Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Female Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus, Critically endangered. Now is that a toothy smile or what? That's enough to keep me out of the water!
In case you haven't guessed from the name (think Ganges), Gharials come from India. This is one of three crocodile species found in India, the others being the Mugger crocodile and the Saltwater crocodile (all equally scary looking...). Their reduced weight, bone structure and musculature versus other crocodile species allows increases speed (but reduced strength), an adaptation to their diet of small fish (I'm still not going in the water with them...). The Gharial's ancestors parted from the main line of crocodiles (morphology, etc.) in the Cretaceous. They are supposedly not maneaters (although they have been found with jewelry in their stomachs!).