It is a new year! As the calendar flips, many of us are thinking of a new beginning and achieving new goals. Scientists are always on the path to discovery, and recently a group researching American Alligators discovered they can makeover their bodies in a unique way. They can regrow their tails after injury.
Tail regrowth is not a new concept for scientists. Until now, they thought this adaptation was limited to small lizards that can detach their tails and escape further injury. It takes some time, but these lizards regenerate their tails almost as if they were never gone.
A team of scientists from Arizona State University took a look at alligator tails that had once sustained an injury and found new growth. Juvenile alligators can regrow up to 18% of their body length. The regrowth tissue is different than the existing tail and contains cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels.
Researchers will continue looking into the details of how alligators regrow its tail in comparison with other lizards and regeneration by other animals. While this conclusion answers some questions, it brings up many others. Researchers will take this information and may begin to look into historic tail regrowth and medical research.
The American Alligator can be found in lakes, rivers, and swamps from North Carolina to the Texas Rio Grande. They have long “armored” bodies with four short legs and a long tail with a rounded snout that they can stick out of the water and breathe while they are submerged. They travel in a small area but can go further distances during mating season. Baby alligators generally hatch toward the end of August and make high-pitched noises before hatching. It is a long road to adulthood and stay with their mother for two or three years. Alligators are unique reptiles in this way as well as their ability to lie dormant underwater during cold weather.
Learn more about this scientific discovery and read the full article here!
Find more fun books about reptiles at arbordalepublishing.com.