Alligators are now the largest animal that can regrow their limbs

(Getty)

  • Alligators are now the largest species with known abilities to regenerate their limbs, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.
  • Scientists from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have found that, like lizards, young American alligators can grow their tails up to 9 inches.
  • The results may be able to help research into human skin regeneration therapy, the team said.
  • Visit the Business Insider SA homepage for more stories.

Scientists recently discovered that alligators can regrow their tails, making them the largest species capable of regenerating severed limbs, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Young alligators can regrow their tails up to nine inches, according to the study by Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which we first saw. times when Smithsonian Magazine reported it this week.

“The reconstructed skeleton was surrounded by connective tissue and skin, but lacked skeletal muscle (with which lizard tails regenerate),” Kenro Kusumi, co-lead author of the study and professor and director of the study, told CNN. ASU’s School of Life Sciences.

It has long been known that lizards are able to form new limbs that have been severed, but until this study it was unclear if the much larger reptile had a similar ability.

Alligators can measure up to 15 feet and 1,000 pounds, according to National Geographic.

Kusumi had begun the investigation into alligator regrowth after receiving a package in the mail containing a deformed alligator tail in a pickle jar with ethanol, National Geographic reported.

The tail, which he received in 2017, stood out for him. It was discolored, forked and the scales were smaller than normal, according to Nat Geo.

Kusumi realized that the tail looked like it had grown back, and he and his team confirmed that it had.

They also analyzed the regrown tails of three other alligators, according to the study.

Knowing that regenerated tails are shaped differently — lacking skeletal tissue — than the original could play a role in understanding the development of regenerative therapies in humans, Kusumi told CNN.

“We know that humans – who are unable to regenerate – have the same cells and pathways used to regenerate in these other animals,” Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, study co-lead author and associate professor, told CNN. at ASU’s School of Life Sciences. . “If this very large, long-limbed animal has this ability, can we take advantage of it to help people who have lost limbs or burn patients who need skin regeneration?”

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