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A Mega Snake Species Just Discovered in the Amazon

So, get this: A bunch of brainiacs trailed by camera-toting adventurers deep in the uncharted Amazon just stumbled upon a humongous snake that’s been slithering under the radar. We’re talking about a mega-sized snake that could star in its own horror flick. Professor Bryan Fry and his crew of intrepid researchers from The University of Queensland are the ones to thank for getting up close and personal with what they’re calling the northern green anaconda, or as the science squad named it, Eunectes akayima. These gargantuan serpents were found hanging out in the Baihuaeri Waorani Territory of Ecuador, making themselves at home in the dense jungle.

Professor Fry said, “Our team received a rare invitation from the Waorani people to explore the region and collect samples from a population of anacondas, rumored to be the largest in existence. The indigenous hunters took us into the jungle on a 10-day expedition to search for these snakes, which they consider sacred. We paddled canoes down the river system and were lucky enough to find several anacondas lurking in the shallows, lying in wait for prey. The size of these magnificent creatures was incredible – one female anaconda we encountered measured an astounding 6.3 meters long. There are anecdotal reports from the Waorani people of other anacondas in the area measuring more than 7.5 meters long and weighing around 500 kilograms.”

Professor Fry was dropping some serious knowledge bombs on us about these legless giants. He mentioned that these northern green beasties split off from their southern cousins a whopping 10 million years back. They’re not just your regular run-of-the-mill snake family reunion – nope, they’re rocking a 5.5 percent genetic difference, making them a whole new level of slithery cool. It’s like if Darth Vader had a long-lost sibling in another galaxy, except it’s all happening right here in Earth’s own backyard.

He said, “It’s quite significant – to put it in perspective, humans differ from chimpanzees by only about 2 per cent. This discovery is the highlight of my career.”

Check this out: While the cameras were rolling for the epic National Geographic’s Disney+ series “Pole to Pole” – you know, the one with Will Smith hosting – Professor Fry, who’s a total rockstar in the National Geographic world, was leading the scientific charge. And during what I can only imagine was one heck of an adventurous shoot, they hit the jackpot by crossing paths with this newly-identified species of mega anaconda. Talk about a serendipitous cameo for the scaly giant in the upcoming series! How’s that for an episode spoiler, huh?

“Our journey into the heart of the Amazon, facilitated by the invitation of Waorani Chief Penti Baihua, was a true cross-cultural endeavor. The importance of our Waorani collaborators is recognised with them being co-authors on the paper,” Fry said.

Oh, and the plot thickens with a side of science, people. Professor Fry’s crew went full CSI: Amazon style, comparing the DNA jazz of these giant snakes with data from Dr. Jesus Rivas – you know, the big kahuna of anaconda gurus from New Mexico Highlands University. They’re not just checking who’s related to who in the snake world, but they’re also using these green giants as a sort of barometer for the health of the whole Amazon crib.

But here’s the kicker: while the science squad is geeking out over snake DNA, there’s a real nail-biter of a drama going down in the jungle. Professor Fry drops the bomb that the Amazon is kinda like the detention hall of nature’s school right now. Yikes. We’re losing trees faster than a rigged game of Jenga, and that’s bad news bears for everyone – not just the critters and indigenous folks calling it home, but for the whole planet. Talk about an ‘SOS’ moment for Mother Earth, am I right?

“Deforestation of the Amazon basin from agricultural expansion has resulted in an estimated 20-31 per cent habitat loss, which may impact up to 40 per cent of its forests by 2050. Another increasing problem is habitat degradation from land fragmentation, led by industrialised agriculture and heavy metal pollution associated with spills from oil extraction activities. Forest fires, drought and climate change are also notable threats. These rare anacondas, and the other species that share this remote ecosystem, face significant challenges.”

Alright, buckle up because Professor Fry ain’t done yet. He’s already planning his next adventure – and it’s a doozy. Imagine a headbanging mosh pit in the depths of the Amazon, only instead of rockers, it’s heavy metals we’re talking about. That’s right, Professor Fry and his squad are diving into the nitty-gritty of heavy metal pollution in the jungle’s veins. Think less Metallica and more mercury, you know? They’re on a mission to find out how all this toxic stuff is affecting our slithery friends and the rest of the ecosystem. It’s like switching from herpetology to hardcore environmental detective work.

“It’s not only these gigantic snakes that are facing environmental threats, but almost all living things in the region. The discovery of a new species of anaconda is exciting, but it is critical to highlight the urgent need to further research these threatened species and ecosystems. Of particular urgency is research into how petrochemicals from oil spills are affecting the fertility and reproductive biology of these rare snakes and other keystone species in the Amazon,” Professor Fry said.

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