Реферат: Alligator Essay Research Paper The American Crocodile

Alligator Essay, Research Paper

The American Crocodile (Crocodiles acutus) Crocodylus acutus, or more commonly

referred to as the American crocodile, "?is the second most widely

distributed of the New World crocodiles, ranging from the southern tip of

Florida, both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of Southern Mexico, as well as the

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Caribbean islands of Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola" (1 Species). These

areas provide the perfect climate for these endangered species that have roamed

the earth for over 200 million years. Florida is known for its large population

of American alligators, which are often confused for the rare American

crocodile. However, there are vast differences between the two species. Hunted

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for their hides and the changing of their habitat to beach front property is

slowly pushing the American crocodile out of Florida, the only place it is found

in the United States. "For 190 million years before the first humans

evolved, huge populations of crocodilians, in more or less their present form,

inhabited the waters and shorelines of rivers, lakes, swamps, and estuaries of

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tropical and subtropical lands. Today they represent the last true survivors of

the huge reptiles that once dominated the seas and landmasses of Earth for over

200 million years" (6 Levy). However, "?It is inappropriate to treat

crocodilians as living fossils whose inferiority forced them into a marginal

ecological role as amphibious predators in a world now dominated by mammals. In

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fact, they are highly specialized for their particular mode of life and have

undergone considerable changes during their long evolutionary history?"

(14 Ross). "Among living vertebrates, crocodilians are most closely related

to birds rather than to lizards" (14). Even though these two groups are now

adapted to different modes of life, they both have an elongate outer ear canal,

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a muscular gizzard, and complete separation of the ventricles of the heart.

"Crocodilians are the most advanced of all reptiles. They are elongated,

armored, and lizard-like, with a muscular, laterally shaped tail used in

swimming. The snout is also elongated, with the nostrils set to the end to allow

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