Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharialsthe Crocodylia, known collectively as crocodylians (or crocodilians)are the world’s largest living reptiles. The largest of them, probably the estuarine or saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, can grow to almost twenty feet and weigh more than two thousand pounds. Crocodylians are creatures of great contrast. They can remain patiently still for ages, yet can also move like lightning to snap up a meal. They are formidably strong, active predators, with jaws that can tear apart large prey items, yet a mother or a father can gently assist hatchlings out of the eggs, and carry them to the water between their teeth. Because large crocodylians can (and do) eat people, they invite fear and loathing, but they also inspire curiosity and admiration.
Biology and Evolution of Crocdylians is a comprehensive review of current knowledge about the world’s largest and most famous living reptiles. Gordon Grigg’s authoritative and accessible text and David Kirshner’s stunning artwork and color photographs combine expertly in this contemporary celebration of crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. This book showcases the skills and capabilities that allow crocodylians to live how and where they do. It covers the biology and ecology of the extant species, conservation issues, crocodilian-human interaction, and the evolutionary history of the group.
Richly illustrated with more than five hundred color photographs and black-and-white illustrations, this book will be a benchmark reference work for crocodylian biologists, herpetologists, and vertebrate biologists for years to come.
|Publisher:||Cornell University Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.10(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.70(d)|
About the Author
Gordon Grigg is Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland.
David Kirshner has illustrated several books on wildlife.
Rick Shine, AM FAA, is a Laureate Fellow of the Australian Research Council and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. In 2015, he was named President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTIONIntroducing crocodyliansThe living species of crocodyliansThe growth of scientific knowledge about crocodyliansBody size and age
2. THE CROCODYLIAN FAMILY TREEThe modern crocodylians and their relationshipsExtinct Crocodylia and other crocodile-like reptiles; crocs in 'deep time'Summary
3. CROCODYLIANS CLOSER UPThe external features of crocodyliansSkull and musculoskeletal system
4. LOCOMOTION, BUOYANCY, AND TRAVELCrocodylians on landCrocodylians in the waterBuoyancyStomach stones (gastroliths)Capacity for long distance travel
5. SENSORY SKILLS AND BRAINVisionHearing, movement and balanceBrain and cranial nervesOlfaction and gustation (chemosensation)Sense organs of the skinCognitive capacities and learning
6. FEEDING, DIGESTION, AND NUTRITIONWhat do crocodylians eat?Prey capture and handlingDigestionNutrition
7. ENERGY SUPPLY AND DELIVERYThe metabolic engines: crocodylian biochemistry and metabolismWhole body metabolism (anaerobic and aerobic)The respiratory systemThe circulatory system
8. THE WORLD'S MOST EXTRAORDINARY HEARTA tour of the crocodylian heartNon-shunting and shunting patterns of blood flowWhat is the significance of pulmonary by-pass shunting in crocodylians?
9. DIVING AND SUBMERGENCE BEHAVIOUR AND PHYSIOLOGYWhen? Why? How deep? How, and how for so long?Diving behaviour of crocodylians in the wildPhysiological support for crocodylian divingWhat are the longest submergences by crocodylians that can be supported aerobically?
10. THERMAL RELATIONSIntroduction: crocodylians are not like other reptilesDaily and seasonal patterns of body temperatureBehaviours that modify body temperaturePhysiological mechanisms of thermoregulationThermal acclimatizationCrocodylians may have endothermic ancestryCould even the basal archosaurs have been endothermic?
11. SALT AND WATER BALANCESalt and water balance in Crocodylus porosus: an introduction to crocodylian osmoregulationSalt and water balance in other crocodyliansLiving out of water, 'aestivation'Salt glands and implications for crocodylian evolutionary history
12. REPRODUCTIONIntroduction: they’re more like birdsOviducts, ovulation, fertilisation and the gravid stage
13. POPULATIONS AND POPULATION ECOLOGYPopulations (and species)Population dynamics: changes through timeCase Histories
14. CONSERVATION, COMMERCIALISATION, AND CONFLICTIntroductionHistorical perspectiveThe future for crocodylians?