Found a new difference between alligators and crocodiles

Comparing the skeletons of 120 alligators and crocodiles, including extinct ones, Japanese scientists found another, previously unknown difference between the first and second. It turned out that alligators have shorter bones of the hind limbs, pelvis and vertebrae. It is unlikely to help distinguish an alligator from a crocodile in the wild, but now scientists know why crocodiles (at least small ones) can run a little, but alligators do not. Perhaps the difference in the length of the bones explains the difference in the distribution of alligators and crocodiles and their ecology, but scientists have yet to verify this assumption.

You can distinguish an alligator from a crocodile by more noticeable signs, without measuring the bones of its hind legs. The teeth of alligators stick out even when the mouth is closed, but the crocodiles do not; in addition, crocodiles have longer and sharper muzzles, and for alligators, respectively - blunt and relatively short. But for the rest, they look very similar to each other for units that dispersed as much as 80 million years ago. For comparison, the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans lived about 7 million years ago.

Masaya Iijima / Hokkaido University On the left is the crocodile's face, on the right is the alligator.

The study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science .

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