The biggest snake that ever lived (that we know about) was a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through steamy tropical rainforests about 60 million years ago feasting on primitive crocodiles, National Geographic News reported today.“Fossils discovered in northeastern Colombia’s Cerrejon coal mine indicate the reptile was at least 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2,500 pounds (1,135 kilograms),” contributor John Roach reported today.The snake would have killed its prey by slow suffocation — wrapping around it and squeezing, just like a modern python or boa.
Humans would stand no chance against one of these giant snakes, said Hans-Dieter Sues, paleontologist and associate director for research and collections at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. “Given the sheer size, the sheer cross section of that snake, it would be probably like one of those devices they use to crush old cars in a junkyard.” The giant skull of a one-ton prehistoric rat — shown here next to a modern-day rat — was revealed on January 16, 2008.
“Measuring 53 centimeters (21 inches) long, the skull was found in Uruguay by an amateur fossil hunter among fallen cliff rocks in the San José region.
Analysis of the bizarre find by paleontologists suggests it belonged to a bull-size species, which has since been named ,” National Geographic News reported.
The megarodent lived in lowland rain forests between two and four million years ago, perhaps using its massive teeth to fend off saber-toothed cats and giant, flightless, meat-eating birds, researchers said The newfound species was reported in a study led by Andrés Rinderknecht of the National Museum of Natural History and Anthropology in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The previous holder of the title world’s largest rodent was a “buffalo-size” fossil creature from Venezuela, revealed by scientists in 2003.
Read the full story Scientists working in Madagascar found what may be the largest frog that ever lived, National Geographic News reported a year ago.
The bad-tempered Beelzebufo, or “devil frog” was a “rather intimidating animal the size of a beach ball, 16 inches (41 centimeters) high and weighing about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms).” Paleontologist David Krause of Stony Brook University in New York and his colleagues began unearthing the the 70-million-year-old frog as a specimen in bits and pieces more than a decade earlier.
“Over the years a 75-piece puzzle emerged that was only recently put together by fossil-frog expert Susan Evans of University College London,” National Geographic’s story said.
Evans, lead author of a paper detailing the find, said that, like its closest modern-day relatives — a group of big-mouthed frogs in South America called ceratophyrines — the devil frog also probably had a very aggressive temperament.”These ceratophyrines are really aggressive, ambush predators.
They are round with big mouths, and they will sit there and grab onto anything that walks past.” “They’re sometimes called Pac-Man frogs,” she added, “and even the little ones will go for you. And at two or three times the size of the largest living ceratophyrines, Beelzebufo would have had quite a lot more attitude.” The animal sported a protective shield and powerful jaws that may have enabled it to kill hatchling dinosaurs, National Geographic News reported.
Read the full story Penguins about the size of humans roamed South America some 35 million years ago, and they didn’t need ice to survive, National Geographic News reported in June 2007.