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Neurology: an ancient sensory organ in crocodilians.

Authors
  • Soares, Daphne
Type
Published Article
Journal
Nature
Publication Date
May 16, 2002
Volume
417
Issue
6886
Pages
241–242
Identifiers
PMID: 12015589
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Crocodilians hunt at night, waiting half-submerged for land-bound prey to disturb the water surface. Here I show that crocodilians have specialized sensory organs on their faces that can detect small disruptions in the surface of the surrounding water, and which are linked to a dedicated, hypertrophied nerve system. Such 'dome' pressure receptors are also evident in fossils from the Jurassic period, indicating that these semi-aquatic predators solved the problem of combining armour with tactile sensitivity many millions of years ago.

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