|Live snakes, like this ball python which is closely related to a boa constrictor, will be part of the Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibit.|
Credit: Mike Servedio/ANS
From deep underground in a Colombian coal mine, in a layer dating to 65 million years ago, scientists have uncovered remains of the largest snake that ever roamed the planet, Titanoboa cerrejonensis. Measuring 48 feet long and weighing 2,500 pounds, this massive predator grew as long as a school bus and weighed as much as a small car. Twice as long as the longest snake alive today, Titanoboa could crush and devour a crocodile.
Fossil plants and animals found at the site reveal that Titanoboa roamed the earliest known rain forest, teeming with life and dating to the Paleocene, the lost world that followed the demise of the dinosaurs.
"Titanoboa is a bigger, badder boa, and it will simply knock your socks off," says Academy Director of Exhibits Jennifer Sontchi. "The exhibit opens on Valentine's Day, so be sure to bring your main squeeze!"
Titanoboa: Monster Snake, on view through Sunday, April 19, delves into the stories of the discovery, reconstruction and implications of this enormous reptile. Visitors will:
* Stand eye-to-eye with a full-scale model of this massive predator.
* Examine model vertebrae to compare Titanoboa with a modern anaconda.
* Crawl the length of Titanoboa in the Titanoboa Challenge. There also is a shorter crawl-through tunnel for young children.
* See live snakes from the Academy's collection.
* Learn about venom, fangs and scales from the educators at the Carts of Curiosity.
* Enjoy a Smithsonian documentary about Titanoboa in the mini-theater (every hour on the hour)
* See snake specimens from the Academy's Herpetology Collection.
* Learn about the important role snakes play in our lives.
There is a $3 fee to enter Titanoboa: Monster Snake in addition to regular museum admission.
The opening weekend, Feb. 14 and 15, coincides with the Academy's annual Paleopalooza<http://www.ansp.
On Thursday, Feb. 26, "Anaconda" will be the feature presentation at the Academy's popular Mega-Bad Movie Night.<http://www.ansp.org/
Titanoboa: Monster Snake is a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Smithsonian Channel.