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Australia's Vanished Beasts

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Wonambi naracoortensis

Giant Australian Python
Wonambi naracoortensis
The longest surviving snake in Australia today is the carpet python, which grows to not much longer than 10 feet in length. The extinct giant Australian python, by contrast, was thought to reach over 16 feet long. It is similar to other extinct giant boids from Patagonia, Madagascar, and northern Africa, suggesting they all shared a common ancestor when the southern continents were attached to one another in the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. Much remains unknown about W. naracoortensis, however. Did it lay eggs or give birth to live young? How widely was it distributed? How long did it live on Earth? Future fossil discoveries may tell.


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