Scientists have discovered a new crocodile species, which has a soft skin and is unfortunately very endangered. Called the Central African slender-snouted crocodile, this new species was not exactly unknown, only misidentified. So far, experts had believed that it belongs to his West African counterpart.
The new species was originally considered part of the West African crocodiles but Mecistops cataphractus is actually Mecistops leptorhynchus its central African counterpart. The separation of these two populations into two species has left the West African population low enough to meet the "critically endangered" label.
There are some obvious physical differences between the two types of crocodile, including soft skin on the newly identified species, as well as the absence of bone mountains on their skulls. According to the newly published research, the separation between the two species occurred about 8 million years ago due to volcanic isolation.
According to Florida International University, this is the first new living crocodile species that has been discovered and defined in almost 85 years. The discovery is addressed by Matthew Shirley, the team's senior researcher. He said:
The recognition of the slender muzzle crocodile, which actually consists of two different species, is a matter of great concern for conservation. We estimate that in West Africa only 10 percent of the crocodiles with slender snouts occur, reducing the population by 90 percent. This makes the West African crocodile one of the most endangered crocodiles in the world.
Source: Florida International University