Experts are no stranger to animals that can regrow limbs and other parts. This include starfish, deer (who regrows their antlers), axolotl (a species of salamander that could regenerate its arms, legs, tail, lower jaw, brain and heart!), lizards, and spiders.
But it came a surprise when a biologist from Arizona State University (ASU) found himself receiving a pickle jar containing ethanol and a seemingly deformed alligator tail.
Biologist Kenro Kusumi studies how lizards regenerate their tails at ASU lab. In 2017, someone mailed him an alligator tail that was discolored and its tip slightly forked and its scales small. It looked like after being severed, it had regrown on its own.
Reptiles, including geckos and iguanas have all been documented to have the ability to regenerate their tails, but for Kusumi, alligators are different. There are no reports of alligators growing their tails back, as most of them rely on their tails for balance and to propel themselves through water.
Kusumi analyzed the sent tail, along with his colleagues, and they determined that the tail had in fact, regrown. From there, they also studied three other alligators, which they reported on their research paper published in November in Scientific Reports.
They found that young gators can regrow their tails up to nine inches.
Now, alligators are the largest animals known to regrow limbs. This discovery could help scientists understand its ability to evolve, and could possibly benefit medicine for humans.
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