Seven of the Biggest Beasts of All Time
We all know about the size of dinosaurs, of course, but how about a rodent the size of a bull, a sea scorpion bigger than a man, a frog as large as a beach ball, a penguin the size of a small adult human, a 1,000-pound ground-sloth-like marsupial, and a shark that may have grown longer than 50 feet and weighed up to 30 times more than the largest modern great white?
All these titans existed, although not in the same place or period.
Illustration of Titanoboa cerrejonensis by Jason Bourque/ Released by Nature
The biggest snake that ever lived (that we know about) was a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through steamy tropical rainforests about 60 million years ago feasting on primitive crocodiles, National Geographic News reported today.
"Fossils discovered in northeastern Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine indicate the reptile was at least 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2,500 pounds (1,135 kilograms)," contributor John Roach reported.
The snake would have kil*ed its prey by slow suffocation -- wrapping around it and squeezing, just like a modern python or boa. Only this snake was twice the size of today's largest constrictors.
Humans would stand no chance against one of these giant snakes, said Hans-Dieter Sues, paleontologist and associate director for research and collections at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. "Given the sheer size, the sheer cross section of that snake, it would be probably like one of those devices they use to crush old cars in a junkyard."