You couldn’t have a one-ton snake today — the climate’s just too moderate for a cold-blooded creature that size. But back when the planet was warmer by nature, all kinds of terrifying mega-reptiles roamed the Earth. So, in anticipation of global warming, maybe we should start preparing for how to coexist with snakes the size of buses. Lesson one: Apparently they pal around with giant turtles.
Researchers from the University of Florida have announced that they’ve found an eight-foot-long prehistoric turtle in the same Colombian mine where the one-ton “Titanoboa” was discovered. The 60-million-year-old specimen, which the scientists have named Carbonemys cofrinii, is an ancestor of modern tropical turtles — and the press release describes it as “one of the only animals the world’s largest snake could not have eaten.” If that’s not the basis for a friendship, I don’t know what is.
Okay, we are probably never going to see C. cofrinii‘s like — or Titanoboa’s — again, no matter how much we eff up the climate. In theory, gradual warming could allow reptiles to grow to the size of large vehicles again, but in practice it’s happening too fast and it’s just gonna kill them. But that’s no reason not to pitch a new buddy comedy based on this discovery. “He’s a giant snake with a grudge … She’s a giant turtle with a past … Together they are … R.E.P.T.I.L.E. F.O.R.C.E.”
Get Grist in your inbox