Large Snakes

Pete Younger

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tang-malow said:
milo, before you mentioned that the legend was false i would of had problems believing it, why would an unwary traveller pick up a 40 foot stick? :D

Be handy for someone who owned a deep river punt I guess.;)
 
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Anonymous

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steve Irwin

giddae tang,that Steve Irwin runs his own zoo at the Glass House Mountains about 60 miles north of Brisbane in Qld.He probably is a first rate nut(I saw him face to face on the ground with a fierce snake the most deadly in the world) and Im glad yet again we have exported a star I cringe to see on TV.But all in all I know the bloke is an owner opperator(a wanker) but he puts all the money back into the zoo,drives old second hand cars,and lives in the old cream brick house his dad built 30 years ago.I think what you see is what you get with Steve Irwin,all the media twinkle is only a way to improve his zoo and two other protected fauna properties.If half the media circus had such lofty ideals ,I,d be able to stomach them more.
 
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Anonymous

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It is scientifically possible for snakes to grow up to 70 feet. After all they have the most efficient mode of movement on the planet. The snake can eat loads, it grows, meaning it can take down bigger prey. It can't grow to a size where it is too heavy to move(it just gets longer to lower pressure and spread its weight about. Anyway I leanrt this useful fact from a tape from the seventies titled amazing animals. It also showed how a anaconda with a head 3 feet wide could swallow a mini.

not very interesting but it means the 'condas could feed on the ground sloths/:p
 

Glensheen'sGirl~

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Last weekend I saw a show on Animal Planet where a snake ate an antelope. And it wasn't even an anaconda, it was a smaller snake than that. They showed the whole thing pretty much. It would have grossed me out if it hadn't been so cool looking.
 
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Anonymous

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Yep, snakes are pretty amazing creatures.
That fact about the mini cheered me up with the vision of Mr. Bean trapped in his mini with it half in the snakes mouth.:p

Woow mey messages are beecombing more wores as Ii drink moree. Thaatts interressting......:cross eye
 
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Anonymous

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Actually, there's a lot of debate among professional herpetologists about just how large a snake can grow. Some say up to 100 ft., some say no way- maximum forty to forty-five feet. I agree with the latter, since a snake's heart is really not very efficient- like all reptiles (except crocodilians) snake have three-chambered hearts, which do not effectively seperate oxygenated and unoxygenated blood. This is fine for general snake puposes- they're not the most active creatures on the planet, but as a snake increases in length and girth, its heart must pump harder to spread enough oxygen-rich blood through its circulatory system. Of course, the heart also enlarges as a result of this. Thus, one effectively hits the law of diminishing returns; the heart can only grow solarge in relation to the body, and blood pressure can only beraised so much without rendering the system unworkable. Snakes may not be built to get any bigger than 40 feet- which is plenty big enough- without massive structural change. Then, they wouldn't be snakes anymore. :p
 
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Anonymous

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Y'know, Tang-Malow, not all urban legends are false. The fang in the boot, as you mentioned in an earlier post, is very real in Sydney, Oz. But there the fang belongs to an angry funnel web spider! Bad news! Always aggro, always highly venomous :cross eye never welcome!
 

soaringspirit

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I, for one do believe that Anacondas may have once gotten larger than 33 ft. (which is generally accepted as the largest on record). It should also be noted that area tribes stated that there were two kinds of anacondas. Type one was the anaconda weve all seen on T.V....type 2 were called sleepers (from the sound they apparently made/make...like a snoring sound), and these were supposedly the really large ones.
How true that is....ehhh? I dont know, but with the slash and burn of parts of the Amazon, it could be they just dont get as large anymore (adapting to their enviroment).
As far as giant rattlesnakes...if they are found anywhere, it will be Guadalupe Peak Nat'l Park in West Texas which is like rattlesnake heaven. They are like squirrels in the forest there. Lots of deep caves there too.
 
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Anonymous

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Yeah, it looks like capybara.

