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Monstrous Titanoboa goes on display in Fruita


Julia McHugh unveils a life-sized model of Titanoboa, the largest snake ever known to have existed, which will go on display at Dinosaur Journey in Fruita on Friday. Image Credit: GJSentinel

“It sounds like something fabricated in a nightmare — a 48-foot-long snake that weighs 2,500 pounds.

But the titanoboa cerrejonensis isn’t a mythical creature. It slithered on Earth, dining on prehistoric crocodiles 60 million years ago, until its extinction.

The fossil of the giant snake, along with a new species of crocodile, was discovered in a Colombian coal mine in 2009.

“It’s got a lot of wow factor but it ties into our local history too,” said Julia McHugh, curator of paleontology, as she discussed the newest exhibit to open at Dinosaur Journey, “Titanoboa: Monster Snake” presented by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibit opens to the public Friday.

McHugh said local paleontologist George Callison and his crew discovered the upper jaw fragment of a reptile in the Fruita Paleo Area in the 1970s. Callison suspected it was from a snake, but nobody agreed with him at the time, McHugh said.

The bone is currently part of the collection at California State University Long Beach. In recent years, it was confirmed to be that of a snake, one of the earliest discoveries of such fossils, McHugh said.

A study published by international scientists in 2015 included Callison’s discovery in western Colorado and helped determine the origin of snakes dating back 70 million years ago.” (…) READ MORE

READ IT HERE: http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/monstrous-titanoboa-goes-on-display-in-fruita

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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)