Some people call Alligators “living fossils” because they look like dinosaurs but you may be surprised to learn that alligators are not actually dinosaurs.
Alligators are classified as archosaurs, which is a group that includes both dinosaurs and their closest living relatives, such as birds.
This means that alligators are not technically dinosaurs, but they are still pretty amazing creatures.
The alligator is thought to be the descendant of numerous prehistoric species, with the current-day gator evolving from it.
WHAT DO ALLIGATORS AND DINOSAURS HAVE IN COMMON?
Well, for starters, they both have scaly skin and lived during the Mesozoic Era.
They also share many similarities in their anatomy, such as having four legs, a long tail, and sharp teeth.
However, there are some key differences between alligators and dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs were land animals while alligators are semi-aquatic creatures.
Dinosaurs also had different kinds of teeth than gators.
So, while alligators may look like dinosaurs, they are not actually dinosaurs.
ARE DINOSAURS AND ALLIGATORS REPTILES?
Reptiles are a class of vertebrates that includes crocodiles, dinosaurs, and alligators. Dinosaurs are a subclass of reptiles, so the answer is yes – dinosaurs are reptiles.
Alligators may look quite prehistoric, however, they are the most advanced reptile of our time. Unlike other reptiles they have a four-chambered heart, diaphragm and cerebral cortex (a structure within the vertebrate brain with distinct structural and functional properties).
A alligators physical traits allow it to be a successful predator. They have a streamlined body that enables them to swim faster. Alligators also tuck their feet to their sides while swimming, which helps the crocodile to swim fast, by decreasing the water resistance.
The average lifespan of a alligator is 30 to 60 years.
Alligators are found in tropical climates in the Southeastern United States and they vary in size depending on the species.
HISTORY OF CROCODILIANS
Crocodyliformes (the group encompassing crocodilians and other similar but extinct reptiles) evolved during the Triassic Period, about 248 million years ago.
Crocodilians (a group which includes alligators, crocodiles, gharials or gavials, caiman) appeared during the Cretaceous period, about 98 million years ago, towards the end of the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles.
Deinosuchus (Deinosuchus riograndensis), meaning ‘terrible crocodile’, was the largest crocodylian, growing up to 50 feet (15 metres) long. It lived during the late Cretaceous period (about 146 to 65 million years ago). This carnivore lived on the shores of the large shallow sea called the Tethys Sea, that covered much of North America.
It survived on fish and perhaps some species of dinosaurs.
Baurusuchu (Baurusuchu salgadoensis) was a large carnivorous crocodyliform that lived in South America during the Late Cretaceous Period (about 100 to 66 million years ago). It was about 20 feet (six metres) long and had many features similar to modern crocodiles.
Thalattosuchia (Thalattosuchia atavus) was a 20-foot (six metre) long crocodile-like reptile that lived during the Jurassic Period (about 200 to 145 million years ago). It had a long neck, sharp teeth and webbed feet, which probably allowed it to be a good swimmer.
HOW DID CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS SURVIVE THE EXTINCTION EVENT THAT KILLED ALL THE DINOSAURS?
The most likely explanation is that they survived because they were able to adapt to changing conditions and environments.
Crocodiles and alligators are able to live in a wide range of habitats, from freshwater rivers and lakes, to saltwater estuaries and coasts.
Alligators and crocodiles are also able to withstand long periods of time without food, which may have helped them to survive when food was scarce. They store fat in their large muscular tails.
Alligators are a fascinating group of animals and despite being around for millions of years, they still have many secrets yet to be discovered.
Are alligators dinosaurs? No, alligators are not dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs are a subclass of reptiles and while alligators are also reptiles, they are not dinosaurs.
There are several key differences between alligators and dinosaurs, including their habitat, teeth, and physical traits. Additionally, alligators and crocodiles have a long history dating back to the Triassic Period, while dinosaurs first appeared during the Cretaceous Period.
While gators and dinosaurs may have some similarities, they are not the same.