Category: 

Have Crocodiles Always Been Carnivorous?

Article Details
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In Disney theme parks, the photos of Walt Disney in which he is smoking have been altered to remove the cigarettes.  more...

June 4 ,  1989 :  The massacre in Tiananmen Square occurred, ending weeks of protests.  more...

There are many types of creatures that have been part of the crocodile family over the centuries. Today’s large, four-limbed crocs continue to thrive on a carnivorous diet, but many of their ancestors -- those “herbivorous crocodyliforms” that preferred plant-based diets -- didn’t survive the mass extinction event that wiped out nearly all lifeforms on Earth around 66 million years ago. By studying fossilized teeth of ancient crocodile-like reptiles, scientists have determined that three independent groups of ancient crocodyliforms went vegetarian throughout the long course of evolution, probably about 200 million years ago.

What big, sharp teeth you have:

  • Scientists say that meat-eating predators have teeth “that look like steak knives -- thin and sharp, straight and simple, with no frills.” Plant eater teeth have “nooks and crannies” used to grind the various plant parts.

  • All terrestrial crocs have gone extinct, not just the herbivores. The two dozen species on Earth today live near lakes, rivers, and seashores, where they can hunt for meat and fish.

  • Modern-day crocs are not strict carnivores, though. Many species have been known to eat fruit occasionally, sometimes plucked right off trees.

You might also Like

Recommended

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email