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Snakes as long as a five-story building once lived in India

Scientists have discovered huge remains of a snake in the Indian state of Gujarat: it can now be recognized as the largest in the history of the world.

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The length of the reptile could reach fifteen meters (50ft), while its weight was close to a ton. The find was given a symbolic name – Vasuki indicus (in honor of the huge snake Vasuki from Indian myths).

The ancient snake was part of Madtsoiidae, an extinct group of primarily Gondwanan land snakes with a temporal range spanning about 100 million years from the Late Cretaceous epoch to the Late Pleistocene.

An artist’s impression of Vasuki indicus. Credit: sci.news

“The Madtsoiidae family existed for around 100 million years from the Late Cretaceous to the Late Pleistocene and lived in a broad geographical range including Africa, Europe, and India,” said Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee paleontologists Debajit Datta and Sunil Bajpai.

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“Vasuki indicus represents a lineage of large madtsoiids that originated in the Indian subcontinent and spread via southern Europe to Africa during the Eocene, approximately 56 to 34 million years ago.”

“This is comparable in size to the longest known snake to have ever lived, the extinct Titanoboa,” the researchers said.

“The large size of Vasuki indicus made it a slow-moving, ambush predator akin to an anaconda.”

“Biogeographic considerations, seen in conjunction with its inter-relationship with other Indian and North African madtsoiids, suggest that Vasuki indicus represents a relic lineage that originated in India,” they added.

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“Subsequent India-Asia collision at 50 million years ago led to intercontinental dispersal of this lineage from the subcontinent into North Africa through southern Eurasia.”

“Recovery of additional material and new species, including large-sized forms, may provide further insights into madtsoiid systematics and biogeography.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell is an independent researcher and writer on extraordinary topics. She has a passion for delving into the realms of UFOs, paranormal phenomena and the enigmatic.

Zoe has a degree in journalism and a keen interest in history, mythology and folklore. She believes that there is more to reality than meets the eye, and that the truth is often stranger than fiction.

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