Unique Pressure Receptors

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Special pressure receptors unique to crocodilians described in Nature, vol 417, p241, 16 May 2002. University of Maryland biologist Daphne Soares has studied the small pigmented dome shaped lumps on alligators’ faces and found they are highly sensitive receptors that enable the animals to detect tiny disturbances in the water surface as they lie semi-submerged. The lumps are connected to the brain by nerves that pass through the bones of the skull leaving a distinctive pattern of holes. All living crocodilians had the receptors and pattern of holes, and all fossil crocodilians had the pattern of holes. Other types of reptiles, living or fossil did not have them.

Editorial Comment: Crocodilians, the group of reptiles that includes alligators and crocodiles, are supposed to be primitive reptiles that evolved before the dinosaurs. However this study affirms that they are complex creatures with fully formed features specially designed for animals that spend a lot of time lying semi-submerged. Their fossil record is also wonderful evidence for unpunctuated equilibrium, i.e. they have reproduced their own kind as Genesis states God created them to do. (Ref. crocodiles, alligators, senses)

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