Crocodile Jaws More Sensitive Than Human Fingertips
They may be lethal, leathery, and literally armored to the teeth, but crocodiles and alligators, it turns out, are sensitive types. Their snouts, in fact, are even more touch-sensitive than human fingertips, a new study says.
Part of the crocodilian reptile order, alligators have some 4,000 of tiny, raised black spots, or domes, on their heads, particularly along their jaws, inside their mouths, and between their teeth. Crocodiles have a similar setup, plus a liberal sprinkling over the rest of their bodies, bringing their total to about 9,000. Scientists have known about these bumpsâ€”called integumentary sensory organs, or ISOsâ€”for more than a century. But for a long time their purpose was a mystery.