dinosaurs

Eagle bone from Cova Foradada showing cut marks. (Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo) via @SmithsonianMag
Secrets in the News: November 2019

A roundup of Secrets in the News for November 2019. Read more below for neanderthal necklaces, mammoth prints and ancient Peruvian geoglyphs.

Jamestown mystery: Archaeologists unearth a churchyard grave
Daily Press reports: It was tradition in 17th century Virginia to bury corpses with the heads pointed west and the feet to the east. ...

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Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

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A mining operation in Cerrejon, Northern Colombia, opened a window onto a previously unknown period of the earth’s history and a world teeming with giant creatures emerged. The biggest of all was Titanoboa a 43-foot snake, the largest that ever lived. But new discoveries in Cerrejon suggest that Titanoboa’s rule was challenged by a giant crocodilian. Follow scientists as they try to comprehend the size of this animal and uncover what made it so successful. Close analysis of fossils and scientific experiments reveal unmatched hunting prowess. So which one was the apex predator in Cerrejon 58 million years ago?

 Bite force of the Cerrejón crocodile

Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

Bite force of the Cerrejón crocodile

The Cerrejón crocodile the scientists unearthed came out to be about 28 feet, which is bigger than any crocodile that we have alive today. More importantly, it was of a size to match the croc from the dinosaur era, Sarcosuchus. Now that we know how large the croc was, Dr. Greg Erickson can finally estimate the power of its monstrous bite. It is of a magnitude equal to that of a T. rex.

 Discovery of the giant snake, Titanoboa

Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

Discovery of the giant snake, Titanoboa

Experts examined the bones they discovered at the Cerrejón mine. They recognized that although it was the size of a crocodile vertebrae, it actually belonged to a snake. Anacondas are the largest snakes alive today, but their vertebrae are dwarfed when placed next to that of the Cerrejón monster. Weighing more than a ton, this giant snake was five times bigger than the largest alive today.

 Which giant animal was the apex predator 58 million years ago?

Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

Which giant animal was the apex predator 58 million years ago?

Sixty-five million years ago, a giant meteor hit the earth causing a global catastrophe that destroyed an estimated three quarters of the plants and animal species on the planet, including the mighty dinosaurs. Little was known about the survivors who lived in this post-apocalyptic world until a mining operation in Cerrejon, Northern Colombia —  excavating coal cut from deep within the earth’s crust — exposed an important layer in the earth’s geological history laid down more than 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs.