I’m sure many of you saw that amazing movie with the star-studded cast; John Voight, J-Lo, Ice Cube and Owen Wilson. That’s right, I’m talking about Anaconda. Why am I bringing up this mid 90s gem you ask?
Eep! The world’s largest snake….13m long. 13! This snake lived when the average temperature of the tropics was around 33C, about 3 or 4 degrees hotter than today. This hot temperature allowed the snake’s body size to reach these giant proportions. In a cooler climate it just doesn’t work as well when you’re a giant ectotherm. Phew.
Phew? Phew nothing! Remember global warming? We’re setting the stage for more giant snakes! And, as the title suggests, giant insects and spiders. Oh humans. What have we done???
Joking aside, this discovery shows that the climate of the tropics was once warmer than previously thought. This means the tropics may survive global warming. However, I’m still skeptical, as these changes in the past are over loooong periods of time. Climate change is happening so fast that snakes may go extinct before they get massive. And all the other animals and plants might go a long with them.
We may not even have to worry about the heat, humans are chopping down the tropics at a rate that is just not sustainable. Boo.
So the message? Nature is awesome because you find things like giant snakes. This is the stuff of sci-fi movies in real life! So make that little extra effort to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions today by carpooling it to the movies tonight. Buy a second hand table or recycled TP to save a few tropical trees. Maybe you can help slow warming a little bit and we can live to see giant snakes again (well, maybe a few generations down the road…by then we’ll have learned to teach them to be vegetarians I’m sure. “Nice snake, no biting”).