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Posted by ColinS on April 01, 2003 at 05:40:03:
In Reply to: O. tetraspis and Paleosuchus posted by gatorsweet2me on March 30, 2003 at 23:05:25:
One's a croc, the other's a caiman. They are different families, but their ecology is similar - ie. forest-dwelling species.
Given the similarities of the habitat, it seems likely that they
will have similarities in form and function. If you ever get to have a look at the skulls of Paleosuchus and Osteolaemus, you will see that they have some striking differences as well.
So, essentially, the similarities you see are probably more related to adaptations to similar habitats than any 'relatedness'.
(The Chinese alligator has a few features that are similar to caimans. Perhaps this is either a size-related thing (these are all smaller species), or a matter of supposed 'primitive-ness'??)
Of course, the fossil record of Paleosuchus is very poor, and Africa WAS joined to Sth America, so who knows what we will find out in the future as these gaps are filled in...