The Prehistoric Giants Hall of Fame
What were the largest species of all time? Does the Tyrannosaurus rex make the list?
- By Brian Switek
- Smithsonian magazine, April 2012
Titanoboa was one gigantic snake. It lived around 58 to 60 million years ago, a scant several million years after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. It could grow 42 feet or more in length and weigh more than a ton, vastly outslithering the previous fossil record holder, a 40-million-year-old, 33-foot-long snake called Gigantophis. But Titanoboa is just one proud inductee in the Prehistoric Giants Hall of Fame. Meet the other record-holders.
During the time of the dinosaurs, there were at least two crocs that grew to monstrous sizes worthy of a B-grade horror movie. Sarcosuchus, a roughly 110-million-year-old reptile, reached lengths of about 40 feet. Its narrow snout hints that it ate fish and relatively small fare. Another predator rivaled it in size: Deinosuchus, a roughly 40-foot-long creature that lived 80 to 73 million years ago and was a cousin of modern alligators. From tooth-marked remains, we know that this ambush predator ate dinosaurs.