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The Alligator's Relatives Around the Globe



Introduction  |  Alligatoridae  |  Crocodylidae  |  Gavialidae  |  References








The letter"T". here are more than 25 members of Order Crocodylia: alligators, caimans, crocodiles, the Tomistoma and gharial, all distinct. Slender-snouts. Wide snouts. Cold tolerance. Size. Aggression. Dentition. Color. Mating behavior. Scalation. Diet. Vocalization. Location. Adaptation. Evolution. These are just a few of the numerous distinctions between the 26 recognized kinds of crocodilians on earth (with three subspecies). How do scientists keep track, so they may study them? If you're not familiar with the method, here's a simple orientation.


Scientists employ a system called taxonomy, and despite possible confusion among non-scientists in its perception, it is simply the classifying, or ordering, of animals.


IDENTIFYING A NAME. Determining the taxonomy of an animal can entail years of research, but identifying the taxonomical, or scientific name, of a crocodilian based on scientific order is a fairly simple puzzle. It is important to know that scientific taxonomy appropriates the relatively archaic language of Latin (as does the field of law).


For example, the animal known as the Common/Spectacled Caiman is Caiman (genus) crocodilus (species); So, the full name is Caiman crocodilus. The subspecies of that same crocodilus, most commonly known as the Brown Caiman, is fuscus; thus the full name of the subspecies is Caiman crocodilus fuscus.


(Scientific names are usually italicized, with the genus in upper case, species in lower case. Pronunciation of the binomial scientific names need not be difficult; you may go here for a simple Latin tutorial.)


CHANGE OF NAME. You may have heard or read of a species or subspecies that is not listed on this page. Such ones have been excluded from the list here because they're generally not recognized by most professionals since there is not enough data to support a classification as such. The technology used in genetic study is advancing constantly, enabling researchers to discover genetic relationships previously unknown - hence, the classifications are subject to change.


The debate on how much influence DNA analysis should have on classification, however, flourishes anew with the progress of laboratory discovery, since the complexity of the subject raises new issues; and the changing of a genus classification or the establishment of a new species takes time, as science is not supposed to be expedient, but painstakingly prudent, progressing at the rate such requires.


In order to maintain consistency and avoid confusion with alternate names, the taxonomy in this section attempts to adhere to the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. 


This following list of the 26 living, or extant, species is reflective of the Linnean taxonomy system; remove the titles, such as "Class" or" Phylum" and you have the phylogenetic system, which does not recognize characteristics of form, or morphology, that animals have in common, but is based on genetic relationship. Species names listed below feature hyperlinks to profiles which the author believes are the most current and in-depth (vs. summarial) available of the respective species. (These links are provided for informational purposes only; the presence of a link to a website published by another entity does not indicate any formal association of LivingAmong with that entity and should not be construed as such indication.)


This article is divided into sections of genera (multiples of genus) and species lists, represented by links atop this page, each dealing with one of the three families of the order Crocodylia. Each species listed features a link to a recommended online article dealing with that animal. The last section features subject references.



Click on a link from the menu atop this page to navigate this article.



* Links are provided in this article for informational purposes only; the presence of a link to a website published by another entity does not indicate any formal association of with that entity and should not be construed as such indication.


SUGGESTED ARTICLE CITATION: Dupont, Israel. 2012. The alligator's relatives around the globe: the living crocodilians of the world: [ [insert date cited] ]; Rev. April 2017. Available from: specieslist.htm




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