Crocodilia, the Genus that includes Crocodiles, Alligators and Caimans
Crocodilia is a genus that includes crocodiles, alligators, gharials and caimans. However, they all have enough differences that they belong in different families. This term is one that refers to reptiles in general though. It dates more than 200 million years ago which is long before the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Many people find it surprising that they are closely related to birds. That has been documented and verified though through extensive testing including DNA extraction. The size of crocodilia ranges from the small Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman to the largest which is the Saltwater Crocodile.
These animals have been able to adapt to a variety of surroundings. Evolution has always been believed to play a vital role in animals surviving. Yet it is believed crocodilia have remained basically the same since the beginning of time. You may not be able to tell it from looking at them, but they have one of the most complex body designs of all animals in the world.
They all feature very powerful jaws as well as sharp teeth. What is interesting is that they continue to grow new teeth when others fall out. This is part of how they are able to live to be 70 to100 years of age. They are able to go through about 3,000 teeth if they live to be that old. Of course only a very small percentage of them make it from a youngster to an adult. Once a crocodilia is mature it is less likely to be bothered by predators.
Crocodilia are designed to be able to breathe while under the water. This is possible due to them having a bony palate. They have a valve that will pinch the nostrils closed so that water doesn’t enter them. They are often seen in the water and on land with their mouth open. Many view this as a sign of aggressive that they are ready to attack. However, many experts believe that this is something they do in order to help cool their body temperature.
They have a four chambered heart and a body that is well designed for their needs. One way that they help to digest their food is to shallow rocks. This helps to grind up the food particles so that can pass to the body and be used for energy. All crocodilian have thick scales that cover their bodies.
The use of crocodilia skins to make leather goods is very popular. The design is one humans are fascinated with. It holds up well to the elements as well. In fact this is a common reason why so many of them are hunted. There is plenty of money to be made by selling the skins from them to various entities.
Most humans don’t really care much for crocodilia. They have negative image in the mind of people. Therefore when it comes to clearing out areas where they live for development of homes or businesses there is usually little opposition. There are some advocate groups out there though that strive to offer them some help. They also try to educate the public about the facts concerning these types of animals.
Even though crocodiles, alligators and caimans are all in the crocodilian family they do have many things that differentiate among them. It can be fun to explore those differences so you can find out what each one offers. You can also further explore the different species of each.