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Titanoboa

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  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 32,251 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Mickeroo


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Considering how it was (perhaps unfairly) declared the undisputed largest snake of all times and was on the news for ages, even stealing the thunder of the creatures found in the same formation (whenever one was announced, it was as "food for Titanoboa")... yes, somewhat. :confused:

    In my defence I don't watch the news much and even when I do the irish news doesn't give much air time to palaeontology unfortunately :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    Mickeroo wrote: »
    In my defence I don't watch the news much and even when I do the irish news doesn't give much air time to palaeontology unfortunately :)

    That's why you come straight here for the latest scoops ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Mickeroo wrote: »
    In my defence I don't watch the news much and even when I do the irish news doesn't give much air time to palaeontology unfortunately :)

    Haha no worries, I don´t watch the news either- I read them online, and only those related to subjects I care about :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    The Smithsonian is doing a great job of promoting its Titanoboa documentary; here are some photos of the impressive life-sized model they put at New York's Grand Central Station, depicted in the act of swallowing a crocodile.

    Titan284-jpg_180814.jpg

    Titan321-jpg_180815.jpg

    Titan192-jpg_180806.jpg

    Titan218-jpg_180805.jpg

    Titan226-jpg_180807.jpg
    Titan207-jpg_180806.jpg
    Titan224-jpg_180806.jpg
    Titan276-jpg_180814.jpg

    Of course, they describe it as "the T-Rex of snakes", but for once I think I like the comparison. Few creatures deserve the title of monster better than this snake :cool:

    Oh and here's the show's official site where you can see the previews and some interesting clips:

    http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/site/sn/show.do?show=140671#main


  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 32,251 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Mickeroo


    Jebus, I hope they have Conan the Barbarian on standby in case that thing comes to life :eek:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,564 ✭✭✭✭steddyeddy


    For the love of st.pubus that things huge!!! :eek::eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    Mickeroo wrote: »
    Jebus, I hope they have Conan the Barbarian on standby in case that thing comes to life :eek:

    Thulsa Doom won't be happy if another snake gets the chop. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    That display model just looks wrong to my eyes. The bulk versus length looks very wrong for an animal that uses constriction as it's main method of finishing off it's soon to be meal. Could just be the angle of the pics that is throwing me off though, especially that second pic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    It looks a bit squat in some pics, but I'd say if it was laid out 'flat' it would look less so.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula


    The model may be incorrect in some ways, and it probably is to be truthful. Yet the model with people around it makes for a far more impressive picture than a sketch or artist's impression. May just be me of course, but I do like photographs with people in them as it gives a much better image in my head.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Well, it looks much thicker on the front than it would normally look like because it's swallowing a big crocodile :pac:

    But even if it wasn´t, not all constricting snakes have the same proportions. Take the blood python; extremely stout for its size, yet it kills by constriction anyways.
    I read that new Titanoboa remains have been found so, maybe there's enough material to assume it was a particularly robust snake as well?
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSz6Mg53lQx8s7cOTN5ixT28wkGFmRBeQPP35bmOpCF7jj9kDX51w

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQZitqQbsG9DWm4hhBHBxmWN8DobpDjR8IbKtTMM6tBMYQ9caiX



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    The blood python is a very good modern snake to use as an example of bulk to length extremes in a snake imho.


    Most modern snakes that are overly bulky in build have a head that is wdier than the neck and the neck and the body just after it is a lot less bulky than the middle third and most of the final third with the tail being very short and getting thin quickly.


    The Titanoboa (going by earlier reports) seemed to be of similar design, but of late it seems to be turning into a tank of a snake in terms of build with it staying pretty bulky from head almost to tail tip.

    It is most likely just me though and the angles the pics are taken from.

    I was taking the swallowing of the croc into account and factoring in some neck stretch as a result, but I think what also bothered me was the width of the skull compared to the first third of the snake (even taking the croc into account assuming the croc takes up anything up to 50% of the first third). Just seems wrong as a bulky in build snake needs that bit to be more flexible than the rest of it's body, and the thicker that bit gets (and closer in diameter to the second third) the slower the snaker would be in striking, biting, changing direction etc etc.

