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August 26, 2016

Documentary LogoDr. Alex Hastings, assistant curator of paleontology, will be featured in the documentary "Prehistoric Megabeasts: Croc vs Snake", scheduled to debut in the United Kingdom on the British public service television broadcaster, Channel 4, this Sunday at 8 p.m. BST.

Titanoboa, a 43-foot long snake that weighed over 2,500 pounds, was thought to be the biggest, strongest megabeast during the Paleocene epoch of approximately 60 million years ago.  However, giant crocodilians discovered in Colombia have challenged its status as the alpha predator.  This documentary delves into what these ancient animals were like and which one likely claimed the top spot on the food chain.

Hastings role in the documentary centers around his dissertation on the massive crocodiles that lived along side Titanoboa.

“It was great to be a part of the documentary and show off one of the extraordinary creatures that shared the water with the giant snake," said Hastings.  "So far, we have only found one bone, a vertebra from the back, of a really giant crocodile.  That’s not a lot to work with, but thanks to some collaboration and the help of the documentary group we were able to flesh out an idea of how large this animal was and some of how this animal would have faired in its environment alongside Titanoboa.  No question, they were both powerful predators.”

Plans continue to develop for the eventual distribution of the documentary to U.S. audiences.  Any announcement on U.S. distribution will be announced by the museum on its website at www.vmnh.net.

For more information about the documentary, visit http://www.channel4.com/programmes/prehistoric-megabeasts-croc-vs-snake.

Mega Croc vertebrate compared to modern crocodile vertebrate

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