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Mysterious orange cave crocodiles that live in darkness are mutating into a new species


a group of mysterious orange cave
crocodiles who live in complete darkness in Africa may be mutating into a new
species researchers discovered the 1.5 meter long reptiles in 2008 in a remote
cave in de bonne western Africa where they fed only on bats and crickets
experts first though they were a type of african dwarf crocodile but new research
shows they could be an entirely separate species scientists led by the institute
of research for development in marseille found about 30 specimens in the cave
including 10 orange crocodiles they suspect more crocodiles remain hidden in
the depths of the cave system of rooms which are filled with water the team
said new genetic tests show the isolated group may be branching off from their
african dwarf cousins we could say that we have a mutating species because the
cave crocodile already has a different genetic haplotype lead researcher dr.
Richard Oz Leslie told the Guardian its diet is different and it is a species
that has adapted to the underground world dr. Oslilsy found the
crocodiles in a cave in the remote region of abanda in Gabon while looking
for prehistoric human remains intrigued as to how they survived in the
darkness dr. Oslilsy invited other scientists to study the caves
inhabitants to learn more about them younger members of the group can leave
the cave through a number of small openings because they are small enough
dr. Oslilsy said but once the reptiles grow to a certain size they become
trapped in its rooms and must feed on whatever they can find in the cave to
survive they are somehow in their own prison dr. Oslilsy said they eat bats
that live in these caves by the tens of thousands and also crickets that swarm
the walls the reptiles unusual coloring is likely the result of living in a
mixture of water and bat feces or guano the researchers said african dwarf
crocodiles are nocturnal animals meaning they see well in the dark and typically
hunt at night the orange crocodiles live in a similar
way to their outdoor cousins but the team suggests that they are genetically
different from the three other species of african dwarf crocodiles found in
Gabon a set of genes found in one of the orange reptiles did not match those
found in other african dwarf crocodiles the split likely occurred thousands of
years ago raising questions as to how and where the caves residents breed
crocodiles breed during the wet season and uses vegetation to nest their eggs
so if the orange crocodiles bred in the cave itself it would be a scientific
first

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