    I just think waaaaaaaaaay too much into things. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Well, the size of the snake alone does get you wondering how it could strike etc but just because something is hard to imagine... I sooo wish we could see one alive tho :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    I'd say it must have been fairly aquatic. When you look at the green anaconda today, they almost never hunt out of water as they are too bulky. Under water however, all bets are off! :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    Giant snake needs giant thread...

    *merged*


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 33,733 ✭✭✭✭Myrddin


    I remember seeing a docu before about it, at least where insects are concerned it said they grew so big because of the oxygen content in the atmosphere was higher than it is today.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula


    The availability helped insects grow large, this is true. But there are a lot of other variables to take into consideration too. Temperature included. It is not the be all and end all to simply say they grew large because of the amount of oxygen available.

    Oxygen didn't have a lot to do with the huge mammals that formed what we call the mega-fauna. Food types, food availability, evolution and environment all have a lot to do with the large sizes of animals, especially the vertebrates.

    If Titanoboa ate crocodiles then it would need to be big enough to eat them. If the crocodiles were large, then it becomes logical for the snake to be larger.

    A King Cobra eats other snakes, and is consequently larger than it's prey for example.

    Large herbivores are usually that size for two reasons. They need a big stomach to process the food they eat, (so predators have a tendancy to evolve into larger forms to eat them. Not a firm rule by the way.) The other reason herbivores may be large is to defend themselves from predators.

    I am afraid I am not too sure why whales get to be so big however. Possibly to stay warm in the cold of the oceans as a larger body loses heat more slowly as a percentage. As the Blue Whale is as far as we know the largest animal to have ever lived, the higher oxygen levels in the distant past have nothing to do with it being so big.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    Galvasean wrote: »
    I'd say it must have been fairly aquatic. When you look at the green anaconda today, they almost never hunt out of water as they are too bulky. Under water however, all bets are off! :D


    The aquatic side of things makes the most sense alright, and it would make the most sense for such a huge snake. But if we take the blood python (which was an excellent choice by Adam as it is built in a very similar way as to what has been published about Titanoboa, and if much closer in terms of build than the heaviest modern snake which is the anaconda) and we look at where it is mostly found in the wild, a funny detail emerges.

    This very bulky snake does get found in marshy areas alright, but most sightings are on higher ground. Now there is a very big difference between a 30lb blood python and a 2,500lb Titanoboa ( as I display a gift for understatement:)), but the very very similar builds and bulk distribution makes me wonder what type of predator it was.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Well, the size of the snake alone does get you wondering how it could strike etc but just because something is hard to imagine... I sooo wish we could see one alive tho :)




    Totally agree. Way too often the so called experts are totally blinkered to any other way of thinking. Jack Horner I am looking at you.:mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Rubecula wrote: »
    If Titanoboa ate crocodiles then it would need to be big enough to eat them. If the crocodiles were large, then it becomes logical for the snake to be larger.

    Or put in other words, you have an ecosystem with large prey available (turtles and crocodiles) which creates an open niche for a very large predator, and the ancestor of Titanoboa steps forward (ok, slithers forwards) to fill that niche. Hadn´t the snake been around said niche could have been taken by something else, probably also a croc, that would become gigantic as well...

    Rubecula wrote: »
    I am afraid I am not too sure why whales get to be so big however. Possibly to stay warm in the cold of the oceans as a larger body loses heat more slowly as a percentage. As the Blue Whale is as far as we know the largest animal to have ever lived, the higher oxygen levels in the distant past have nothing to do with it being so big.

    There's also the fact that its giant size protects it against most marine predators, and since it doesn´t have to support its weight anymore it can get as large as it "wants"... many aquatic creatures grow quite big because ot this.
    Kess73 wrote: »
    The aquatic side of things makes the most sense alright, and it would make the most sense for such a huge snake. But if we take the blood python (which was an excellent choice by Adam as it is built in a very similar way as to what has been published about Titanoboa, and if much closer in terms of build than the heaviest modern snake which is the anaconda) and we look at where it is mostly found in the wild, a funny detail emerges.

    This very bulky snake does get found in marshy areas alright, but most sightings are on higher ground. Now there is a very big difference between a 30lb blood python and a 2,500lb Titanoboa ( as I display a gift for understatement:)), but the very very similar builds and bulk distribution makes me wonder what type of predator it was.

