TITANOBOA Shows That Snakes Aren't Only A Thing of the Past
May 10, 2012
According to a Gallup poll from 2001, snakes rate up there as the average person’s number one dread: as many of 51% of people cite a fear of slithering snakes among their greatest reservations. Among that 51%, I’d probably rate somewhere near the top – snakes and me do not get along … but, somehow – call it a miracle, if you will – I managed to make it through the Smithsonian Channel’s latest DVD release, TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE, with very little nervousness. Now, in fairness, that could be because TITANOBOA was largely about an extinct snake, so maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I knew all along that I had nothing to fear.
Still, this 92 minute presentation was fascinating as it put a decidedly human face on the quest to locate the history surrounding Titanoboa.
A graduate student discovered what he believed was part of a turtle fossil in a coal mine just outside of Cerrejon. Once the fragment was reviewed by other students back in the United States, it turned out to be a single vertebra from a massive snake. Upon comparison with other graphically classified vertebras, it was discovered that this snake would have been nearly 50 feet long and weighed over 2,500 lbs.! Needless to say, worldwide snake experts were immediately riveted with this find, as the next closest size was less than 35 feet … and so the quest began to travel the world speaking with every other expert of its kind in order to piece together what may’ve happened to this giant species. It ends up being an amazing journey by a few college professors as they go out into the field to capture reflections and theories from similar professionals about what may’ve happened, and they even commission an artist to build a life-size replica of how this special beast may’ve looked.
Sure, there are plenty of other snakes on display here, but take it from this guy who’s probably just as afraid as you are: it’s a pleasant experience! The majority of images shown of Titanoboa itself are computer graphics, as the film seeks to depict how it may’ve moved and swam and hunted its prey. Much of this takes place in deep water, so it’s plenty murky, too. There are some scenes of large snakes being dissected, but, as this program was clearly intended for television broadcast, it’s plenty family friendly.
The disc comes from Smithsonian Channel in association with Shaw Media and Fremantlemedia. It’s distributed by Inception Media Group. There are no special features, but, when you’re dealing with snakes, do you REALLY want to get too many additional looks at these creatures?
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Inception Media Group provided me with a DVD screener of TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE for the expressed purposes of completing this review.