Gigantophis

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Gigantophis
Temporal range: Late Eocene, 40 Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Madtsoiidae[1]
Genus: Gigantophis
Species: G. garstini[1]
Binomial name
Gigantophis garstini
C. W. Andrews, 1901[2]

Gigantophis garstini was a giant prehistoric snake which may have measured more than 10 metres (33 ft),[3] larger than any living species of snake. Before Titanoboa was discovered in Colombia in 2002, Gigantophis was regarded as the largest snake ever. Gigantophis lived approximately 40 million years ago in the northern Sahara, where Egypt[3] and Algeria are now located.

Discovery[edit]

The species is known only from a small number of fossils, mostly vertebrae.

Species[edit]

Gigantophis is classified as a member of the madtsoiid family.

Size[edit]

Jason Head, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has compared the fossil vertebrae of a Gigantophis to those of the largest modern snakes, and concluded that the extinct snake could grow from 9.3 metres (31 ft) to 10.7 metres (35 ft) in length. If 10.7 metres (35 ft), it would have been more than 10 percent longer than its largest living relatives. This species was once thought to be the largest species of snake in Earths history, but was later replaced by the Titanoboa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gigantophis". The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Gigantophis garstini". The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  3. ^ a b Dunham, Will (2009-02-04). "Titanic ancient snake was as long as Tyrannosaurus". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2012-07-10.