The Alligator’s Long March

The Alligator’s Long March is a remarkably silly short story that’s sold to students by people who should know better.

Academics state there are only two extant species of Alligators.

American Alligator – Temporal range: 8–0 Ma

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States, with a small population in Mexico.

Adult male American alligators measure 3.4 to 4.6 m (11.2 to 15.1 ft) in length, and can weigh up to 453 kg (999 lb).

Females are smaller, measuring 2.6 to 3 m (8.5 to 9.8 ft) in length.

Wikipedia – American Alligator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_alligator

Chinese Alligator – Temporal range: Pliocene – recent

The Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), also known as the Yangtze alligator, China alligator, or historically the muddy dragon, is a crocodilian endemic to China.

Dark gray or black in color with a fully armored body, the Chinese alligator grows to 1.5–2.1 metres (5–7 ft) in length and weighs 36–45 kilograms (80–100 lb) as an adult.

Wikipedia – Chinese Alligator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alligator

But academics generally avoid addressing Alligator distribution by deflecting the conversation towards whether “American and Chinese alligators belong to the same genus”.

The alligator was described by French naturalist Albert-Auguste Fauvel in 1879 as Alligator sinensis. The genus Alligator had previously contained only the American alligator since its creation in 1807.

Fauvel wrote a detailed description of the species in a book titled Alligators in China: Their History, Description & Identification, including information about its historical account.

In 1947, it was suggested to group the Chinese alligator in a separate genus from its American relative, due to the Chinese alligator’s bony plate on its upper eyelid. This bony plate is present in caimans, but is rarely present in the American alligator.

At the time, the plate was thought to not appear in the American alligator at all. This produced the belief that the Chinese alligator’s relationship with other crocodilians was between caimans and American alligators.

Paulus Edward Pieris Deraniyagala described the genus Caigator the same year, which only contained the Chinese alligator, making its scientific name Caigator sinensis.

However, paleontology has shown that the Chinese alligator has evolved from other now-extinct members of the genus Alligator.

This and the fact that the American alligator does infrequently have a bony plate on its eyelid have caused Caigator sinensis to now be classified as a synonym of Alligator sinensis.

There is still not a consensus among biologists that the American and Chinese alligators belong to the same genus, despite multiple studies comparing the biochemistry, histology, and various other aspects of the two crocodilians.

Wikipedia – Chinese Alligator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alligator

When pushed Academic Comedians entertain their audiences by asserting [after a few too many glasses of sweet sherry] that the ancestors of the Chinese Alligator performed the very first Long March when they retreated from North America and “crossed the Bering land bridge” on their way to China.

The Chinese alligator split from the American alligator about 33 million years ago and likely descended from a lineage that crossed the Bering land bridge during the Neogene.

Wikipedia – Alligatoridae
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alligatoridae

The Chinese alligator brumates in burrows during winter.

This alligator brumates from late October to mid-April, emerging in early May.

The range of the Chinese alligator is extremely restricted; as of 2015, the only places it is confirmed to live in the wild are Xuancheng, Nanling County, Jing County, Wuhu, Langxi County, and Guangde County – six counties and cities in the province of Anhui, occupying a total area of about 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi).

Wikipedia – Chinese Alligator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alligator#Ecology

American alligators are less vulnerable to cold than American crocodiles. Unlike an American crocodile, which would immediately succumb to the cold and drown in water at 45 °F (7 °C) or less, an American alligator can survive in such temperatures for some time without displaying any signs of discomfort. This adaptiveness is thought to be why American alligators are widespread further north than the American crocodile. In fact, the American alligator is found farther from the equator and is more equipped to handle cooler conditions than any other crocodilian. When the water begins to freeze, American alligators go into a period of brumation; they stick their snouts through the surface, which allows them to breathe above the ice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_alligator#Cold_tolerance

Reptiles generally begin brumation in late autumn (more specific times depend on the species).

They often wake up to drink water and return to “sleep”.

They can go for months without food. Reptiles may eat more than usual before the brumation time but eat less or refuse food as the temperature drops. However, they do need to drink water.

The brumation period is anywhere from one to eight months depending on the air temperature and the size, age, and health of the reptile. During the first year of life, many small reptiles do not fully brumate, but rather slow down and eat less often.

