The reptile’s tail can reach up to 18% of its entire body length after losing its tail.
American scientists have found that alligators can regenerate their tails like lizards.
Scientists caught three alligators with tails that looked like newly grown ones. They were compared to the normal anatomical shape. It turned out that crocodiles really grew up to 23 centimeters of the tail, which is about 18% of the total length of the reptile.
“The regrowth of cartilage, nerves, blood vessels and scales are consistent with previous studies of lizard tail regeneration from their lab,” said lead author Cindy Xu.
The new tail of alligators in its structure is significantly different from the original. In particular, the tail bone is replaced by an unsegmented cartilage tube, spinal shields and instead of skeletal muscles, scientists found a large amount of fibrous connective tissue.
“Our discovery that alligators retained the cellular mechanism for generating complex tails, while birds lost it, raises the question of where this happened,” said study co-author Kenro Kusumi.
Scientists are confident that further study of the mechanism of regeneration in animals will allow the development of new methods of treatment and therapy for various degenerative diseases.