Fishermen munchies.....ewww. Who'd want to eat THAT?
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Re: Re: My Record

Conners_76 said:
they certainly exceed 18 inches on a routine basis. I'd say average adult size is about 32 inches.

Yes, I agree 18 inches was a bit on the low side. I'd strongly disagree that 32 inches is an average adult size, though. It is very easy to over-estimate their size, as they're very stocky snakes, much more so than grass snakes. They're often surprisingly short when actually measured.

Beebee & Griffiths' recent book on the UK herps gives average adult sizes of 550mm (21.5 inches) for females, and 500mm (19.5 inches) for males. Malcolm Smith's book from the 1950s listed the largest female found in the UK as 624mm (24.5 inches) and the largest male 606mm (24 inches). He also mentioned a female caught in Denmark that measured 800mm (31.5 inches) and suggests that this is the largest ever recorded.
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My Record

Conners_76 said:
The females tend to be bigger than the males, don't they?

They certainly do, I think that's also true for the vast majority of other snakes.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Big snake hoax

Sunday August 29, 2004

Thousands fooled by twisted tale

By HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH

MUAR: Thousands of people who gathered here after a rumour that a giant python with girth the size of a car tyre would be captured went away disappointed when there was no such catch.

The crowd, who came from Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang and Kedah, began flocking the town from Friday until early yesterday.

They waited until 5am but the “operation” to catch the snake under the market here did not take place.

Hussein Ahmad, a visitor from Felda Palong in Negri Sembilan who came with his family, said he felt “cheated.”

“We heard stories that there is a giant python under the market here and that some bomoh from Thailand or Indonesia will be here to catch it.

“But, after waiting for hours, no one came to catch the snake and we felt like fools to have travelled all the way for nothing,” he said when met at the market early yesterday.

Another visitor Karim Hassan, from Bahau, Negri Sembilan, said he heard from his fellow villagers that the snake was “bigger than a durian tree trunk.”

He said he then gathered about 20 friends and together they rode their motorcycles to Muar, only to see thousands of people who had also been fooled into believing stories about the giant snake.

“At first I was very angry, but later I realised that I only have myself to blame for believing the stories,” he said.

District Officer Datuk Naim Nassir said the people should not believe in rumours.

Rumourmongers should stop creating “stupid” stories about so-called mysterious things, he added.

“To some it maybe just for fun, but thousands of people who believe the rumour had wasted their time and money to come here.

“I have said before that no one knows about or has seen a giant snake under the market and I want to stress again thatthere is no such snake here,” he added.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/8/29/nation/8780287&sec=nation
 

lkb3rd

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the biggest wild snake i've ever seen was a black racer around 6 feet or so.
snakes are not too abundant 'round here
 

RainyOcean

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I don't remember what it was called, so don't ask me, but I read once that there is a snake that gets bigger than the anaconda.

Anyway, I want to see one of those giant grasshoppers.:)
 
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RainyOcean said:
I don't remember what it was called, so don't ask me, but I read once that there is a snake that gets bigger than the anaconda.

You're probably thinking of the reticulated python- these may grow longer than anacondas, but are much slimmer, so will weigh a lot less.

Which one is 'bigger' depends on whether you're more interested in length or mass...
 
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milo said:
Local Indian tribes called rattlers "Grandfather", would not harm them, and left offering of tobacco for them, believing the snakes could bring rain

About ten years ago, when I was working in Colombo (Sri Lanka), someone I worked with told me there was a big cobra living in an old house in their neighborhood. An elderly Sri Lankan woman had died in the house (*before* the cobra made its appearance). Her heirs believed the cobra was the spirit of the dead woman. They wouldn't do anything to remove it from the house -- and, I think, left food (saucers of milk, IIRC) out for it.

Another person taking part in the conversation (an American) then mentioned that her grandmother, a Native American, had always associated snakes with the souls of the departed.

Has anyone else ever heard anything like this?

(I'm a newbie, this is my first post -- hope this isn't getting off-topic.)
 

