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Baby American Croc
FROM EGGS TO HATCHLINGS: NEST SITE TAPHONOMY OF AMERICAN CROCODILE (CROCODYLUS ACUTUS) AND BROAD-SNOUTED CAIMAN (CAIMAN LATIROSTRIS)
ASHLEY L. FERGUSON, DAVID J. VARRICCHIO, CARLOS I. PIÑA, and FRANKIE D. JACKSON
PALAIOS May 2017 32:337-348; published online May 2, 2017, doi:10.2110/palo.2016.086
This paper from the May 2017 issue of PALAIOS examines nesting behaviors of extant vertebrates to serve as taphonomic models for interpreting extinct archosaurian reproduction. Past studies examined birds with open nests and nest-bound young and tortoises with buried nests and precocial young. Here, the authors taphonomically describe nesting sites of two crocodylians, American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) at Turkey Point, Florida and broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) from Santa Fe and Chaco provinces, Argentina. Surveys focused on eggshell abundance, orientation, and distribution and nest modification of successfully hatched nests.
Detailed surveys of nests are supported by field videos of parental assistance during a hatching event. Documentation of nest characteristics and eggshell orientations may facilitate interpretations of parental assistance in the fossil record because eggshell distribution and orientation at these nesting sites result from adult females assisting and transporting eggs and young during hatching.
PALAIOS Science Editors
Professor Dr. Martin Zuschin
Department of Paleontology
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Dr. M. Gabriela Mangano
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
PALAIOS Managing Editor
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