Slithering in at 48 feet long and weighing an estimated one-and-a-half tons, the largest snake the world has ever seen is being brought back to life. Sixty million years ago, in the mysterious era after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, scientists believe that a colossal snake related to modern boa constrictors ruled a lost world. With exclusive access to what one scientist called “a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” Smithsonian Channel(TM) will tell the extraordinary true story in TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE, a two-hour special premiering Sunday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The startling discovery of Titanoboa was made by a team of scientists working in one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines at Cerrejon in La Guajira, Colombia. It is a snake that dwarfs the largest anaconda found today, and it has the size and character to challenge T-Rex in the public’s imagination.
The story behind this significant scientific revelation began in 2002, when a Colombian student visiting the coal mine made an intriguing discovery: a fossilized leaf that hinted at an ancient rainforest from the Paleocene epoch. Over the following decade, collecting expeditions led by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida opened a unique window into perhaps the first rainforest on Earth. Fossil finds included giant turtles and crocodiles, as well as the first known bean plants and some of the earliest banana, avocado and chocolate plants. But their most spectacular discovery was the fossilized vertebrae of a previously undiscovered species of snake, one so large it defied imagination.