GNC

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Watching Arthur C. Clarke's Mysteriolicious World last night, and he got onto the subject of giant snakes, treating us to this photo:

http://www.angelfire.com/bc2/cryptodomi ... pents.html

There was also a Belgian chap interviewed who claimed his helicopter was threatened by a giant snake rearing up in front of it (he described it as having a huge, triangular head). So there you go, an eye witness!
 

disgruntledgoth

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wildman~ said:
The other day I saw a snake?Well thats not unusual,snakes are a common place item here,we cope with red belly blacks,taipans,western browns,bandi/bandis,black snakes and the usual tree snakes.I walk around with a length of chain attached to a wooden handle mainly for the taipans as they are so aggressive(here have this to play with).Getting back to the story this black snake 12 feet long (thats nearly 2 of me)as wide as the calf of my leg was lying near the back fence,talk about doing a Harold Holt (bolt).This is the biggest black snake Ive ever seen.My neighbour across the road has trouble with scrub pythons some as long as 30 feet attacking his chooks.Whats the biggest snake any one else has seen?????



the largest recorded snake is something like 27 foot, there have been no 30 footers, and scrubs get to 20 foot max, more usual 12-15 feet though, biggest one I have seen was my friends 22 foot reticulated python
 

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Largest snake 'as long as a bus'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/s ... 868588.stm
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

The discovery of fossilised remains belonging to the world's largest snake has been reported in Nature journal.

Titanoboa was 13m (42ft) long - about the length of a bus - and lived in the rainforest of north-east Colombia 58-60 million years ago.

The snake was so wide it would have reached up to a person's hips, say researchers, who have estimated that it weighed more than a tonne.

Green anacondas - the world's heaviest snakes - reach a mere 250kg (550lbs).

Reticulated pythons - the world's longest snakes - can reach up to 10m (32ft).

The team of researchers led by Jason Head, from the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada, used a known mathematical relationship between the size of vertebrae and the length of the body in living snakes to estimate the size of the ancient animal.

Named Titanoboa cerrejonensis by its discoverers, the beast's 13m-long body and 1,140kg (2,500lb) weight make it the largest snake on record.

"At its greatest width, the snake would have come up to about your hips. The size is pretty amazing," said co-author P David Polly, from Indiana University in Bloomington, US.

Researchers discovered fossilised bones belonging to the super-sized slitherers and their possible prey at Cerrejon, one of the world's largest open-pit coal mines. The animal is a relative of modern boa constrictors.

Warming world

"Probably like an anaconda, it spent a lot of time in the water," said Professor Polly.

"It would have needed to eat a lot.

"What its prey was exactly, we don't know. But it probably included alligators, big fish or crocodiles."

The researchers also used the reptile's size to make an estimate of Earth's temperature 58 to 60 million years ago in tropical South America.

Palaeontologists have long known that as temperatures go up and down over geological time, generally speaking, so does the upper size limit of cold-blooded creatures - or poikilotherms.

This is because the metabolism of a poikilotherm is more or less controlled by the average temperature of its environment.

Assuming the Earth today was not particularly unusual, the researchers calculated that a snake of Titanoboa 's size would have required an average annual temperature of 30C to 34C (86F to 93F) to survive.

By comparison, the average yearly temperature of today's Cartagena, a Colombian coastal city, is about 28C.

Opportunity knocks

"A snake living in the tropics would have been operating at a much higher metabolic rate," said Professor Polly.

"So snakes had the opportunity to evolve and grow as big as this one did in a way that they probably wouldn't today."

He added that as the Earth warmed up in future, cold-blooded animals could be expected to evolve larger bodies.

Dr Head adds that the find "challenges our understanding of past climates and environments, as well as the biological limitations on the evolution of giant snakes."

However, Dr Matthew Huber, a climatologist from Purdue University in Indiana, who was not connected with the study, questioned whether the link between size and temperature was "generalisable and accurate".

He commented: "Head and colleagues' findings are the result of probably the first study in 'snake palaeothermometry', and as such must be viewed with caution."

