Science

Dolphins And Crocodiles Have Similar Skulls Because Ancestors Fed On Similar Prey

By Rodney Rafols , Mar 09, 2017 12:50 AM EST

A study has looked into the similarity of the shapes of dolphins and crocodiles. The similar skulls of dolphins and crocodiles are because of its prey, as the study has found. This is because dolphins and crocodiles almost have similar prey.

In the past, the ancestors of dolphins and crocodiles fed on similar prey. This has been the conclusion made by researchers from Monash University Australia. Dolphins and crocodiles had ancestors that were then land-based animals.

Matthew McCurry is the lead author of the study and is from Monash School of Biological Sciences. He has said that the similarities are based on their diet rather than on their habitats. There have been no studies so far that made an attempt to connect the similarities between dolphins and crocodiles based on what they eat.

What has been held for so long is that habitat played a role in developing the head shapes of crocodiles and dolphins. It has been thought that shallow seas and rivers had an impact in shaping them. The new study has shown that the actual factor to this is that crocodiles and dolphins in the past had similar prey, and so their head shapes developed in order to adjust to their prey.

The ancestors of crocodiles and dolphins preyed on small fishes, according to the Monash University's site. This helped in the development of their head shapes. McCurry has said that by studying their skull shapes, researchers can determine what prey ancient crocodiles and dolphins had fed on.

Additional equipment has been used in order to determine this idea. CT scan and 3D laser scanning have been used in order to study museum specimens of ancient crocodile and dolphin skulls, as Science Daily reports. By using these, researchers then can see how diet, habitat and prey size can determine the shape of the skulls that would be developed later on.

There would be more studies that would be made to see why certain skull shapes are better than others. Similar skulls of dolphins and crocodiles are because of prey. A resistant gene has been found to have a new variant.

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