Evolution, Biogeography and Conservation of Crocodiles (Reptilia, Crocodylia)
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
The order Crocodylia is divided into three families: Crocodylidae, Gavialidae, and Alligatoridae, with representatives distributed on practically all continents, except Europe and Antarctica. According to phylogenetic studies, crocodilians are descended from Archosaurs, forming a monophyletic group, along with dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and birds, so it is suggested that they are more related to birds than to the rest of reptiles. Although they originated during the late Triassic and early Jurassic, approximately 200 million years ago, when they diverged from birds; the order’s oldest fossil record is 80 to 90 million years old. Thus, the order Crocodylia offers a particular model for chromosomal, biogeographic, and evolutionary studies. However, informative and interesting data for these approaches, such as cytogenetic and genomic characters, are still absent, making it impossible to characterize their evolutionary trends. Therefore, the present project aims to perform cytogenomic and biogeographical analyzes in Crocodiles, in addition to studies focusing on the conservation of some endangered species. Such approaches will allow a better understanding of the processes that shaped their genomic and chromosomal evolution, as well as their biogeography leading to the current distribution patterns of these species.