STL Science Center

STL Science Center

17 March 2017

Too Much Titanoboa

©Jason Bourque
To finish out the past week we need to look at some of the beautiful paintings and sculptures of Titanoboa. The artistic interpretations and scientific recreations of the snake show the animal in typical snake postures and some are stunningly detailed. One of the more tame interpretations of the snake actually shows Titanoboa participating in one of the most common behaviors of snakes or any other animal: casually sunning itself or possibly moving from one place to another. A large dryosaur and turtle help populate the background of this painting and dryosaurs actually figure into more than one Titanoboa representation. The most well known sculpture, the Titanoboa featured in the Smithsonian exhibit for the giant snake, shows a Titanoboa in the process of swallowing a dryosaur. The dryosaur's distinctive tail is sticking out of the snake's mouth as it aligns itself perpendicular to the ground. This seems odd for two reasons: 1) the post hoc knowledge that the hypothesized diet of Titanoboa is composed of fish almost entirely and 2) lifting an animal as large as a dryosaur vertically into the air to swallow it would, it seems, be extremely taxing and difficult even for an enormous snake like this.
Photo by Ryan Quick

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