The Evolution of Crocodiles

16 Sep, 2021 590 Animals (Zoology)

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the remarkable diversity of the animals that dominated life on land in the Triassic, before the rise of the dinosaurs in the Jurassic, and whose descendants are often described wrongly as ‘living fossils’. For tens of millions of years, the ancestors of alligators and Nile crocodiles included some as large as a bus, some running on two legs like a T Rex and some that lived like whales. They survived and rebounded from a series of extinction events but, while the range of habitats of the dinosaur descendants such as birds covers much of the globe, those of the crocodiles have contracted, even if the animals themselves continue to evolve today as quickly as they ever have.

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  • Anjali Goswami No other episodes
    Research Leader in Life Sciences and Dean of Postgraduate Education at the Natural History Museum
  • Philip Mannion No other episodes
    Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London
  • Steve Brusatte 3 episodes
    Professor of Palaeontology and Evolution at the University of Edinburgh

Reading list

  • The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
    Steve Brusatte (Picador, 2018) Google Books →
  • Dinosaur Paleobiology
    Stephen L. Brusatte (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) Google Books →
  • Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form and Function
    Anjali Goswami and Anthony Friscia (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 590 (Zoology and Animal Sciences)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Before the rise of the dinosaurs, the dominant land animals were crocs, the academic catch-all name for ancestors of the alligators and crocodiles that lurk by the water's edge today among the reeds.