VASUKI INDICUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     20th April 2024        
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Context: Paleontologists in India have unearthed a fearsome relic from the past a giant predator snake estimated to be as large as the longest snake ever discovered.

Vasuki Indicus

  • New Species: The new species, named Vasuki indicus after the mythical serpent associated with Lord Shiva, belonged to the now-extinct Madtsoiidae snake family.

o The fossilised remains, measuring 10-15 metres long, were found in Gujarat’s Panandhro Lignite Mine in Kutch and date back a staggering 47 million years.

oDiscovered by: IIT-Roorkee paleontology professor Sunil Bajpai in 2005. He found the remains in a coal mine in Kutch.

  • Madtsoiidae Family: Madtsoiidae are Gondwanan terrestrial snakes that lived between the Upper Cretaceous (100.5 million to 66 million years ago) and the Late Pleistocene (0.126 million years ago to 0.012 million years ago).
  • Importance of Madtsoiidae; This family of snakes is considered a pivotal group for our understanding of snake origins and evolution.
  • Comparison with Titanoboa: The researchers believe Vasuki indicus rivalled the infamous Titanoboa. 

o The monstrous snake was one of the largest known predators in the period between the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago and the first appearance of Megalodon roughly 23 million years ago.

  • Vasuki's Predatory Behavior: They also speculate that Vasuki was perhaps too large to be an active forager and was more likely to have behaved like modern anacondas and large-bodied pythonids by ambushing and subduing its prey.
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