Thursday, May 14, 2015

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 18

Wait, what? A new episode of the CrocLog Podcast!? Yes, it's true. And just to be confusing, this is Episode 18. What happened to Episodes 16 and 17, you might ask? Well, they exist on my hard drive - almost complete - and they'll be coming soon. It's a long story involving editing taking far too long, and being way too busy, but they're coming.

Far too much time was spent on previous episodes editing the audio and making it sound smooth. Well no more, Episode 18 is the entire thing without any editing, other than the opening and closing music tracks. I think it works a lot better, plus here it is now rather than being delayed by six months.

The theme in this episode is crocodiles in unusual places. We talk about crocodiles turning up in Martinique and Crete, we discuss two unfortunate examples of crocodiles being shot and blown up respectively (clearly without any respect), we talk about large crocodiles in India, and an extinct crocodile called the Carolina Butcher that may have been bipedal. Brandon summarizes some recent crocodile attacks, and we dissect a crocodile attack video.

Links and the podcast below:

Fake crocodile attack video: Bill's Channel: Crocodile attack, real or fake?

Direct link / Download

iTunes link



Alex Walker said...

I really enjoyed this. I'm a scholar in the humanities with a jealous bone for folks like y'all :-) I've been fascinated with alligators and their relatives for 30+ years, but I have a difficult time when I try to find greater detail on the physical, behavioral, and ecological attributes of individual species. I'd love to see posts or podcasts from you that answer some of my questions. Here are a few (for the heck of it):

(1) What does the recent record-breaking alligator from Alabama tell us about claims of 16+ foot gators recorded in the 19th century? My understanding is that crocodilian skulls do not adhere to a strict ratio with regard to total length as the creatures increase in size (I think 1:8 is possible). Do the handful of 14+ foot alligators that have been recorded officially during the past 100 years tell us anything more about the possibility that skulls in modern collections (whether attributed to a claimed 16+ foot gator or found as subfossils) might come from animals of a size not recently documented? And is there a physiological reason why American alligators are strictly non-tropical? I find it hard to believe that they couldn't compete with crocodiles and caiman further south. Are they just so completely evolved to survive the weather of the Southeast, with its guaranteed freezes every winter, that they cannot breed and feed successfully in Mexico and Cuba? And is there a firm northern boundary to their distribution? I believe there is evidence that they once occupied Virginia and Tennessee, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

(2) The black caiman...I don't know where to start. I think it's my favorite crocodilian (who couldn't love it's colors and extra-ancient-lookin' head!), but it seems to be the most poorly documented. All sources, scientific or otherwise, seem willing to assign a potential size that I find hard to believe. Do we have data on the skull-to-total length ratio for black caiman? To me, their heads seem bigger in relation to body length than is the case for alligators. And why are black caimans limited in their distribution? Are they incapable of competing with crocodiles? Why wouldn't there be black caimans in Central America? What's going on?

(3) The Cuban crocodile: We know it was present in the Bahamas prior to human arrival there (not too long ago, possibly as recently as 500 years). Why was the American crocodile the species to colonize Florida? Were there Cuban crocodiles in Florida during the ice age? Does anyone know?

(4) Absolute weight: The largest alligators have been over 14' long and have weighed just over 1,000 lbs. What is the weight of a 14' Saltwater crocodile? Are American alligators the largest (per inch) crocodilians, or do Saltwater Crocodiles show similar weights at the same lengths?

(5) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me more about the recently extinct (semi-?)terrestrial crocodiles of Australasia! I first read about the one from New Caledonia when I was a teenager, but I haven't heard too much more about them since.

Anyway, thanks again for making such a great podcast.

Adam Britton said...

Hi Alex, thanks for the comments and questions, glad you're enjoying the podcast. There's a lot of detail required for proper answers to these, and I'm currently busy with a work project, but I'll be back in Darwin in early November so I'll make sure we include answers to these in the next podcast that we'll record around that time. Cheers, Adam