Crocodiles have more than 60 teeth, but they don’t chew their food — sometimes they have to perform a death roll.
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The crocodilian group is hundreds of millions of years old and includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. Not only can these living dinosaurs hold their breath for hours, sleep with one eye open, and cry literal “crocodile tears,” but they also have one of the strongest bites ever measured, clocking in at over 16,000 newtons.
crocodiles bite down with a strength roughly seventeen times stronger than a human gnawing at a tough steak. And while it may be no surprise that they make us look about as effective as a dull pair of tweezers, even hyenas can only chomp with about a fourth of that power.
We’re now discovering that their mouths are literally double-jointed. In addition to the primary jaw joint at the rear of their skull which opens and closes their mouth, they have a second jaw joint, called the Pterygomandibular, about halfway down their snout. This joint works like a brace, sort of like your knee, helping distribute force and preventing the jaw from twisting or dislocating as it chomps.
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"Crocodile, (order Crocodylia, or Crocodilia), any of 23 species of generally large, ponderous, amphibious animals of lizard-like appearance and carnivorous habit belonging to the reptile order Crocodylia."
"Reaching lengths of more than 23 feet (6.5 m) and weights over 2,200 pounds (~1,000 kilos), the saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile on the planet and is a formidable predator throughout its range."
Crocodiles sleep with one eye watching
"Crocodiles can sleep with one eye open, according to a study from Australia."
Tusks, trunks, claws, tails. Animals have evolved in ways to adapt to their environment by developing some truly unusual physical traits. Why did elephants develop a trunk, and how does it even work? What are insect wings made of? How are tails used throughout the animal kingdom? Our host Dr. Evan Antin explores the strange world of animal physiology.
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