Crocodilians, including both crocodiles and alligators, are well-known for their strength and vicious nature. If you ever get a chance to see one up close (with a strong barrier between you and the animal) notice the small crocodile bumps on the animal’s jaws. These are not just ugly spots for cosmetic value.
The crocodile bumps are part of a highly sensitive system designed to help them find food and to know what is going on around them. They are sensors that detect any movement or change in the water around the animal. If you put your hand into the water (not a good idea), ripples go out and make the nerves in the bumps activate. The croc comes to see what caused the ripples. When scientists cover the bumps with an insulating material and ripple the water, the animal makes no response.
Human skin is very sensitive. It can tell us when the wind blows, when something touches us, and the nature of the material touching us. Crocodilian skin is much tougher, so they need a special sensing system to “touch” the world around them and help them find food. Who would have thought that these ugly bumps could have a survival purpose? Every time we learn something new about the design of living things we marvel at the work of the Designer.
© Roland Earnst
Photo Credit: © bigstockphoto.com/forest71