May 30, 2024
  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have reported the discovery of fossils of one of the largest snakes that ever existed and likely lived 47 million years ago during a period called the Middle Eocene.
  • The fossils were found in Kutch, Gujarat, and the reptile, named Vasuki Indicus, could have been anywhere between 11m (36ft) and 15m (49.22ft) in length, or as big as a modern-day school bus.
  • It belonged to the now-extinct Madtsoiidae snake family but represents a unique lineage from India.
  • Professor Sunil Bajpai and post-doctoral researcher Debajit Datta at the IIT Roorkee, stumbled upon 27 pieces of a “partial, well preserved” vertebral column of the snake at the Panandhro Lignite Mine in Kutch.
  • The reptile existed at a time when the earth looked quite different from today, and Africa, India and South America were one, conjoined landmass.
  • Vasuki Indicus likely had a broad and cylindrical body, hinting at a robust and powerful build and was as big as Titanoboa, a massive snake that once roamed the earth and is reportedly the longest ever known.
  • The name “Vasuki” derives from the mythological snake depicted often encircling the neck of the Hindu deity Shiva.
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