Project uses mummy DNA to differentiate croc species

Dec 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: Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost

Provided by Zoological Society of San Diego

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nile crocodile is actually two different species

Sep 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 ...

No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official

Sep 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.

Borneo's crocodiles 'no longer endangered'

Jun 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.

Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

Nov 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.

20 endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Laos

Aug 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.

Endangered crocodiles released to fight extinction

Jan 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.

Recommended for you

Scientists target mess from Christmas tree needles

4 hours ago

The presents are unwrapped. The children's shrieks of delight are just a memory. Now it's time for another Yuletide tradition: cleaning up the needles that are falling off your Christmas tree.

The ants that conquered the world

Dec 24, 2014

About one tenth of the world's ants are close relatives; they all belong to just one genus out of 323, called Pheidole. "If you go into any tropical forest and take a stroll, you will step on one of these ...

Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces

Dec 23, 2014

Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, UK published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go lef ...

User comments : 0

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.