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Evolution Of The Alagator Essay

962 words - 4 pages

Evolution of the Alligator

Evolution of the Alligator
One of the most highly evolved animals on the Earth today is the alligator. Found mainly in the swamps and warmer climates of the earth, these predators are one of the few animals left that existed when the dinosaurs roamed the planet. Over the millennia, they have evolved into one of the most feared and interesting creatures today. However, the modern alligator is a far cry from its ancestral roots.
Today, by looking at the anatomy of the alligator there are many similarities between alligators and humans. (Jones, 2011) Most of their internal organs are located in roughly the same place as a human. The liver and spleen are ...view middle of the document...

When alligators first left the land, they had a hard time eating fish and other marine live due to living in shallower water and lack of movement in the water. There was, however an ample supply of animals that would come to the water to drink. In order to hunt the animals, their noses became longer to encase more of the prey in their jaws and the bite grew more powerful so as to incapacitate the animal and lessen the chance of escape. Also this was the time where the species grew to enormous sizes, imitating their dinosaur cousins. However, these “super crocs” were believed to have died out due to the extinction event that also claimed the dinosaurs. It is interesting to note that even though the “super crocs” may have been wiped out, but the smaller version we see today did survive the event.
Two other characteristics we see today in alligators are their hard top skin, and long tail. Since the alligator is cold blooded, it uses its skin to help regulate its internal temperature. Since it spends most of its time in the water, the top of the alligator is darker in order to absorb the sunlight while on land or in the water. While in the water, the alligator can position its body on the top of or completely underneath the water while keeping its head and eyes on the surface. This allows the alligator the ability to obtain heat from warmer pockets of water under the surface while still being able to breath. This is how many believe the alligator can survive temperatures of almost freezing. (Orobello, 2012)
The tail is one part of the anatomy that has had little change over the centuries. The tail accounts for about half of an alligators total length. The tail is used primarily for movement in the water and for defense. When...

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