Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Wonambi naracoortensis

Wonambi naracoortensis. This was the first extinct snake described from Australia. It belonged to the Madtsoiidae, and grew to about 5-6 m. The name derives from the aboriginal rainbow serpent inhabiting water holes that was an enforcer of tribal law. It was apparently a constrictor, though its skull was relatively small and doesn't seem to have been as expandable as in modern pythons, which probably limited the size of prey more than would be expected by its body size, probably restricting it to small to medium sized mammals. Madtsoiid snake fossils have been found on all the Gondwanan continents, dying out about 56 million years ago elsewhere but surviving in Australia until sometime since about 50,000 years ago. This species was apparently the last of the madtsoiids.


Naracoorte fossils

Australian Dinosaurs
Amphibian Fossil Deposits
Fossil Fish Beds
Naracoorte Fossil Site
Riversleigh Fossil Field
Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Sources & Further reading

  1. Patricia Vickers-Rich, Thomas Hewitt Rich, Wildlife of Gondwana, Reed Australia, 1993
  2. Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Hand & Henk Godthelp, 2000, Australia's Lost World: Riversleigh, world heritage Site, Reed New Holland
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 30/09/2011
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