Saturday, June 29, 2019

Vegetarian Crocodiles Evolved On Three Independent Occasions

The New York Times has a fascinating article about the vegetarian episodes in crocodile evolution. The lede is as follows:
Imagine you’re a small mammal of the Mesozoic. Snuffling around one day, you run into a cat-size, scaly, big-eyed reptile that looks not unlike a crocodile found later in the 21st century. Spotting you, he opens his mouth wide to reveal … tiny, intricate teeth. Then he turns his head and munches on some leaves. 
Such encounters may have been common in prehistory. Research published Thursday in Current Biology suggests that vegetarianism evolved at least three separate times in ancient crocs — a conclusion reached after scientists studied the unusual teeth sported by many species, including the Simosuchus described above.
There's nothing paradigm breaking about the results, but they're still pretty neat and expand your sense of what is possible. 


DDeden said...

That explains the artistic application of camouflage employed by diverse lineages of tropical fauna, blending into the jungle background, rather than running away on rootless legs...

DDeden said...

Oops, I meant flora.

Speaking of semi-aquatic fauna & flora... article on bonobo chimps getting iodine from Congo aquatic vegetation implies ancient humans could have done the same: