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World’s Largest Snake, Green Anaconda, Discovered In Amazon

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The world’s largest snake species, the giant green anaconda, was found by researchers in Ecuador’s rainforest, the Amazon. It split off from its closest relatives 10 million years ago, but they still have almost the same appearance now.

The scale of these 20-foot-long (6.1-meter-long) reptiles is demonstrated in an internet video featuring Dutch biologist Freek Vonk, one of the researchers, swimming next to a massive 200-kilo (441-pound) sample.

The scientific journal Diversity this month reported that the new “northern green anaconda” belongs to a different, new species, Eunectes akiyama. Previously, it was believed that there was only one species of green anaconda in the wild, the Eunectes murinus.

“What we were there to do was use the anacondas as an indicator species for what kind of damage is being done by the oil spills that are plaguing the Yasuni in Ecuador, because the oil extraction is absolutely out of control,” researcher Bryan G. Fry said.

According to Fry, an Australian biology professor at the University of Queensland who has spent nearly two decades studying South American anaconda species, the discovery enables them to demonstrate that the two species split from one another approximately 10 million years ago.

It astonished the scientists that there is a 5.5% genetic difference between green anaconda snakes despite their striking visual similarity.

According to Fry, anacondas are extremely valuable sources of information on the ecological health of the area and the possible effects of oil spills on human health.

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