Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Colossal Snake Fossils Unearthed in India

Scientists unearthed a fossil vertebrae that belonged to one of the largest snakes that ever roamed the planet. The prehistoric snake, which lived in the swamps of India, was nearly 50 feet in length and was longer than a T.rex.

So far, 27 vertebrae from the snake have been recovered, a few of which are in the same position as when the reptile was alive.

vasuki 1
The prehistoric reptile is named after the snake king associated with the Hindu deity, Shiva

The largest vertebra that was unearthed measured approximately 4.5 inches wide, which has led experts to believe that the animal had a wide, cylindrical body approximately 17 inches wide. A skull has not been found.

The snake, known as Vasuki indicus, would have been non-poisonous and resembled a modern-day python.

The fossils were discovered in a lignite mine located in western India’s Panandhro area.

According to Debajit Datta, a paleontologist at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, the prehistoric snake would have been a slow-moving ambush predator, one that fed by constricting its prey, like pythons and anacondas.

vasuki
The prehistoric snake, Vasuki Indicus lived around 46 million years ago and was longer than a t-rex in length

They also said the snake would have lived near the coast in the marshy swamps – when temperatures were much higher than they are today.

Seeing as how the remains are incomplete, researchers can only estimate the animal’s total length, which they believe to be between 36 to 49 feet. They also estimated the snake’s weight to be around one metric ton.

Vasuki, which is named after the serpent Vasuki from Hindu mythology, is approximately the same size as another prehistoric snake called Titanoboa, whose fossil remains were unearthed in 2009 at a Colombian coal mine.

Titanoboa, which lived 60 million years ago, is estimated to have been 42 feet long and weighed a little over one metric ton.

vasuki vertebrae
Scientists have unearthed 27 vertebrae from the prehistoric snake, the biggest of which measured 4.5 inches wide

According to experts, Vasuki’s estimated body length rivals that of Titanoboa, though the latter has slightly larger vertebrae. However, it’s unclear whether or not Vasuki was more slender or basic compared to Titanoboa.

Both of these enormous prehistoric snakes lived during the Cenozoic era, which started not long after the dinosaurs went extent 66 million years ago.

Experts are unsure what Vasuki ate, however, considering its large size, it would have likely fed on crocodilians. Other fossils that they have found in the mining area include turtles, crocodilians, primitive whales, as well as fish.

Vasuki, which was part of the Madtsoiidae snake family, emerged approximately 90 million years ago and inhabited India. They were also spread out across North Africa and Southern Eurasia.

According to Bajpai, the Madtsoiidae snake family was dominant during the latter years of the dinosaur age and continued to thrive into the early Cenozoic era, before going extinct.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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