The One-ton Boa

The discovery of a one-tonne tropical snake has implications for our understanding of the evolution of global climate.

To survive, this species would have needed tropical temperatures much higher than those we record today. Since the size of cold-blooded creatures is limited by their metabolic rate, this mega-boa would have had to have lived in conditions with a minimum mean annual temperature of 30-34 degrees Celsius to survive.

The finding by Jason Head and colleagues at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, ON, Canada,  calls into question the idea that the Earth’s climate has some kind of global “thermostat” to regulate temperatures in the tropics.