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New species of crocodile discovered in Africa


Posted on Friday, 26 October, 2018 | Comment icon 14 comments

Slender-snouted crocodiles are native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Leyo
Researchers from Florida International University have identified the first new species of crocodile in 85 years.
Despite walking the Earth for more than 200 million years, crocodiles continue to throw up surprises.

During a recent study in to slender-snouted crocodiles in Central Africa and West Africa, researcher Matthew Shirley and colleagues came to the conclusion that this particular variety of reptile was not one, but two distinct species - the first discovery of its type in almost nine decades.

At a glance, West African and Central African slender-snouted crocodiles both look extraordinarily similar, however on closer inspection it is possible to note slight difference in the shapes of their skulls.
The reason that nobody had noticed this before is because there has been precious little direct study of these two species, both due to their remote location and their ability to hide very easily.

The discovery has also highlighted just how endangered the West African variety actually is.

"We estimate only 10 percent of slender-snouted crocodiles occur in West Africa, effectively diminishing its population by 90 percent," said Shirley.

"This makes the West African slender-snouted crocodile one of the most critically endangered crocodile species in the world."

Source: UPI.com | Comments (14)


Tags: Crocodile, Africa


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Saru on 26 October, 2018, 17:39
What you are saying may be true, but it doesn't change the core story here which is that the slender-snouted crocodile, which for years was believed to be one species, is now recognized as two distinct species instead of one - hence one additional, or "new", species. Both Dr. Shirley and the Florida International University have described it as a "new species" in an article on the university's own website: https://news.fiu.edu/2018/10/discovered-new-species-of-african-crocodile/127367 If you want to dispute the claim then you'll need to take it up with the university and the study authors dire... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Jenn8779 on 26 October, 2018, 18:45
I just love hearing about anything new in the natural world. It just validates my belief that we haven't discovered all that's out there
Comment icon #7 Posted by Carnoferox on 26 October, 2018, 19:23
"New" implies either newly discovered or newly recognized as distinct, which this species is neither. There is no dispute with the authors as they acknowledge that it is not a new species in the paper. The problem is the poor state of science journalism where reporters don't even bother to read the papers.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Saru on 26 October, 2018, 19:37
The university the paper is from uses the term "new species" in its article covering this story.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Carnoferox on 26 October, 2018, 19:39
Which, as I've already demonstrated, is totally incorrect. This article was not written by any authors of the paper.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Saru on 26 October, 2018, 19:49
Dr Shirley himself is quoted as stating: "My objective wasn’t to describe a new species", the implication being that he has done.  
Comment icon #11 Posted by Carnoferox on 26 October, 2018, 19:50
That's fairly vague, and either way it doesn't change the fact that it isn't a new species. Unless you consider 183 years old "new", that is.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Saru on 26 October, 2018, 20:00
Perhaps you should contact him about it then - arguing about this here isn't going to achieve anything.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Iilaa'mpuul'xem on 27 October, 2018, 14:31
How many animal species are seen on a regular basis that are new to science?.... I mean the majority of us could travel through a jungle, park, desert or the ocean etc and see many species and we would just assume they are all recognised to science, many small frogs or spiders, insects... unless your an expert in that species, we would just assume it has been registered.  This Croc for example, how many people would know the difference between this and other crocs?...  
Comment icon #14 Posted by Adampadum123 on 6 November, 2018, 1:50
I like crocodiles


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