."

They also found fossils of a variety of fish, related to bonefish and tarpon, that would have lived in brackish seawater. "That indicates it was a big, riverine system close to the ocean," Bloch said.

The team found 28 snakes between 42 and 45 feet long, Maugh reports. 

--Lindsay Barnett

Video: Associated Press

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