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Paleosuchus palpebrosus, also known as Cuvier's dwarf caiman. Credit: Kent Vliet/University of Florida.
The iconic "death roll" of alligators and crocodiles may be more common among species than previously believed, according to a new study published in Ethology, Ecology & Evolution and coauthored by a researcher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Belief - Crocodiles - Bite - Twisting - Motion—a
Contrary to popular belief, crocodiles can't chew, so they use a powerful bite coupled with a full-bodied twisting motion—a death roll—to disable, kill, and dismember prey into smaller pieces. The lethal movement is characteristic of both alligators and crocodiles and has been featured in numerous movies and nature documentaries.
Until now, the death roll had only been documented in a few of the 25 living crocodilian species, but how many actually do it?
Tests - Species - Behavior - Author - Stephanie
"We conducted tests in all 25 species, and 24 of them exhibited the behavior," said lead author Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, a paleontologist and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UT.
For the research, Drumheller-Horton teamed up with Kent Vliet from the University of Florida and Jim Darlington, curator of reptiles at the St. Augustine Alligator...
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