Scientists discover 47 million year old fossil of world's 'largest snake' in India

SuchTV  |  Apr 22, 2024

The serpent, named Vasuki Indicus, was a massive predator that could rival the longest snake to ever exist on Earth, according to Times of India.

The fossils, which were discovered by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR), measured between 10 to 15 metres in length and are estimated to be about 47 million years old.

Professor Sunil Bajpai and Debajit Datta, a postdoctoral fellow at IITR made the discovery and co-authored a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Datta noted that a serpent described similarly in ancient Hindu scriptures has been revered under the name Vasuki for countless ages.

They suggest that Vasuki indicus, which lived during a period when Earth's geography was vastly different from today, could have been comparable in size to the famous Titanoboa.

This reptile is believed to have had a broad and cylindrical body, suggesting a strong and robust physique.

Datta explained: "Vasuki was a majestic animal. It may well have been a gentle giant, resting its head on a high porch formed by coiling its massive body for most parts of the day or moving sluggishly through the swamp like an endless train".

The snake's habitat in a marshy swamp near the coast was in a warmer global climate compared to the present day, likely playing a role in facilitating its immense size.

"This discovery is significant not only for understanding the ancient ecosystems of India but also for unravelling the evolutionary history of snakes on the Indian subcontinent.

"It underscores the importance of preserving our natural history and highlights the role of research in unveiling the mysteries of our past," Dr Bajpai, said in a statement.

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