Giant snake ate fossil crocodiles

This video is called Titanoboa – The World’s Largest Snake.

From LiveScience:

45-foot Ancient Snake Devoured Giant Crocs

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 03 February 2010 10:50 am ET

The largest snake the world has ever known likely had a diet that included crocodile, or at least an ancient relative of [that] reptile.

Scientists have discovered a 60-million-year-old ancient crocodile fossil, which has been named a new species, in northern Columbia, South America. The site, one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines, also yielded skeletons of the giant, boa constrictor-like Titanoboa, which measured up to 45 feet long (14 m).

Crocodyliforms are extinct reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators.

“We’re starting to flesh out the fauna that we have from there,” said study author Alex Hastings, a graduate student at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Specimens used in the study show the new species, named Cerrejonisuchus improcerus, grew only 6 to 7 feet long (about 2 m), making it easy prey for Titanoboa.

Clearly this new fossil would have been part of the food-chain, both as predator and prey,” said Jonathan Bloch, a Florida Museum vertebrate paleontologist and associate curator. “Giant snakes today are known to eat crocodylians, and it is not much of a reach to say Cerrejonisuchus would have been a frequent meal for Titanoboa. Fossils of the two are often found side-by-side,” added Bloch, who was part of the fossil-hunting expeditions.

Indeed, anacondas have been documented consuming caimans — reptiles in the same family as crocodiles — in the Amazon.

The new croc species is the smallest member of Dyrosauridae, a family of now-extinct crocodyliforms. Dyrosaurids typically grew to about 18 feet and had long tweezer-like snouts for eating fish. By contrast, the newly discovered species had a much shorter snout, indicating a more generalized diet that likely included frogs, lizards, small snakes and possibly mammals.

“It seems that Cerrejonisuchus managed to tap into a feeding resource that wasn’t useful to other larger crocodyliforms”, Hastings said.

The study reveals an unexpected level of diversity among dyrosaurids, said Christopher A. Brochu, a paleontologist at the University of Iowa, who was not involved in the study.

Scientists previously believed dyrosaurids diversified in the Paleogene, the period of time following the mass extinction of dinosaurs. But this study reinforces the view that much of their diversity was in place before the mass extinction event, Brochu said. Somehow dyrosaurids survived the mass extinction intact while other marine reptile groups, such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, died out completely.

The study was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

See also here.

Thought to be a distant relative of the anaconda and boa constrictor, the snake – named Titanoboa – was not venomous. Instead, it crushed its prey with the constricting force of 400lbs per sq inch – the equivalent of lying under the weight of one and a half times the Brooklyn Bridge: here.

Are Anacondas Really Capable of Devouring a Human? Here.

Population Structure and Gene Flow of the Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) in Northern Argentina: here.

The reticulated python is (barely) the world’s longest snake, but the green anaconda is almost 2x as heavy: here.

New snake identification guide can help Florida residents enjoy the outdoors: here.

Discarded Burmese pythons hunt Florida mammals to brink of extinction: here.

May 2013. A Miami man has caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in Florida, measuring 18 feet, 8 inches. The python was a 128-pound female that was not carrying eggs, according to University of Florida scientists who examined the snake. The previous record length for a Burmese python captured in the wild in Florida was 17 feet, 7 inches: here.

A new genetic analysis of invasive pythons captured across South Florida finds the big constrictors are closely related to one another. In fact, most of them are genetically related as first or second cousins, according to a new study: here.

Smooth green snakes in the USA: here.

Georgia alligator spotted 20 miles out to sea: here.

Smooth snake: here. And here.

Devon project boosts rare smooth snake: here.

8 thoughts on “Giant snake ate fossil crocodiles

  1. Charles LeBuff: Sanibel crocodile lived full, peaceful life on ‘Sanctuary Island’

    Charles LeBuff – Guest Opinion • February 9, 2010

    The recent demise of the American crocodile that called Sanibel Island home is not unusual.

    It is not a time for “crocodile tears”; all living things eventually die. What is unusual is that this animal survived for as long as it did, because its life never was easy.

    This crocodile was first documented on the island by a photograph in 1979 and then by field observations by both a master naturalist (George Weymouth), and a J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge employee (me), on the same day in June 1980.

    At first the animal was very timid but over the years it adjusted to gawking humans whenever it hauled out to bask in the sun along the refuge’s wildlife drive.

    Despite the concept of Sanibel Island being a “Sanctuary Island” the crocodile’s existence on the island had opponents and at times this was precarious.

    Some people wanted it moved, others wanted it killed, but in the end this crocodile was allowed to live out its life. For that I’m personally very pleased.

    As in the case of most adult crocodilians this animal proved to be very territorial and even after being uprooted by well-meaning state biologists the animal chose to return to Sanibel Island.

    The presence of an American crocodile on the island is not an extremely rare event.

    Before the late crocodile was documented the most recent record, albeit anecdotal, for an American crocodile on Sanibel Island, is 1936.

    I’m sure others of this threatened species have visited and passed by the island unnoticed between 1936 and 1979, even until 2010.

    The species ranges north of Lee County all the way to southern Tampa Bay and there are small concentrated groups in a few locations to the south of us in nearby Collier County.

    The species is not known to successfully reproduce north of Coot Bay in Everglades National Park, and although the Sanibel Island specimen proved to be an egg-laying female her eggs were purportedly never viable.

    It is my opinion this animal likely died of natural causes that were not specifically related to cold weather.

    After all, she survived the cold winter of 1988-89 and others before and since.

    Like alligators, adult crocodiles construct dens, or caves, to which they withdraw when confronted by threats or during unusual environmental changes, i.e., plummeting temperatures, drought, etc.

    Had the Sanibel Island crocodile not been in deteriorating health because of advanced age she would have retreated to her den (as far as I know the site is unknown) as soon as she detected the imminent temperature change.

    The animal likely would have survived the cold. That her remains were discovered where she hauled out on the bank of the Sanibel “River” tells me she was likely just basking in the comfort of the sunlight, when her heart stopped.

    – Charles LeBuff is an author, a sea turtle specialist and former Sanibel city councilman who worked for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Sanibel for 32 years.–peaceful-life-on–Sanctuary-Island-?source=nletter-news


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