Malcolm Ritter (AP)
Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.
"This thing weighs more than a bison and is longer than a city bus," enthused snake expert Jack Conrad of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who was familiar with the find.
"It could easily eat something the size of a cow. A human would just be toast immediately."
"If it tried to enter my office to eat me, it would have a hard time squeezing through the door," reckoned paleontologist Jason Head of the University of Toronto Missisauga.
Actually, the beast probably munched on ancient relatives of crocodiles in its rainforest home some 58 million to 60 million years ago, he said.
Head is senior author of a report on the find in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
(The same issue carries another significant report from the distant past. Scientists said they'd found the oldest known evidence of animal life, remnants of steroids produced by sponges more than 635 million years ago in Oman.) More>>
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Jeanna Bryner (LiveScience.com)