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Madagascar’s extinct horned crocodiles earn their place as ‘real’ crocodiles

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Scientists say they were able to resolve a long-standing controversy over an extinct horned crocodile that lived among humans in Madagascar, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, claiming that this particular crocodile, Voay Robustus, was closely linked to modern times. true ”crocodiles but on a separate branch of the crocodile family tree. Based on UKTN research, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History said they tried to dispel doubts that remained despite 150 years of investigation.

The study, published in the journal Communications Biology, also suggested that modern crocodiles likely originated from Africa. Madagascar, near the south-eastern coast of Africa, is one of the largest islands in the world.

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The horned crocodile had two bony buttons at the top of its head. The research was based on two skulls that the museum had in its possession since the early 1930s. These skulls were between 1,300 and 1,400 years old and were found during an expedition to southwestern Madagascar, said the Museum.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the specimens were thought to represent very old Nile crocodiles. In 2007, a study concluded that the horned crocodile was not a real crocodile. In the 1870s, it was first described as a new species within the group of “true crocodiles”, which includes crocodiles from the Nile, Asia and America.

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Evon Hekkala, the study’s lead author, said in a report on the museum’s website that the heavy-built horned crocodile was found on the island when people were building the pyramids and possibly also when the pirates were blocked there from 9000 years. since. Horned crocodiles were “the key to understanding” the history of all crocodiles alive today, including the Nile crocodile, added Hekkala, also a research associate at the museum.

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The report states that early explorers noted that the Malagasy people, the natives of Madagascar, regularly spoke of two types of crocodiles on the island: a large crocodile and a thin one. But now only the slender form can be found on the island and in the Nile Delta.

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