[email protected].
 

mynameisearl

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Scientists say they have discovered fossil remains of a colossal prehistoric snake that once roamed the superheated Paleocene jungles of South America. The one-tonne Titanoboa cerrejonensis would have been more than 40 feet long and ten feet around at its thickest.
Well if the earth heats up this is what we going to see again... earl.... :(
 

disgruntledgoth

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hmmmm, if we do see them again, I wonder where I can fit a 30 foot vivarium :hmm:
 

lordmongrove

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The largest i have seen personaly is a 23 foot Burmese python. Whilst in Guyana, Damon Corrie out guide and chief of the Eagle Clan Arawak Indians told us of a remote lake were some hunters had seen an anaconda at least 40 feet long. However, due to a drought we could not reach the lake.

As anacondas give birth to live young rather than laying eggs, they can live their whole live in water. Thus bouyed up they can reach a huge size. I think 50-60 feet is not biomechanicaly impossible.
 

rynner2

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'Monster' 28-stone pet python seized by officials
A pet Burmese python, weighing 28 stone and stretching 18 feet long, has been taken away by US authorities after being deemed unsafe.
By Urmee Khan
Published: 11:35PM BST 13 Sep 2009

The snake named Delilah has been described as a 'monster', by officials who seized her in Florida.

Concerns about the size of the snake and whether the chain-link cage she was in was secure enough to contain her, prompted the visit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Friday.

Melvin Cheever was caring for the 16 year old python near Lake Apopka, Florida, after his brother moved to West Virginia and left the snake behind temporarily.

Mr Cheever said: "I fed her this morning, gave her seven rabbits. She is as docile as can be. She's as happy as can be,"

Officials have called it the largest snake they had ever seem.

Rick Brown, from the organisation's investigations section said: "To me it's a Goliath. It's a monster of a snake."

Delilah was transported to a properly licensed caregiver, but is expected to remain there only temporarily.

Florida lawmakers recently introduced stricter laws for snake-owners after a two-year-old girl was crushed to death by a python which snuck into her crib.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildli ... cials.html
 

Spend_day

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rynner2 said:
'Monster' 28-stone pet python seized by officials
A pet Burmese python, weighing 28 stone and stretching 18 feet long, has been taken away by US authorities after being deemed unsafe.
By Urmee Khan
Published: 11:35PM BST 13 Sep 2009

The snake named Delilah has been described as a 'monster', by officials who seized her in Florida.

Concerns about the size of the snake and whether the chain-link cage she was in was secure enough to contain her, prompted the visit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Friday.

Melvin Cheever was caring for the 16 year old python near Lake Apopka, Florida, after his brother moved to West Virginia and left the snake behind temporarily.

Mr Cheever said: "I fed her this morning, gave her seven rabbits. She is as docile as can be. She's as happy as can be,"

Officials have called it the largest snake they had ever seem.

Rick Brown, from the organisation's investigations section said: "To me it's a Goliath. It's a monster of a snake."

Delilah was transported to a properly licensed caregiver, but is expected to remain there only temporarily.

Florida lawmakers recently introduced stricter laws for snake-owners after a two-year-old girl was crushed to death by a python which snuck into her crib.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildli ... cials.html

damn power feeders should be shot I'm surprised the snakes hit 16 being fed 7 rabbits at a time. its not that big tho the worlds longest known burmese python, "baby" hit 27 feet and a healthy adult (or a power fed young adult) can easily hit 18 foot in captivity. Oh and just to clear things up the one that killed that child was kept in a bag (shocker it escaped) and must have been starving or provoked by the child as most snakes wont kill something they can't eat.
 

ramonmercado

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First Neotropical Rainforest Was Home Of The Titanoboa -- World's Biggest Snake
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 230441.htm

Plant megafossils from Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia look much like modern rainforest plants. (Credit: Courtesy of PNAS)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2009) — Smithsonian researchers working in Colombia's Cerrejón coal mine have unearthed the first megafossil evidence of a neotropical rainforest. Titanoboa, the world's biggest snake, lived in this forest 58 million years ago at temperatures 3-5 C warmer than in rainforests today, indicating that rainforests flourished during warm periods.

