Crocodiles crossed Atlantic to Americas


This is a Nile crocodile video.

From ANI in India:

Crocodiles swam Atlantic to reach America 7 mn years ago!

London, May 12: A finding from the most complete evolutionary tree of the genus Crocodylus, featuring all but one of the living crocodile species, has revealed that crocodiles swam thousands of kilometres from Africa to colonise the Americas.

On sequencing the mitochondrial genomes of all 11 species, eight of which had not had their mitochondrial DNA sequenced before, Evon Hekkala of Fordham University in New York and colleagues found that all four American species are most closely related to the Nile crocodiles of east Africa, reports New Scientist.

According to the finding they must have split away roughly 7 million years ago, long after Africa and South America began drifting apart 130 million years ago. By 7 million years ago, over 2800 kilometres of ocean lay between the two continents.

Palaeontologists have long suspected that crocodiles swam the Atlantic, but Hekkala’s finding is “strong evidence in support of that scenario”, said Christopher Brochu of the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Crocodiles are salt-tolerant and can go up to six months without eating and females can carry viable sperm for several months after mating, which means a single female could have crossed the Atlantic and produced a litter on the other side. It’s unlikely that a single such event would have given rise to all American crocodiles.

But Hekkala pointed out that animals that got lost at sea off the coast of Africa may well have been carried across on the westward-flowing equatorial currents.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com

5 thoughts on “Crocodiles crossed Atlantic to Americas

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