Sixty million years ago, South America was home to a giant snake 13 meters long and weighing more than a ton: the Titanoboa. The remains of 28 specimens of the species were discovered in a mine in Colombia. The snakes lived in lush jungle with a very hot, wet climate. The disappearance of the Titanoboa remains something of a mystery, but seems to have been linked to the loss of its habitat, especially the rivers where it spent most of its time and found its food. Thirty million years later, a species of giant rhinoceros appeared in Pakistan: the Paraceratherium.
It was 8 times bigger than today’s largest rhinos, growing to 7 meters. It also lived in luxuriant jungle, devouring up to 600 kilos of plants a day to feed its colossal appetite. Paraceratherium remains have been found all over Eurasia, from Mongolia to Kazakhstan, Georgia and Romania. They vanished 23 million years ago when the climate grew drier and their jungles were replaced by Mediterranean forest and savannah. In fact, because of their sheer numbers and voraciousness, they helped to make the climate drier by gradually destroying water-retaining jungle.