Science & Tech

Extinct snake discovered in India is the largest ever recorded

Extinct snake discovered in India is the largest ever recorded
Paleontologists Discover Fossils of Largest Snake to Have Ever Lived
ZMG - Amaze Lab / VideoElephant

An extinct snake, which is also the largest of its kind ever recorded, has been discovered by scientists in India.

The giant serpent was identified as a Vasuki indicus, a madtsoiid genus that dates back 47 million years and is almost double the average size of pythons and other similar snakes, CBS News reports.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee said they’d discovered an "excellently preserved, partial vertebral column" of the snake.

They uncovered 27 vertebrae and analysed each one to confirm that the specimen was indeed a V. Indicus, which is extinct.

The team named it Vasuki after a myth about a serpent of the same name which rapped itself around the neck of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.

The snake was most likely an ambush predator that constricted its prey like a python, the researchers said after concluding that it was likely slow-moving and too big to be forager.

The specimen they found was fully grown and had a broad, cylindrical body, according to the study, which said it could have weighed almost one metric ton (1000kg or 2,200 pounds).

The largest snake in the world is the extinct Titanoboah, which measured up to 50 feet long(bolisbeckel)

The only other comparable snake in terms of length is the extinct Titanoboa, widely considered the world's largest snake, which measured 45 to 50 feet long (around 15 metres) and three feet (0.9 metres) wide.

The madtsoiidae family of snakes lived for around 100 million years in Africa, Europe and India, according to CBS News.

But Vasuki is specifically from the Indian subcontinent and existed roughly 56 to 34 million years ago, the researchers said.

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