It is known that certain small reptiles can. For example, lizards. But there were no tests to be passed in the greatest. Like alligators, for example. Arizona State University (ASU) decided to study the subject, and they came up with this surprise. Alligators also regenerate their tails.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has also worked on it. Together they showed that these animals can regenerate their tail by 18% of their total size. They combined advanced imaging techniques with methods of studying anatomy. They discovered that these new tails were complex structures. They have a central skeleton made up of cartilage surrounded by connective tissue. And it was intertwined with blood vessels and nerves. The results are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The alligator’s tail shows signs of regeneration and wound healing. All within the same structure, ”said Cindy Xu. She is a PhD student at the ASU School of Life Sciences.
‘It was surprising to find scar-shaped connective tissue instead of skeletal muscle in the regenerated tail. Comparative studies will explain why the regeneration capacity is different between different reptiles. ‘
‘The spectrum of regenerative capacity between species is fascinating. There is clearly a high cost involved in making new muscles, ”said Jeanne Wilson-Rawls. She is a co-author of the study. Alligators, lizards, and humans belong to a group of animals with a backbone. They are called amniotes. These results provide information about the regeneration process in this comprehensive animal classification of amniotes.
And the dinosaurs?
This also leads to new questions about the history of these functions. Are there any fossils of dinosaurs whose lineage led to modern birds with regenerated tails? So far there is no evidence of this. But maybe it’s because it hasn’t been searched.
The researchers hope their results will support therapeutic approaches to injury repair. Or treat diseases like arthritis. The discovery that alligators also regenerate their tails can bring unexpected long-term benefits.