When an open water swimmer looks closely at a crocodile’s cranium, they see thick scales covering their heads.
Researchers led by evolutionary biologist Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who have assumed that the deep lines in the face and jaws of crocodiles marked the boundaries between thick scales, recently found out that the lines are actually simple physical cracks on the head.
“I was really surprised by these chaotic patterns of scales when I looked closely at the crocodile’s head. There were all different sizes and different shapes. Comparing the left and the right, they were very different, and comparing different individuals, they were also very different.”
Milinkovitch found that in late embryonic development, grooves began to appear in the thick skin covering the crocodile’s head. And those cracks continue getting deeper and thicker, remaining for life.
Now we all do.
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