World’s Biggest Snake Discovered in Amazon Rainforest

Scientists have discovered a mammoth new anaconda species lurking in the Amazon rainforest, dethroning the green anaconda as the world’s largest and heaviest snake in the world. Weighing up to a whopping 500 kg and stretching 7.5 meters long, this behemoth, named the northern green anaconda (Eunectes akayima), adds a thrilling twist to the Amazon’s biodiversity.

Previously thought to be a single species, green anacondas inhabiting the Amazon’s depths have now been revealed to be two distinct ones. This groundbreaking discovery, published in the journal Diversity, stems from decades of research and collaboration with the indigenous Waorani people.

The northern green anaconda, previously overlooked, was documented during filming for National Geographic’s “Pole to Pole” series with Will Smith. Researchers encountered these giants “lurking in the shallows”, their impressive size leaving a lasting impression.

Genetic analysis confirms the new species diverged from its southern cousin around 10 million years ago, differing by a significant 5.5% – comparable to the human-chimp gap! This finding highlights the Amazon’s hidden diversity and underscores the need for urgent conservation efforts.

As apex predators, healthy anaconda populations are crucial for maintaining balanced ecosystems. Their decline can signal environmental distress, making species identification and monitoring critical.

Unfortunately, these giants face numerous threats: habitat loss due to agriculture, fires, and climate change, along with oil spills impacting their reproduction. Research into these threats is crucial for their survival.

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