SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Alligators can regrow their tails, new study finds

Small reptiles like lizards and geckos are known for their extraordinary ability to regrow their tails, a potentially lifesaving skill in the wild. But it tu...

Posted: Dec 1, 2020 2:02 AM

Small reptiles like lizards and geckos are known for their extraordinary ability to regrow their tails, a potentially lifesaving skill in the wild. But it turns out these reptiles are not the only animals in the amniote family with the ability to regenerate appendages.

Researchers were surprised to discover that juvenile alligators also have the ability to regrow their tails up to 9 inches, or up to 18% of their total body length, according to a new study in Scientific Reports.

A team of scientists from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries used advanced imaging techniques together with time-tested methods of studying anatomy and tissue organization to find that the alligators' regrown tails had a central cartilage skeleton without any bone, exhibiting features of both regeneration and wound repair.

"The regrown skeleton was surrounded by connective tissue and skin but lacked any skeletal muscle (which lizard tails do regenerate with)," Kenro Kusumi, co-senior study author and professor and director of ASU's School of Life Sciences and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, told CNN.

Even a muscle-less regrown tail is vital for the massive predators, Kusumi added.

The team of researchers says that understanding these limitations may help in developing regenerative therapies in humans.

"We know that humans -- who are incapable of regenerating -- have the same cells and pathways being used to regenerate in these other animals," Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, co-senior study author and associate professor with ASU's School of Life Sciences, told CNN.

"If this very large long-limbed animal has this ability, can we take advantage of this to help people who have lost limbs or burn victims who need skin regeneration?"

Kusumi quickly added that this isn't something that is going to happen tomorrow, but maybe by the end of the century.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 176157

Reported Deaths: 2461
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35145568
Washington23569229
Marion20282299
Clackamas15499204
Lane11722144
Jackson9984127
Umatilla798483
Deschutes721472
Linn418763
Yamhill412575
Klamath353759
Polk346452
Malheur343058
Josephine307862
Douglas305765
Benton275418
Jefferson207432
Coos198431
Columbia155426
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130228
Hood River113029
Morrow108115
Clatsop9008
Crook89119
Baker86114
Curry5999
Tillamook5833
Grant4204
Lake4147
Harney3136
Wallowa1575
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3723446

Reported Deaths: 61122
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122964123668
Riverside2976204547
San Bernardino2949734561
San Diego2753683674
Orange2691764900
Santa Clara1173172017
Kern1080131331
Sacramento1016651647
Fresno1007021646
Alameda855831477
Ventura803321002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus605831032
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41226560
San Francisco36094529
Santa Barbara33926446
Solano32047239
Merced31289453
Sonoma29720311
Imperial27995719
Kings22781245
Placer21908283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16289240
Santa Cruz15666204
Marin13868226
Yolo13572200
Shasta11747219
Butte11601196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598963
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399347
Humboldt363138
Amador362946
Lake341643
Glenn235825
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4287
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned440
Medford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 46°
Medford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 45°
Medford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 35°
Sunny, warm, and breezy Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events