Many animals possess the ability to regenerate limbs, but until now, alligators were not among the lucky few. Geckos and iguanas are both able to regrow their tails over a period of time, and now there is proof that alligators do too. Alligators typically grow to be about 13 feet long, relying on their backends to maneuver them through water. After some careful research by the team at the Arizona State University lab, it was determined that tails from the gators don't stay shredded.
According to Cindy Xu, the study’s lead author and a recent Ph.D. graduate of Arizona State, there was more than meets the eye when it came to the study.
"We saw a lot of similarities between regenerated alligator tails and lizard tails," she said "including the presence of a cartilaginous structure, the scale patterning, and the [mismatched] coloration. We also saw the regrowth of peripheral nerves and blood vessels."
Cindy currently studies tendon regeneration and repair at Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to Xu, regrowing tissue is no easy task for a gator. It can be very draining to their energy, so it's often done over extremely long periods of time or not at all. The discovery is a big step for reptile research. This could shed light on the evolution processes, healing, and the growth of animals. Since alligators are direct descendants of dinosaurs, this could mean more paleontological evidence as well. See ya later, alligator...tails!