Project uses mummy DNA to differentiate croc species

December 19, 2011

The Nile crocodile is a species that was identified by ancient Egyptians. Genetic analysis done by a group of geneticists using samples taken from species throughout the animal's range and including DNA from mummified crocodile remains indicates that more than one species is known by this name.

"This paper provides a remarkable surprise: the Nile crocodile is not a single species, as previously thought, but instead demonstrates two species - living side-by side - constitute what has been called the Nile croc." Said Marlys Houck, geneticist with Global's Institute of Conservation Research. "Even more remarkably, they are not each other's closest relatives; one is more closely related to New World crocodilians. The cryptic Crocodylus suchus is a unique entity worthy of a conservation strategy separate from the Nile crocodile populations of East and southern Africa."

The study, published in the October issue of , provides important information about a species that is not only an important historical icon but also critically endangered. Recent survey efforts indicate that Crocodylus suchus is declining or extirpated throughout much of its distribution. Conservationists feel that without proper recognition of this species, current sustainable use-based management policies for the Nile crocodile may do more harm than good.

Explore further: Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

Related Stories

Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

November 18, 2009

(AP) -- Conservationists searching for one of the world's most endangered crocodile species say they have found dozens of the reptiles lounging in plain sight - at a wildlife rescue center in Cambodia.

Borneo's crocodiles 'no longer endangered'

June 28, 2010

Wildlife officials in Malaysian Borneo are pushing to have its saltwater crocodiles removed from a list of endangered animals, saying the reptile's numbers have strongly recovered in recent years.

Endangered crocodiles released to fight extinction

January 27, 2011

Nineteen of the world's most critically endangered crocodiles were released Thursday into the wild in the Philippines as part of efforts to save the species from extinction, conservationists said.

20 endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Laos

August 26, 2011

(AP) -- One of the world's rarest crocodile species has moved a little bit further from extinction with the hatching of 20 wild eggs plucked from a nest found in southern Laos.

No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official

September 14, 2011

Efforts to save the Philippine crocodile, a "critically endangered" reptile, could go in vain as bureaucrats oppose their release into the wild, a top Philippine environment official said Wednesday.

Nile crocodile is actually two different species

September 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from the Fordham University in New York have uncovered evidence that what the world has looked to as the iconic Nile crocodile is actually two different species of crocodile that are only distantly ...

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.