    Well the blood python is an ambush, "sit and wait" predator... so maybe if Titanoboa wasn´t hunting like an anaconda, it may have been a sit and wait predator as well, but the question is, what kind of prey on land would be large enough to feed such a gigantic snake?
    To my knowledge there weren´t many large land mammals or reptiles at the time, were they?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭Kess73


    Adam Khor wrote: »


    Well the blood python is an ambush, "sit and wait" predator... so maybe if Titanoboa wasn´t hunting like an anaconda, it may have been a sit and wait predator as well, but the question is, what kind of prey on land would be large enough to feed such a gigantic snake?
    To my knowledge there weren´t many large land mammals or reptiles at the time, were they?



    It being an ambush predator on land is exactly what I was mulling over in my head.

    It could of course been both a terrestrial ambush predator like a blood python and an aquatic ambush predator like an anaconda.


    There would have been the likes of various Titanoides around during the same time period with the larger species ranging from 300lbs to almost hippo size. There were other large mammals around as well, especially during the middle and third stages of the Paleocene. The first stage does not have as much known about what mammals were present. But there were certainly large mammals present during the same estimated time period as the Titanoboa and there were also huge flightless birds present towards the end of that time period.
    .


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Or put in other words, you have an ecosystem with large prey available (turtles and crocodiles) which creates an open niche for a very large predator, and the ancestor of Titanoboa steps forward (ok, slithers forwards) to fill that niche. Hadn´t the snake been around said niche could have been taken by something else, probably also a croc, that would become gigantic as well...

    Millions of years later in Colombia the giant croc Purussaurus occupied a similar niche to Taitanoboa.
    Adam Khor wrote:
    Well the blood python is an ambush, "sit and wait" predator... so maybe if Titanoboa wasn´t hunting like an anaconda, it may have been a sit and wait predator as well, but the question is, what kind of prey on land would be large enough to feed such a gigantic snake?
    To my knowledge there weren´t many large land mammals or reptiles at the time, were they?

    Based on what I've seen in relation to habitat it seemed to be quite comparable too the modern Amazon, albeit possibly on a larger scale.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Kess73 wrote: »
    It being an ambush predator on land is exactly what I was mulling over in my head.

    It could of course been both a terrestrial ambush predator like a blood python and an aquatic ambush predator like an anaconda.


    There would have been the likes of various Titanoides around during the same time period with the larger species ranging from 300lbs to almost hippo size. There were other large mammals around as well, especially during the middle and third stages of the Paleocene. The first stage does not have as much known about what mammals were present. But there were certainly large mammals present during the same estimated time period as the Titanoboa and there were also huge flightless birds present towards the end of that time period.
    .

    Which shows how little I know about the Paleocene. I was aware of Titanoides and kin and the giant birds but, I thought they had lived later... maybe it's time to draw a Titanoboa constricting something different from a crocodile for a change :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Which shows how little I know about the Paleocene. I was aware of Titanoides and kin and the giant birds but, I thought they had lived later... maybe it's time to draw a Titanoboa constricting something different from a crocodile for a change :D

    Crushing the hopes of a Jack Horner? :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Rubecula wrote: »
    Crushing the hopes of a Jack Horner? :D

    Mwahaha:pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    The documentary, titled "World's Largest Snake' will be shown here next Thursday at 20:00 on Channel 4 (or was it More 4?).


  • Registered Users Posts: 687 ✭✭✭Zadkiel


    Galvasean wrote: »
    The documentary, titled "World's Largest Snake' will be shown here next Thursday at 20:00 on Channel 4 (or was it More 4?).

    Anyone watch it?
    I thought it was very good. Now I want to experiment with modern snakes and extreme temperatures :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    I'm curious about this super-croc that inhabited the eco-system with Titanoboa. Bit of a shame that it was only a foot note in the documentary.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Galvasean wrote: »
    I'm curious about this super-croc that inhabited the eco-system with Titanoboa. Bit of a shame that it was only a foot note in the documentary.

    The show was about Titanoboa, after all, which also explains the nasty ending for the super-croc. But it was indeed the biggest surprise in the show, to me at least :D


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  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned before. Perhaps the tooth marks were only spotted after they had started making the documentary so could not shift the focus ubder such short notice.


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