Order: Squamata Family: Varanidae Length: 7 meters Mass: 2 tonnes Age and Location: 50,000 years ago, Pleistocene epoch, Australia Diet: Large mammals Killing apparatus: Slicing jaws, manual claws, tail whip, venom (based on relatives) The largest known lizard species. Thought to be closely related to modern monitor lizards like the perentie and Komodo dragon.
Order: Serpentes Family: Boidae Length: 14.3 meters Mass: 1.6 tonnes Age and Location: 58 million years ago, Paleocene epoch, Colombia Diet: Large fish and crocodilians Weapons: Jaws (for apprehension) and constriction (for killing) The largest known snake of all time. Thought to have eaten crocodiles.
Post by Infinity Blade on Apr 23, 2020 16:55:48 GMT 5
Not a peer-reviewed paper, but for what it's worth, one of the original describers of Titanoboa thought it would have been an almost completely aquatic snake, only coming up on land to bask every now and then.
In fact, while alive, the snake likely gorged on its crocodilian neighbors. "We think it was a completely aquatic snake, that it didn't really go out on land except to bask every once in a while," Head told LiveScience.
But supporting this assertion, the original description paper does note that its remains are associated with depositional environments with large-scale river systems and aquatic vertebrates.
Remains of Titanoboa were found in depositional environments consisting of coastal plains incised by large-scale river systems within a wet tropical rainforest and were associated with an aquatic vertebrate fauna including podocnemidid pleurodire turtles, dyrosaurid mesoeucrocodylians, and elopomorph and dipnoan fishes.
This abstract has been out for years now, but cranial features also support a dominantly piscivorous diet - unique among living and fossil boids, in fact.
Titanoboa cerrejonensis from the Cerrejón Formation (middle to late Paleocene; 58-60 My) of Colombia, is the largest known snake. The taxon was originally diagnosed, assigned to the clade Boinae, and estimated to be approximately 12.8 m (±2.18 m) in total body length on the basis of precloacal vertebral morphology and size, but the absence of cranial remains prohibited a more precise size estimate and robust phylogenetic hypothesis. Recent fieldwork in the type locality has resulted in the recovery of several new specimens of Titanoboa including parts of the cranium and mandible (maxillae, palatine, pterygoid, quadrate, dentary, and compound elements) associated with partial axial skeletons. We estimate skull length from cranial elements to be 40 cm, corresponding to a total body length of 14.3 m (±1.28 m) based on the scaling relationship of head length to body length in the extant boine Eunectes. Phylogenetic analyses of Titanoboa and extant macrostomatan snakes using cranial and postcranial osteology, and including analyses incorporating a molecular scaffold for extant taxa, supports boine affinities of Titanoboa, based on the extreme reduction of the palatine choanal and posteromedial processes as well as vertebral anatomy. Within Boinae, Titanoboa shares a close relationship with Pacific Island-Madagascan taxa. These results are the first historical evidence linking Neotropical and Old World boines, and constrain divergence timing of the clades to no younger than 58 My. Cranial elements of Titanoboa possess unique features relative to other boids, including high palatal and marginal tooth position counts, low-angled quadrate orientation, and reduced palatine-pterygoid and pterygoid-quadrate articulations. These characters, combined with weakly ankylosed teeth in Titanoboa, are characteristic of piscivorous feeding ecology in extant caenophidian snakes. Preservation in the large-scale fluvial depositional environments of the Cerrejón Formation, combined with the recovery of associated fossils of large dipnoan and osteoglossomorph fishes, also suggests a dominantly piscivorous feeding ecology for Titanoboa, which is unique among living and fossil boids.
Take particular note: "weakly ankylosed teeth". I'm no expert on constrictor snakes (or snakes in general), but I don't imagine that constrictors that restrain and kill large vertebrates have teeth that are weakly fused to their jawbones. This is especially important to note because snake teeth (and the teeth of squamates in general) aren't embedded into deep, well-developed sockets like the teeth of archosaurs or mammals (thecodont). Although the specific type of tooth implantation snakes possess has been the subject of debate for decades, and still doesn't seem to be really clear, we can say this now: they aren't thecodont or even sub-thecodont (Bertin et al., 2018). So if Titanoboa specifically has teeth that are weakly fused to its jawbone (whether on the top or lingual surface thereof), and not lodged into deep sockets or anything of the sort, I somehow doubt that speaks well about its ability to tackle a large animal, like this giant monitor.
This would be a close fight. In water I would favor Titanoboa. On land lizard has a slight edge. It is very difficult to fight against large constrictor. Once coils are around V.p. there is very little he can do. But before that happens lizard can do lots of damage. Monitors are pound per pound stronger than crocodiles. And on land Varanus would be in its element there is good chance titanoboa would not as much. Komodo dragon actually has relatively weak bite force I don't know about megalania but both It and Komodo dragon have entire row of large serrated teeth. Megalania's teeth are much larger than those of Komodo dragon even in relation to its size. If megalania does have venom it has good chance on land especially considering the fact that unlike a crocodile Varanus has claws that could do additional damage. In water on the other hand despite the fact that monitors are good swimmers titanoboa would feel better at in aquatic environment than lizard would. And in that environment it would win.