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The Axial Tail Musculature of Recent Crocodiles and Its Phyletic Implications

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/29.3.857 857-862 First published online: 1 August 1989


The phylogenetic position of the Ganges Gharial (Gavalis gangeticus) among the living Crocodilia is reconsidered in the light of new biochemical and morphological data. The anatomical data suggest a sister group relationship between Gavialis and all other living crocodilians. In contrast the biochemical evidence indicates a sister group relationship between Gavialis and the false gavial, Tomistoma schlegelii, and the rest of the living Crocodilia. The new morphological data from the dissections of the caudal musculature clearly favor the phylogenetic relationship for Gavialis as proposed by the comparative anatomists. In this regard the findings of this study are concordant with those concerning the skull construction of the living crocodilians.

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