A study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal has revealed that a new species of a giant snake, named “Wonambi naracoortensis”, is the world’s largest reptile. The discovery was made after researchers found ancient fossils that belong to this giant snake were unearthed on an Australian sheep farm. These fossilized remains are approximately 23 million years old and depict a creature with scales covering its entire body, but no visible eyes or legs.
The study found that the reptile was 58 feet long and weighed an estimated 1.5 tons. It is assumed that this giant snake had to coil itself around its prey in order to constrict it before eating it whole. The fossils of the creature were first discovered by the farmer when the area was excavated to make way for a new runway at Adelaide Airport.
Wonambi naracoortensis (commonly referred to as “Wonambi”) was an extinct genus of giant snakes, reaching 6.1 m in length, that lived during the late Miocene epoch of Australia. The type specimen, a fossilized vertebra from the extinct snake, was discovered at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. The name “Wonambi naracoortensis” is derived from the Australian Aboriginal myth of the Rainbow Serpent and its association with water, as well as ‘naracoorte’ which refers to where it was first found at Naracoorte Caves.