Brumation is triggered by a lack of heat and a decrease in the hours of daylight in winter, similar to hibernation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dormancy

The Bering Strait is a strait of the Pacific, which separates Russia and the United States slightly south of the Arctic Circle at about 65° 40′ N latitude.

The Strait has been the subject of the scientific theory that humans migrated from Asia to North America across a land bridge known as Beringia when lower ocean levels – perhaps a result of glaciers locking up vast amounts of water – exposed a wide stretch of the sea floor, both at the present strait and in the shallow sea north and south of it.

Wikipedia – Bering Strait
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait

Cape Prince of Wales is the westernmost mainland point of the Americas. … It is the eastern boundary of the Bering Strait, 51 miles (82 km) opposite Cape Dezhnev, and adjacent to the Diomede Islands and Fairway Rock.

Wikipedia – Cape Prince of Wales
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Prince_of_Wales

However, a very simple scan of snouts suggests the broad-snouted Alligator Sinensis and the broad-snouted Caiman Latirostris share a common Broad-Snouted Ancestor.

The broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) is a crocodilian reptile found in eastern and central South America, including southeastern Brazil, northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

It is found mostly in freshwater marshes, swamps, and mangroves, usually in still or very slow-moving waters. It will often use man-made cow ponds.

In the wild, adults normally grow to 2 to 2.5 m (6.6 to 8.2 ft) in length, but a few old males have been recorded to reach up to 3.5 m (11 ft).

Captive adults were found to have weighed 29.2 to 62 kg (64 to 137 lb).

Most tend to be of a light olive-green color. A few individuals have spots on their faces.

The most notable physical characteristic is the broad snout from which its name is derived. The snout is well adapted to rip through the dense vegetation of the marshes. Due to this, they swallow some of the dense vegetation while foraging for food.

Wikipedia – Broad-Snouted Caiman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiman_latirostris

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303775/

The Broad-Snouted Ancestor split into Chinese Alligators and Broad-Snouted Caimans when the inland seas drained away into the opening ocean basins.

Malaga Bay – Antipodal Hotspots and Bipolar Catastrophes
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/antipodal-hotspots-and-bipolar-catastrophes/

Arguably, the move was necessitated by the transformation of the Colorado River from a modest overflow channel into a funnelled flood that [amongst other things] excavated the Grand Canyon as the Western Interior Seaway drained away into the Pacific Ocean.

Malaga Bay – Harold Sterling Gladwin: The Minoan Maze
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/10/11/harold-sterling-gladwin-the-minoan-maze/

The curved drainage channels around the Plug Hole of the Sea show where the waters of the inland seas swirled down the drain into the Atlantic Basin.

Malaga Bay – TOTO and the PHOTS
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/toto-and-the-phots/

The split seems to have occurred “during the early Tertiary or late Cretaceous”.

Wikipedia – Crocodilia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodilia

Alligators and caimans split in North America during the early Tertiary or late Cretaceous (about 53 million to about 65 million years ago]) and the latter reached South America by the Paleogene, before the closure of the Isthmus of Panama during the Neogene period.

Wikipedia – Alligatoridae
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alligatoridae

Alligators first appeared during the Oligocene epoch about 37 million years ago.

Wikipedia – Alligator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aligator

The fossil record of Crocodylus extends back only to the Late Miocene, while the earliest fossils assigned to C. niloticus and to New World Crocodylus are Pliocene.

A phylogenetic hypothesis for Crocodylus (Crocodylia) based on mitochondrial DNA: Evidence for a trans-Atlantic voyage from Africa to the New World
Robert W Meredith, Evon R Hekkala, George Amato, John Gatesy
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume 60, Issue 1, July 2011, Pages 183-191

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/50988128

The most likely trigger for this species split was the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event [aka the Arabian Horizon centred on 637 CE].

The number of clearly identifiable levels found in lignite mines and polar ice cores suggest it’s more likely the lignite mine deposits started to form at the Arabian Horizon [centred 637 CE].

This implies the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event is the Arabian Horizon.

Wikipedia – Geological Rot
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/09/01/geological-rot/

It’s said the Chicxulub Impact triggered the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event.

The Cenozoic Era meaning “new life” is the current and most recent of the three geological eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (also referred to as the K-Pg, or K-T, extinction event) is the boundary between preceding Mesozoic era and the Cenozoic, which extends from 66 million years ago to the present day. Many species, including all non-avian dinosaurs, became extinct, in an event attributed by most experts to the impact of a large asteroid or other celestial body, the Chicxulub impactor.

