General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Why do crocodilians still have legs?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12088points) September 18th, 2022 from iPhone

The order is ancient. Why didn’t they give up on land yet? If it’s not broke don’t fix it?

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19 Answers

HP's avatar

They are evolving as should be evident through simply observing the utility of those legs. You will wait quite a while to witness a crocodile run down an antelope.

janbb's avatar

Alligators can actually run 17 miles an hour on land. I’ve never wanted to put it to the test.

Inspired_2write's avatar

To guide the body around obstacles, other croc’s etc
On land they can catch prey as their prey are drinking in the pools of water.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
WhyNow's avatar

Crocodiles live in regions where water sometimes dries to mud.
That’s a time when legs are handy.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I also think legs are useful. I guess the natural follow up would be why don’t we see crocodile-like mammals that are kin to cetaceans if it’s such an effective strategy? Seals?

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
HP's avatar

Crocs are an extremely successful group, sole survivors of the large reptiles from the age of the dinosaurs and virtually unchanged in the eons since.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They use their legs to build nests and chase prey on land

rebbel's avatar

Where else to put on these classy crocodile leather boots?

eyesoreu's avatar

Apart from anything else, their legs are used to kick sand/soil when burying eggs.

jca2's avatar

Here, under “Characteristics” and “Hunting” it describes how their legs are useful to them:

kritiper's avatar

Legs make it easier for the males to boink the females.

ragingloli's avatar

I am assuming that since they are cold blooded, that they regularly have to come ashore and lay in the sun to warm up their blood.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Evolution. It still happens. Come back in 29 million years and ask the same question. The answer will be different.

boffin's avatar

No legs call ‘em Gars

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Pandora's avatar

They also need them to burrow underground to have babies and stay cool. And I believe they can hibernate during times of drought.

jca2's avatar

What alligators and crocs will do, also, is when they kill something that’s too big to eat, like a deer, they will bury it in the mud for a week until it gets nice and soft, and then they eat it. They need their legs and claws to bury it in the mud.

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