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On Thursday, March 22nd, sleepy commuters rushing to catch a train from New York's Grand Central Station were jolted from their reverie by a scary sight - A 2,500 pound, 48 foot long Titanoboa snake. Fortunately, it was not real, but a full-sized replica of the one that slithered on earth, 65 million years ago!
With its huge head arched back and jaw open as it munched on a crocodile, the sinewy model was not built to 'scare the daylights out of people' but, to renew their interest in science and, promote a new Smithsonian television special entitled Titanoboa: Monster Snake, that airs on April 1st.
After two days at the Subway station, the Titanoboa was moved to New York's National Museum of Natural History, where it will remain until March 30th. Following that, the scary monster will settle down at its permanent new exhibit inside Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
Remains of this ginormous snake that scientists believe had a girth the size of a manhole, were first discovered in 2005 inside a Colombian coal mine. A team of researchers headed by Jonathan Bloch who specializes in the Paleocene era (the period after the death of the dinosaurs), made several trips to collect further specimens.
Though the team knew they had found something significant, initially nobody had a clue what it was. Only when they examined the remains closely were they able to conclude that the fossils belonged to snakes, which happened to be just a tad bit bigger than what we are used to today! That's when they brought in ancient snake expert Jason Head from the University of Nebraska, who not only confirmed their suspicions, but also, helped them name this monstrous creature - Titanoboa!
Resources: foxnews.com, news.yahoo.com,huffingtonpost.com