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Alligators can regrow their tails, surprising scientists

• Live Science - Tessa Koumoundouros

Small reptiles such as geckos and skinks are well known for this remarkable ability to sacrifice and then rapidly regrow their tails. Now, to scientists' surprise, it turns out that much larger alligators can regrow theirs too. But only while they're young.

Juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) can regrow up to 18 percent of their total body length back. This is about 23 cm or 9 inches of length.

What's really cool is this regrowth appears to occur via a mechanism we've not seen before.

By imaging and dissecting the tail regrowth, researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) found alligators do this quite differently from the other animals we know that can regenerate their appendages.


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