What's crazier: that a snake weighing over one ton and measuring 40 feet once ruled Columbian swampland 58 million years ago, or the fact that it's taken us this long to discover one? A few million years after after dinosaurs went extinct, the Titanoboa reigned supreme. It was big enough to gobble up crocodiles. And, well, just about anything else it wanted to: according to one of the paleontologists who discovered the snake, "after the extinction of the dinosaurs, this animal was literally the largest predator on the surface of the planet for at least ten million years."
Cerrejón, Columbia's tropical habitat allowed the cold-blooded reptile to grow and grow (and grow) thanks to a mean temperature in the high 80s. To do the Titanoboa justice in its "Titanaboa: Monster Snake" exhibit, the museum commissioned a 48-foot-long replica that took five months to build.
The 30-inch-snake is as much a monster as the real deal: it's comprised of "12 four-foot-by-eight-foot sheets of Styrofoam, 20 gallons of polyester resin, 400 pounds of epoxy resin and numerous gallons of paint." Imposing? Without a doubt--but not as frightening as the electromechanical Titanoboa designer Charlie Brinson and more than 20 collaborators have tasked themselves with creating.
How do you pay homage to the biggest snake to ever roam the Earth? Build a robot version that's every bit as gigantic as the real thing. And maybe even a bit scarier.