"Modern neotropical rainforests, with their palms and spectacular flowering-plant diversity, seem to have come into existence in the Paleocene epoch, shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago," said Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Pollen evidence tells us that forests before the mass extinction were quite different from our fossil rainforest at Cerrejón. We find new plant families, large, smooth-margined leaves and a three-tiered structure of forest floor, understory shrubs and high canopy."

Historically, good rock exposures and concentrated efforts by paleontologists to understand the evolution of neotropical rainforests—one of the most awe-inspiring assemblages of plant and animal life on the planet—have been lacking. "The Cerrejón mining operation is the first clear window we have to see back in time to the Paleocene, when the neotropical rainforest was first developing," said Scott Wing, a paleontologist from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Some of the more than 2,000 fossil leaves, including the compound leaves and pods of plants in the bean family and leaves of the hibiscus family are among the oldest, reliable evidence of these groups. This was the first time that the plant families Araceae, Arecaceae, Fabaceae, Lauraceae, Malvaceae and Menispermaceae, which are still among the most common neotropical rainforest families, all occurred together.

Many newcomers to modern rainforests remark that the leaves all look the same, a reasonable observation given that most have smooth margins and long "drip-tips" thought to prevent water from accumulating on the leaf surface.

S. Joseph Wright, senior scientist at STRI, has noted that all of the areas in the world today with average yearly temperatures greater than 28 C are too dry to support tropical rainforests. If tropical temperatures increase by 3 C by the end of this century as predicted in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "We're going to have a novel climate where it is very hot and very wet. How tropical forest species will respond to this novel climate, we don't know," said Wright.

Based on leaf shape and the size of the cold-blooded Titanoboa, Cerrejón rainforest existed at temperatures up to 30-32 C and rainfall averages exceeded 2500 mm per year.

But Titanoboa's rainforest was not as diverse as modern rainforests. Comparison of the diversity of this fossil flora to modern Amazon forest diversity and to the diversity of pollen from other Paleocene rainforests revealed that there are fewer species at Cerrejón than one would expect. Insect-feeding damage on leaves indicated that they could have been eaten by herbivores with a very general diet rather than insects specific to certain host plants.

"We were very surprised by the low plant diversity of this rainforest. Either we are looking at a new type of plant community that still hadn't had time to diversify, or this forest was still recovering from the events that caused the mass extinction 65 million years ago," said Wing. "Our next steps are to collect and analyze more sites of the same age from elsewhere in Colombia to see if the patterns at Cerrejón hold, and study additional sites that bracket the Cretaceous mass extinction, in order to really understand how the phenomenal interactions that typify modern rainforests came to be."

This work is scheduled to be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of Oct. 12-16.
 

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They ate crocs for breakfast...


Ancient Crocodile Relative Likely Food Source for Titanoboa, Largest Snake Ever Known
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 154408.htm

On Feb. 1, 2010, Alex Hastings, a graduate student at UF's Florida Museum of Natural History, measures a jaw fragment from an ancient relative of crocodiles that lived 60 million years ago. The fossil came from the same site in Colombia as fossils of Titanoboa, indicating the crocodyliform was a likely food source for the giant snake. (Credit: Photo by Jeff Gage/University of Florida)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2010) — A 60-million-year-old relative of crocodiles described recently by University of Florida researchers in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology was likely a food source for Titanoboa, the largest snake the world has ever known.

Working with scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, paleontologists from the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus found fossils of the new species of ancient crocodile in the Cerrejon Formation in northern Colombia. 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. The study is the first report of a fossil crocodyliform from the same site.

"We're starting to flesh out the fauna that we have from there," said lead author Alex Hastings, a graduate student at the Florida Museum and UF's department of geological sciences.

Specimens used in the study show the new species, named Cerrejonisuchus improcerus, grew only 6 to 7 feet long, making it easy prey for Titanoboa. Its scientific name means small crocodile from Cerrejon.

