Meet The Amazing Alligator








Alligator mississippiensis


Kingdom: Animalia


Class: Reptilia


Superorder: Crocodylomorpha


Order: Crocodilia


Family: Alligatoridae


Genus: Aligator




International: Least Concern


U.S.Threatened (‘Due to similarity of appearance to the American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus’)


The natural history of the alligator and its closest living relatives is a dramatic story of reptiles having shared, in varying form, habitat with the great dinosaurs and other beasts of eons past, and having endured a barrage of cataclysmic planetary events. The alligator is now experiencing a strange chapter in its story, sharing its fragment of earth with a burgeoning population of humans.


The Alligator genus entered the story of evolution about 37 million years ago during the Oligicene epoch. The species living today in North America may date back as far as 14 million years, a survivor not just in its resilience and adaptation, but in its appeal in modern times, however dissonant, to the two-legged hominid mammal that largely controls its destiny. While the animal was threatened by humans, the humans found a way to conserve them in a mutually beneficial fashion. Among its qualities are its high importance to ecosystems, its value in commerce, and its appeal to human intrigue. It follows then that its remarkable increase in numbers would challenge the perspectives and lifestyles of its human neighbor.


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SUGGESTED ARTICLE CITATION: Dupont, Israel. 2008. Meet the Amazing Alligator: Species profile of Alligator mississippiensis. Israel Dupont. May 2008; Rev. February 2015 [Insert date accessed].