These monsters are all dead

I hope you all like long tubular creatures, because that’s all I’ve got for you today. Maybe they’d be less horrifying if they had lots of legs?

Here’s a 4-meter long salamander-like beast from the Permian, named Gaiasia.

I’ve seen giant salamanders before, but not ones with big box-like skulls full of razor-sharp fangs.

Here’s another muscular tube, Vasuki indicus, only 47 million years old, but somewhere around 10-15 meters long.

The amusing thing about this beast is that everyone in the popular press treatment is making it all about how long it is — it’s a partial skeleton, there’s not enough to determine exactly how long it is. It’s either shorter than Titanoboa, the gold standard of giant ancient snakes, or bigger than Titanoboa. It’s not a competition, people! They’re separated by about 10 million years. But of course they’re in competition for starring roles in cheesy sci-fi CGI epics.

That’s why we’re seeing ridiculous comparisons like this one:

OK, the snake was longer than T. rex, but so what? It wasn’t as massive, and they were temporally distant from one another. This illustration reveals how some people are thinking:

That could be an ad for the next movie by The Asylum. These kinds of team-ups are popular to promote cheese, like Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla or Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Learn to love Vasuki for itself, OK?


  1. StevoR says

    Looks like a giant aquatic ancient caecilan -the least known and seen type of amphibian that shows how convergent evolution shapes earthworms, legless lizards, snakes and, well, caecilians alike :

    Of course, there are still mysteries in the vasty deeps of the oceans even now too..

  2. says

    I’d be content with, “This is a neat critter, here’s what we’ve learned about it so far.” Nature’s come up with a lot of wild stuff over the eras.

  3. Snidely W says

    Yeah, hyperbole sucks.
    Like “skulls full of razor-sharp fangs”. There was nothing razor-like about them. ( And most Paleozoic amphibians had similar teeth.) You couldn’t shave with them. You couldn’t slice a piece of paper, etc.
    “Pointy, stabby teeth” would be more to the point. “Razor-sharp” really doesn’t apply to pretty much all tetrapod teeth (including dinosaurs). If anyone has shaved effectively with any tetrapod teeth, I want to see the video. Show me.

  4. outis says

    Good thing they are long dead, ‘cos they wouldn’t have liked the insults. Not only ridicolous comparisons, in the British press (BBC, Guardian and the like) Gaiasia is described as having a “toilet-like head”.
    Such insolence.

  5. Alan G. Humphrey says

    outis @ 5
    When I go to the head it is usually for toilet purposes. I was surprised the British press had concluded that Gaiasian technology had reached the loo level, but then recalled that it is the press that has reached loo level.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    If you like non-dead aquatic thingies I just learned of footage from above Miami beach, with sharks swimming under water near the people on 4th of July. (Yes, I know most sharks just nibble on people before realising this is not a seal or whatever their favourite food is)

  7. Jazzlet says

    Ooooh that takes me back, only to 1978, and a school field trip that included seeing what we could find in the mud of an estuary at low tide. Unsurprisingly the answer was mostly worms, but a variety of them including one that took twelve of us to support with our hands evenly spread to support the giant. Mind while it was long it was only about half a centimeter in diameter, which was why we were being so very careful in supporting it, we were concerned it might be damaged by too great a length of it hanging free. Curled round in a pile it fit it in two (small) hands.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    John Morales @ 10

    Australia – the continent whose ecology has a compulsion to one-up the rest of the world.

    The one exaggeration was the old film “Razorback” – I don’t think feral hogs can get that big. Unless the conservatives have permitted the dumping of growth hormones in the environment? That is always a possibity.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Paul Hogan must be around 90 years old. They should offer him a cameo role in some high budget horror film. (An old Aussie tourist who bangs the latest feral velociraptor in the head, saving the protagonist?)

  10. stuffin says

    Slightly off topic: Back many years ago when I managed multiple aquariums (bred discus fish and sold the fry back to the local pet stores), The fiercest fish I ever had was a Snakehead. That damn thing ate everything in the tank. The depiction of Gaiasia. remined me of that bastard,

  11. raven says

    These monsters are all dead

    Monsters? Where?

    All I see is some long dead charismatic megafauna that are carnivores.
    For some definitions of charismatic maybe. It helps that they are long gone.
    They are just animals living their ordinary lives. They have no malevolent intentions.

    The only monsters I’m aware of in Real Life are mostly right wingnut humans. And while some of them are dead, many of them are way too alive.
    And, they may be running the USA after the next election.

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