The findings follow another study by researchers at UF and the Smithsonian providing the first reliable evidence of what Neotropical rainforests looked like 60 million years ago.

While Cerrejonisuchus is not directly related to modern crocodiles, it played an important role in the early evolution of South American rainforest ecosystems, said Jonathan Bloch, a Florida Museum vertebrate paleontologist and associate curator.

"Clearly this new fossil would have been part of the food-chain, both as predator and prey," said Bloch, who co-led the fossil-hunting expeditions to Cerrejon with Smithsonian paleobotanist Carlos Jaramillo. "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."

The concept of ancient crocodyliforms as snake food has its parallel in the modern world, as anacondas have been documented consuming caimans in the Amazon. Given the ancient reptile's size, it would have been no competition for Titanoboa, Hastings said.

Cerrejonisuchus improcerus 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 Cerrejon 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 and associate professor in geosciences at the University of Iowa.

"This diversity is more evolutionarily complex than expected," said Brochu, who was not involved in the study. "A limited number of snout shapes evolved repeatedly in many groups of crocodyliforms, and it appears that the same is true for dyrosaurids. Certain head shapes arose in different dyrosaurid lineages independently."

Dyrosaurids split from the branch that eventually produced the modern families of alligators and crocodiles more than 100 million years ago. They survived the major extinction event that killed the dinosaurs but eventually went extinct about 45 million years ago. Most dyrosaurids have been found in Africa, but they occur throughout the world. Prior to this finding, only one other dyrosaurid skull from South America had been described.

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 crocodyliform's diminutive size came as a surprise, Hastings said, especially considering the giant reptiles that lived during the Late Cretaceous. The fossil record also points to the possibility of other types of ancient crocodyliforms inhabiting the same ecosystem. "In a lot of these tropical, diverse ecosystems in which crocodyliforms can thrive, you often see multiple snout types," he said. "They tend to start speciating into different groups."

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by University of Florida.
 

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Vid at link.

Scientists peer inside a python to see swallowed rat
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_ ... 487548.stm

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Take a trip through the python's internal system

Scientists have used the latest imaging techniques to look inside a python that had just swallowed a rat whole.

The resulting footage is part of a project using hi-tech scanning methods to explore animals' anatomy.

It took 132 hours for snake to fully digest the rat, the scientists said. Their work has revealed other strange insights into python digestion.

They presented the study at the Society for Experimental Biology's annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.

The researchers carried out a computer tomography or CT scan of an anaesthetised 5kg Burmese python one hour after it had devoured the rat whole.
Burmese python (Image: MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark) The MRI study revealed how the python's organs altered as it digested its meal

They also used a technique called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the creature's internal organs.

By using contrast agents, the scientists were able to highlight specific organs and make them appear in different colours.

A series of MRI images revealed the gradual disappearance of the rat's body. At the same time, the snake's intestine expanded, its gall bladder shrank and its heart increased in volume by 25%.

The researchers, Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, both from Aarhus University in Denmark, explained that the increase in the size of the snake's heart was probably associated with the energy it needed to digest its meal.

"It's a sit and wait predator," explained Mr Lauridsen. "It fasts for months and then eats a really large meal.

"It can eat the equivalent of up to 50% of its own bodyweight, and in order to get the energy out of the meal, it has to restart the intestinal system very fast."
Alligator (Image: MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark) Contrast agents allow the researchers to highlight specific internal organs

The researchers, who are both based at the university's Department of Zoophysiology and the MR Research Centre at Aarhus, say that their approach has several advantages over the "subjective and sometimes misleading" interpretations of dissections.

Dissection induces changes, explained Dr Hansen. "For example, after opening the dense bone of a turtle shell, the lungs will collapse due to the change in pressure.

"And to use these techniques you don't have to kill the animal," he added. "We can do this using live animals and revisit the results over and over again."

The images, they say, will be valuable tools in future studies of animal anatomy for both research and education.

They have produced similarly spectacular images of several other species, including frogs, alligators, turtles, swamp eels and bearded dragons.
 
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