miniformat65 / Pixabay A newly discovered crocodile species in Central Africa has soft skin, unlike its relatives. It was previously…
miniformat65 / Pixabay
A newly discovered crocodile species in Central Africa has soft skin, unlike its relatives. It was previously considered to be the same as its counterpart from Western Africa. Now scientists have found a way to explain why it has soft skin, which makes it different from its western relatives.
Researchers published their findings in the journal ZooTaxa . The Mecistrops Cataphractus population, living in West Africa, is critically threatened. There are only about 500 animals left now when researchers have recognized their soft relatives as a separate species, according to National Geographic.
The newly discovered crocodile from Central Africa is scientifically known as Mecistops leptorhynchus, ] or the beautiful twisted crocodile. The scales of this nature are smaller and softer, and they lack the bony core found on other crocodile shells.
The two crocodiles had been classified under the same name since 1
835, but study writer Matt Shirley told Newsweek in an interview that researchers have not liked that classification for several years. The newly discovered crocodiles are from Cameroon to Tanzania, and researchers believe it diverged from other crocodiles about 8 million years ago due to intensive volcanic activity. Shirley told National Geographic that the great mountainous boundary deriving from that activity shared the two crocodiles.
“This meant, in principle, that I drove around 14 different African countries from 2006-2012 and I have not left the field since,” told Newsweek. “Field work was long hours of kayaking thousands [miles] up and down rivers that were looking for Crocs to try, move vast distances between places and countries working with local authorities for research permits and export permits, not to mention new languages, cultures and diseases like malaria. “
Although Shirley encountered malaria 16 times, he did not give up his research.
“Sometimes the difficulties facing us in the region are enough to give a break,” he said.
Shirley also said that splitting the samples apart while looking for discrete differences between them was “very boring work”. The team had to do extra work because of the loss of M. cataphractusholo originally used to mark differences between the two species as far back as World War II according to National Geographic.
The new art classification helps organizations that protect threatened creatures to distinguish them and provide better protection. Shirley’s team works with West African governments to introduce a breeding program and help local conservation activities aimed at supporting endangered species.
The newly discovered crocodiles and its relative M. cataphractus are not the only species in the decline and approach the eradication site. Scientists recently discovered that eradication rates are overall development driven by human activities.
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