WCS 3-Sentence Science

Yes, Even Crocodiles Go Through Puberty

October 31, 2019

Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present work by WCS’s Steven Platt contrasting characteristics of male and female crocodiles during puberty.

  1. Little is known of its timing or process of puberty in crocodylians.
  2. Researchers measured phallus size, snout-vent length, and body condition index of Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) and found distinct differences between males and females, thus marking a sexual dimorphism that begins to present with the onset of puberty.
  3. This bodily manifestation of puberty is a novel observation for crocodylians and lays a foundation for further study among species of how changing endocrine signaling within sexually maturing males may also influence a broader range of secondary sex characteristics.

Study and Journal: “Correlation between increased postpubertal phallic growth and the initiation of cranial sexual dimorphisms in male Morelet’s crocodile” from Journal of Experimental Zoology
WCS Co-Author(s): Steven Platt, WCS Myanmar Program

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

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