may be the largest in the world

(CNN) — Scientists working in the Amazon rainforest have discovered a new species of snake, rumored to be the largest in the world.

A team from the University of Queensland traveled to the Ecuadorian Amazon to discover the previously undocumented northern green anaconda (Eunectes akayama) following an invitation from the Waorani people to see anacondas “rumored to be the largest in existence”, according to scientists . ,

The team joined hunters on a 10-day expedition to the Bameno area of ​​the Baihueri Waorani region, before rowing down the river to find several anacondas lying in wait for their prey in the shallow water, the team said in a statement. Professor Brian Fry, a biologist at the University of Queensland, also led the team.

Anacondas are giant, non-venomous constrictor snakes found in or near water in warm regions of South America.

“The size of these magnificent creatures is incredible: one female anaconda we found was 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) long,” Fry said of the team’s discovery, which was made during the filming of the upcoming National Geographic series “Pole to Pole.” Was made during. With Will Smith.”

The team also said they had heard stories that snakes up to 7.5 meters (24.6 ft) and 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) had been seen in the area.

Green anacondas are the heaviest snakes in the world, according to the UK Natural History Museum, which states that the heaviest snake ever recorded weighed 500 pounds (227 kg). Its length was 8.43 meters (27.7 ft) and width was 1.11 meters (3.6 ft).

The discovery was made during the filming of the National Geographic series. (Professor Brian Fry/The University of Queensland)

While another species, the reticulated python, is longer (often reaching over 6.25 m – 20.5 ft in length), it is lighter.

But experts studying the creature found that the newly identified northern green anaconda species diverged from the southern green anaconda about 10 million years ago, and differed genetically by 5.5%.

“This is quite significant: To put it in perspective, humans differ from chimpanzees by only 2%,” Fry said. The findings are described in the journal MDPI Diversity.

The team then compared the genetics of the green anaconda to other specimens from other locations to evaluate it as an indicator species of the ecosystem’s health, and warn that the Amazon faces multiple threats.

“Deforestation of the Amazon basin due to agricultural expansion has resulted in an estimated 20 to 31% habitat loss, which could affect 40% of its forests by 2050,” Fry said.

He said habitat degradation, forest fires, drought and climate change threaten rare species like the anaconda, which exist in such rare ecosystems.


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