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  • Fact: World’s Longest Snake

    The longest ever species of snake is the Python! Species of Python can be found all over the world originating from India to Burma and even Africa.

    The World’s Longest; Thelma is an 11 year old reticulated female Python that lives in the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky. She weighs an incredible 200 pounds (91Kg) and stretches up to 20 feet long (6 metres).

    The Python reticulatus are an ancient old species of python known to be currently the largest in the snake animal kingdom. They were discovered in Southeast Asia and have average lifespan of 15-20 years though some have been known to live up to 30 years. The average adult reticulated python usually grow up to 10 to 20 feet long.

    Virgin Birth
    In 2012 Thelma was documentated to have given birth to 6 of her own through virgin birth. Virgin births requiring no mating have started to become popular amongst animals such as the boas, birds, sharks and more including other snakes!

    The fatherless reproduction normally requiring 2 mates to reproduce young is called parthenogenesis. Such a phenomenon occurs when polar bodies, or cells produced with the animal’s egg that usually die or disappear, behave like sperm and fuse with the egg itself.

    The recent uproar in Thelma’s virgin birth was never seen before in Pythons until now. Parthenogenesis is still a mystery however it has been hypothesised that geographical isolation from males is a significant factor.


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  • Fact: The Busiest Gold Mine

    Gold has been mined in many different locations all around the world from the Americas, to Europe and Asia.
    However the busiest of all gold reserve locations; an estimated 55% of all the world’s gold has been mined from the Witwatersrand Basin located on top of the Kaapvaal craton in South Africa.

    Since it was discovered that an incredibly high yield of gold was deposited in Witwatersrand, it triggered an intense gold rush in 1886. Like many diamond discoveries before, the gold rush caused thousands of foreign expatriates to prospect and mine the region.

    The Witwatersrand Basin is a composite foreland basin that developed initially on the cratonward side of an Andean arc, similar to those presently behind the Andes.
    2.7 billion years ago 2 large formations of Earth’s crust known as cratons, collided together.
    The crust formations involved were the Kaapvaal and the Zimbabwe cratons whom after colliding with each other, caused further subsidence and deposition in the Witwatersrand Basin. It’s filled with clastic sedimentary rocks that age predominantly between 2.6-2.8 billion years old.

    The size of the Witwatersrand Basin approximates from 350 km long by 200 km wide. The name ‘Witwatersand’ itself if translated from its Afrikaans name (a West Germanic language of Dutch, French and German origin) would mean ‘White Waters Ridge’.

    Not just Gold!
    In 2005 a survey was undertaken with reports of up to 250,000 tonnes of Uranium metal being situated also in the Witwatersand Basin.

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