Deep in the caves of central Africa live Orange Dwarf Crocodiles that according to a team of researchers could be evolving into a new and separate species.
Originally discovered in Gabon in 2008, these crocodiles were already an interesting specimen for researchers to study as they do not match certain behaviors and characteristics of our everyday idea of crocodiles. These creatures live in the dark, feeding off bats and crickets, and with an orange sheen to their scales that isn’t the hue you first think of when you think of a crocodile.
The dimness of their dwelling and the other conditions in which they live is what’s causing this rapid mutation and evolution, say the international team of researchers, and a new round of genetic testing suggests a new species could have been created.
“As a result of that isolation and the fact that few individuals come in or go out, they’re in the process of [becoming] a new species,” one of the team, herpetologist Matthew Shirley from Florida International University, told Sarah Gibbens at National Geographic. There are plans to turn the area into a wildlife sanctuary so researchers can take a closer look at these interesting creatures.