Wikipedia – Cenozoic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cenozoic

The Chicxulub crater is an impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Its center is located offshore near the town of Chicxulub, after which the crater is named.

The date of the impact coincides precisely with the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (commonly known as the “K–Pg boundary”), slightly more than 66 million years ago,[3] and a widely accepted theory is that worldwide climate disruption from the event was the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, a mass extinction in which 75% of plant and animal species on Earth became extinct, including all non-avian dinosaurs.

The crater is estimated to be 150 kilometers (93 miles) in diameter and 20 kilometers (12 miles) in depth, well into the continental crust of the region of about 10–30 kilometers (6.2–18.6 miles) depth.

It is the second largest confirmed impact structure on Earth, and the only one whose peak ring is intact and directly accessible for scientific research.

The impact would have caused a megatsunami over 100 meters (330 ft) tall that would have reached all the way to what are now Texas and Florida.

A cloud of hot dust, ash and steam would have spread from the crater as the impactor burrowed underground in less than a second.

Excavated material along with pieces of the impactor, ejected out of the atmosphere by the blast, would have been heated to incandescence upon re-entry, broiling the Earth’s surface and possibly igniting wildfires; meanwhile, colossal shock waves would have triggered global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Fossil evidence for an instantaneous die-off of diverse animals was found in a soil layer only 10 centimeters (3.9 in) thick in New Jersey 5,000 kilometers (3,100 mi) away from the impact site, indicating that death and burial under debris occurred suddenly and quickly over wide distances on land.

Over a decade, or longer, sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the Earth by the dust particles in the atmosphere, cooling the surface dramatically.

Wikipedia – Chicxulub Crater
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

The Chicxulub impactor, also known as the K/Pg impactor and (more speculatively) as the Chicxulub asteroid, was an asteroid or other celestial body some 11 to 81 kilometres (7 to 50 mi) in diameter and having a mass between 1.0×1015 and 4.6×1017 kg, which struck the Earth at a velocity of roughly 20 kilometers per second at an angle of just under 60 degrees (although originally thought to be shallower) at the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago, creating the Chicxulub crater.

Wikipedia – Chicxulub Impactor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_impactor

The impact initiated landmass migrations with plenty of passive passengers.

Malaga Bay – Dallas Abbott: Cape Verde Coral
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/dallas-abbott-cape-verde-coral/

Malaga Bay – Senegal Triple Junction
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/senegal-triple-junction/

Malaga Bay – The Senegal Swing
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/12/06/the-senegal-swing/

Malaga Bay – African Crocodiles
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2021/01/25/african-crocodiles/

Wikipedia – List of impact craters on Earth
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth

Wikipedia – Geological Rot
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/09/01/geological-rot/

But, as always:

Review the evidence and draw your own conclusions.

This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Cape Bojador, Dallas Abbott, Geology, Hecker Horizon, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Maunder Minimum, Old Japanese Cedar Tree, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Alligator’s Long March

  1. Patrick Donnelly says:

    ‘Impact’ craters are most likely to be made by discharges, from plasmoids ejected by the star we call TN or Sun, or by the planets Venus or Mars. These cause fusion and create Iridium etc. The plasmoids may be formed in the higher atmopsphere by solid bodies, carrying charge.

  2. Patrick Donnelly says:

    I am really impressed by the rearrangement of the Caribbean that you suggest. It is a notoriously volcanic region.
    Have you assessed the ocean floor spreading ridges to further buttress this?

  3. Boris Tabaksplatt says:

    Another great post Tim, with lots of food for thought. Found this little gem some time ago, which helped reinforce my view that the expansion of the Atlantic ocean was caused some major catastrophic event – which I posit could have been the collapse of the high level Pacific ocean retaining wall.

    “Drake Passage and Cenozoic climate: An open and shut case?”
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GC001224

    The paper has a chart modelling changes to the plate boundaries, which separated South America from Antarctica, The authors think this took place from 52Ma to 10Ma, while I think it happened in an instant.

    Regarding the Jordan Peterson thread, I can’t help feeling a twinge of schadenfreude over this pseudo-intellectual clinical psychologist cum political apologist being brought to his knees by the very therapies he was almost sure to have recommended to his patients. Hoist by his own petard!

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