Crocodiles first emerged in the Mesozoic epoch, around 200 million years ago, and outlived dinosaurs. Crocodiles may be found in freshwater rivers, streams, and marshes in over 90 countries. Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, and Gavialidae are the three families that make up these 23 species.
Crocodiles that are sociable transmit various signals, ranging from courting to distress. They eat frogs, fish, turtles, and other animals while swimming in their natural environment. Many crocodiles ingest boulders to lower their center of gravity and improve their swimming ability. Crocodiles’ watery lifestyle, according to evolutionary experts, may have helped them escape the hypothetical asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.
But how closely were crocodiles and dinosaurs linked if they existed simultaneously? Dinosaurs and crocodiles are reptiles. They have cold-blooded blood circulation that is heated and cooled by their surroundings. Physical similarities, like stretchy skin and formidable fangs and claws, are also apparent. However, many experts think that birds, not crocodiles, are dinosaur descendants. On the other hand, birds and crocodiles are the only extant animals with a common ancestry with dinosaurs.
We can observe magnificent species on the numerous branches of the crocodile family tree if we look closely. Like other creepy crawlers like snakes and lizards, Crocodiles belong to the taxonomic class Reptilia. Birds, according to paleontologists, fall into this group as well. Crocodiles, unlike snakes and lizards, are more closely related to birds.
We can figure out how dinosaurs fit into a prehistoric family picture with a little investigation into this unexpected crocodile-bird relationship. How could a crocodile have anything to do with a frail robin or sparrow? It all comes down to common ancestors. Taxonomists classify animals according to where they came from or who they descended from. A monophyletic taxon comprises all descendants of a single common ancestor. These taxa may then be graphically arranged into a cladogram, which depicts how the various taxa are related to one another.
An ancient species known as the archosaurs serves as our anchor for crocodiles, birds, and dinosaurs.
During the Carboniferous epoch, archosaurs, sometimes known as ruling reptiles, evolved about 250 million years ago. The two holes on the sides of archosaurs’ heads are their most distinguishing feature. Bird crocodiles (Ornithosuchia) and false crocodiles(Pseudosuchia) are the two types of four-legged animals. Crocodiles do not belong to false crocodiles due to an odd taxonomic destiny.
So, how does this categorization relate to whether or not crocodiles are descendants of dinosaurs? Dinosaurs join the Ornithosuchia branch with birds and other flying reptiles. Dinosaurs and crocodiles developed independently despite sharing a common ancestor with the archosaur.
Some crocodile species are now threatened by habitat degradation. People are forcing reptiles out of their natural environment, even though they could endure the blast of an asteroid that transformed the physical world. The two most endangered crocodile species are the Chinese alligator and the Philippine crocodile. Both are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, which signifies a danger of extinction. Captive breeding may aid in the recovery of populations that are on the verge of extinction.