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The story behind this significant scientific revelation began in 2002, when a Colombian student visiting the coal mine made an intriguing discovery: a fossilized leaf that hinted at an ancient rainforest from the Paleocene epoch. Over the following decade, collecting expeditions led by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida opened a unique window into perhaps the first rainforest on Earth. Fossil finds included giant turtles and crocodiles, as well as the first known bean plants and some of the earliest banana, avocado and chocolate plants. But their most spectacular discovery was the fossilized vertebrae of a previously undiscovered species of snake, one so large it defied imagination.
A scientifically accurate, life-sized replica of Titanoboa appears in the film and will go on display for the first time at the National Museum of Natural History beginning March 30, 2012. The exhibition will travel to museums across the country beginning in fall 2013. Titanoboa: Monster Snake is a collaboration between the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Tropical Research Institute, and is circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
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