What is Vasuki Indicus?

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Researchers recently reported the discovery of fossils of one of the largest snakes that ever existed, which has been named Vasuki Indicus.

About Vasuki Indicus

  • The fossils of Vasuki indicus were found in Kutch, Gujarat.
  • Vasuki refers to the mythical snake often depicted around the neck of the Hindu god Shiva.
  • It lived in the Middle Eocene period (roughly 47 million years ago) in India
    • The organism lived at a time when temperatures were relatively warm, at roughly 28 °C. 
  • It belonged to the now-extinct Madtsoiidae snake family but represents a unique lineage from India.
    • 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).
    • These snakes spread from India through southern Eurasia and intonorth Africaafter the Indian subcontinent collided with Eurasia about 50 million years ago.
  • Features:
    • It reached lengths between 10 and 15 metres long and 1 tonne in weight.
    • It likely had a broad and cylindrical body, hinting at a robust and powerful build, and was as big as Titanoboa, a massive snake that once roamed the earth and is reportedly the longest ever known.
    • Vasuki was a slow-moving ambush predator that would subdue its prey through constriction, like anacondas and pythons.

Q1: What is Gondwana?

Gondwana, ancient supercontinent that incorporated present-day South America, Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, India, Australia, and Antarctica. It was fully assembled by Late Precambrian time, some 600 million years ago, and the first stage of its breakup began in the Early Jurassic Period, about 180 million years ago.

Source: Fossils of massive prehistoric snake found in lignite mine in Gujarat