Monday, January 10, 2011

CROCODILIANS : Meaningful Communications

Alligators, Crocodiles, and Gharials are the largest living reptiles on earth. They form the last living direct link with the Age of Dinosaurs. Living relics of prehistorical times, Crocodilians are the only surviving members of the same family as the Dinosaurs.  They are also the closest living relative to Birds. 
The Crocodilia order is split into three major subfamilies–Crocodile, Alligatoridae (Alligators and Caimans), and Gharial (Gavial). The seven Alligator species live in the Americas except for Chinese Alligator.  Meanwhile, Gharials live in Asia. The fourteen true crocodile species are found in the tropics.  They range from the Estuarine (Saltwater) Crocodile, who swims in the open ocean to the rare Cuban Crocodile found in only two swamps of Cuba. 
Well-suited for their lives in the water, these aquatic hunters have webbed feet and muscular tails.  Their ankles swivel to allow their legs to be almost under their bodies.  (This lets Them to walk like Mammals.)  Unlike other Reptiles, Crocodilians can gallop or do a “high walk” (similar to Mammals).
What set Crocodilians apart from other Reptiles are their complex social lives.  They speak to their young, inform others of their territories, or buzz to attract mates.  How much each one shows of their body above the water conveys their social status.  Moreover living in groups, adult Crocodilians understand everyone’s head slapping and bellowing.
What unnerves people about Crocodilians is their loud calling.  Like Lions, Crocodiles will roar to tell others of trespassing on their territory.  Little ones call to their mothers, who come for them.  Alligators have breeding chorus “contests” between males and females.  Meanwhile, Male Gharials buzz to warn off their rivals and to attract Female Gharials.
Crocodilians are effective communicators.  Underwater discussions are conducted with jaw and head slaps.  Also, Crocodilians send chemicals messages using smell to each other.  During spring nights, Alligators gather for “dances” (their form of group courtship). Using a variety of methods, Crocodilians make Themselves understood by others.  We can learn from these Reptiles how to communicate meaningfully with others, using all the means at our disposal. Just do not frighten people with your bellowing.

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