The giant snake that stalked the Earth
By Jane O'Brien
BBC News, Washington
A recently discovered prehistoric monster snake provides answers about the past - and raises questions for the future.
Around 58 million years ago a monstrous snake slithered out of the swampy jungles of South America and began a reign of terror.
Weighing more than a ton and measuring 14m (approximately 50 feet) the giant reptile could swallow a whole crocodile without showing a bulge. But a few years ago scientists never even knew it existed.
"Never in your wildest dreams do you expect to find a 14-metre boa constrictor. The biggest snake today is half that size," says Dr Carlos Jaramillo, a scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and part of the team that made the discovery.
'World of lost reptiles'
Thought to be a distant relative of the anaconda and boa constrictor, the snake - named "titanoboa" - was not venomous. Instead it crushed its prey with the constricting force of 400lbs per sq inch - the equivalent of lying under the weight of one and a half times the Brooklyn Bridge...
Story continues in link, with artist's representation of the beast.