Madtsoia is an extinct snake which lived from approximately 90 million years ago to 2 million years ago – from the Late Cretaceous Period through the Pleistocene Period. It was first discovered during the 1930s in Argentina and was named by George Gaylord Simpson in 1933.
One of the most important facts about Madtsoia is that it is more important as a representative of a genus than it is as a specific species. What I mean by that it is the representative snake of all of the snake ancestors of today – the madtsoiidae. Animals which were widely distributed all across the planet for over 88 million years ago. However, it is currently unclear how these prehistoric snakes were related to the snakes of today.
If you take a look at Madtsoia pictures, then you’ll notice this snake was approximately 30 feet long and weighed around 50 pounds. However, there have been specimens found that were only 10 feet long and weighed approximately 5 pounds, so with current evidence, it is unclear just how big these snakes grew.
What is known about this snake, however, is that it probably hunted and killed its prey much like a modern boa. It would wrap itself around its prey and then constrict it to death. This resulted in the animal not being able to breathe, and thereby asphyxiating, or damage being done to the animal’s heart – which would have led to cardiac arrest. Either way, this snake then would’ve been able to swallow it prey whole and digest it and its leisure.
While paleontologists don’t exactly know why these snakes were able to survive the K/T Extinction Event, there are a few theories. One of these theories is that this reptile’s cold-blooded nature and slower metabolism saved it. It is believed that dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded. However, even if they weren’t, they most likely had metabolisms which were faster and required constant fuel from food. When the extinction level event happened, there just wasn’t enough food to support these dinosaurs and they died. Madtsoia was cold-blooded and had a slower metabolism, so it could handle the scarcity in food and essentially wait for the planet to rebound.