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All about Titanoboa, giant extinct snake species made famous by viral TikTok video

The video claimed that Google Maps had detected a gigantic snake skeleton off the coast of France. But fact-checking website Snopes debunked the claims, saying that the structure was actually an art installation.

March 31, 2022 / 02:16 PM IST
According to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, Titanoboa were the largest snakes to have ever walked the earth. The 2,500-pound giants could crush and devour crocodiles. (Image credit: Smithsonian Institution)

According to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, Titanoboa were the largest snakes to have ever walked the earth. The 2,500-pound giants could crush and devour crocodiles. (Image credit: Smithsonian Institution)


Last week, a video emerged on TikTok claiming that Google Maps had detected a gigantic snake skeleton off the coast of France. It claimed that the skeleton belonged to a Titanoboa, a pre-historic snake species.

Fact-checking website Snopes debunked the claims made by the viral video, saying that the structure found in France was an art installation, not a snake skeleton.

However, the video has generated interest in Titanoboa. Here are some facts about the species.

According to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, Titanoboa were the largest snakes to have ever walked the earth.

Titanoboas are believed to have existed in what is now Colombia’s La Guajira area. Scientists discovered the snake’s remains a coal mine in Colombia in a layer dating to 65 million years ago.

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“Measuring 48 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, this massive predator could crush and devour a crocodile,” the Smithsonian Institution said. “Fossil plants and animals found at the site reveal the earliest known rain forest, teeming with life and dating to the Paleocene, the lost world that followed the demise of the dinosaurs.”

The team of scientists who discovered the giant reptile's remains included Carlos Jaramillo from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Jason Head from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In 2012, the Smithsonian Institution came out with a documentary about the findings, called Titanoboa: Monster Snake

"Meet Titanoboa: She's longer than a bus, eats crocodiles for breakfast and makes the anaconda look like a garter snake," the documentary's tagline said.

The film premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of  Natural History in March, 2012. A life-sized replica of Titanoboa was also put on display there.

 

Jaramillo, one of the scientists, who discovered the reptile's remains, had said in 2012 that years before the discovery, he had seen the film Anaconda. 

“Not even in my wildest dreams I would have imagine that we would find even a bigger snake years later!" he had been quoted as saying by the museum. "This unique finding tells us some clues about ancient global warming and how plants and animals responded to it, lessons that can be useful to understand our modern world and predict its future.”



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Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 31, 2022 02:08 pm
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