What factors help crocodiles survive an extinction event?

Crocodiles have been around for nearly 100 million years, thanks to their special biological characteristics and skills that help them adapt to climate change.

Since appearing on Earth, crocodiles have experienced two major extinction events including mass extinction due to asteroid impact 65.5 million years ago and another devastating life in the ocean. about 33 million years ago. They are the last representative of the lizard group (Archosauria) to this day.

Picture 1 of What factors help crocodiles survive an extinction event?
Crocodile is one of the few species that existed from the time of the dinosaurs.(Photo: DeAgostini).

Previous studies have shown a number of factors that contribute to the evolutionary success of crocodiles, including the ability to stop eating for months and suspend all living activities during the harsh winter. . However, there is still much we do not know about this reptile.

In a new study published in the Linnean Society's Journal of Biology, experts from the University of Bath in England, led by Dr. Rebecca Lakin, analyzed 20 different species of crocodiles from around the world. gender in order to decode their ability to adapt to environmental fluctuations.

Lakin and colleagues have made some important findings. First, they found that small crocodiles tend to live near the equator , while larger species are more common in high latitudes.

"We have identified the relationship between body size and the latitude of the crocodile habitat , something that has not been previously studied, which helps to strengthen our understanding of the fossil distribution above. global , " said Lakin.

However, unlike their turtle relatives, the latitude distribution in crocodiles does not affect the incubation temperature. In turtles, the ideal incubation temperature is closely related to habitat location, making them vulnerable to climate change. For example, when the annual average temperature changes, the hatching rate will be lower. However, crocodile eggs seem to have a "cushion" to deal with heat change. The change in temperature does not greatly affect their incubation.

Reproduction and care of young animals is also an important factor helping crocodiles survive nearly 100 million years. "Mother crocodiles will change their nesting locations over the years, choosing shade spots and are less likely to be flooded to protect eggs. They even guard the nest and take care of the babies some time later. "Turtles and other reptiles do not often care about the nesting location and depend on stable climates to reproduce successfully," Lakin explained.

Despite its extraordinary ability to survive, alligators are still vulnerable to threats from humans such as environmental pollution, hunting or habitat destruction, the team noted.The diversity of crocodiles today is much lower than their ancestors in the time of the dinosaurs.

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