Re: AAT Theory

J. Moore (
Sun, 24 Sep 95 18:00:00 -0500

Ga> Basically, yes. They do exhibit territorial behavior, especially during
Ga> mating season, but some taxa - in particular, the Nile crocodile - will
Ga> feed communally. I've seen footage of several large niloticus feeding
Ga> from the same zebra or gnu at once. Indeed, the narrator suggested that
Ga> cooperation was the only way they could have dismembered it.

When they're on their own the typical means of dismembering a
large carcass is to grab on tight and spin; when dealing with a
human-size carcass (such as a human) they either do the spin
technique or just lift the whole thing above the water surface and
simply shake it until it flies apart.

Ga> A few other points on croc ecology -

Ga> 1. Crocs defend their nests vigorously. The proposition that people
Ga> could control croc population by eating croc eggs must get around this
Ga> fact. Australian aborigines will eat croc eggs, but not as a means of
Ga> controlling the beasts, and they are careful to do so only when the
Ga> mother is not around.

And they have adapted to a high mortality rate on eggs and young.
They typically suffer from as much as 50% mortality on eggs, and
up to 90% mortality in the first year of life. Like other high
species with high infant mortality rates, they make up for it by
having lots of young. Females of both the Nile and Indopacific
species lay 50-80 eggs a year and have a long reproductive
lifespan. Once a crocodile grows to a meter in length they are
essentially invunerable -- mortality is very rare. Humans with
guns are their only major enemy after that point.

Ga> 2. Crocs are not restricted to eating prey in the water. I've seen
Ga> alligators drag things in from ten feet away.

Ga> 3. The only semiaquatic mammals that co-exist with them will have one
Ga> of two characteristics - either (a) they are very proficient at swimming
Ga> quickly, like an otter, or (b) they are very large, like hippos and
Ga> sirenians.
Ga> chris

Make that three characteristics, the other being: they reproduce at
a much higher rate than was likely for early hominids, given the
relatively slow reproduction rates of chimps and humans who gather
and hunt.

Jim Moore (

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