20 Sep '11, 10pm
The Nile crocodile is actually the Nile crocodileS, reports @mongabay
Scientists confirm ancient Egyptian knowledge: Nile crocodile is two species Jeremy Hance mongabay.com September 20, 2011 Nile crocodile in Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler. DNA has shown that the Nile crocodile is in fact two very different species: a bigger, more aggressive crocodile and a smaller, tamer species that today survives only in West Africa. While the taxonomy of the Nile crocodile has been controversial for over a century, the new study points out that the ancient Egyptians recognized the differences in the species and avoided the big crocodile for its rituals. While it is not uncommon for DNA to overturn long-established taxonomy, in this case the DNA results of over a hundred living crocodiles across Africa and over fifty museum specimens—including mummified crocodiles from ancient Egypt—found that what has long been considered one species is two dista...