In nature, there are many animals (albeit mostly small ones) that have the ability to regenerate lost organs. Typical examples are newts, lizards or axolotls living in Mexican rivers. More recently, this list has suddenly been replenished with a much larger “specimen”.
In the process of research by a team of scientists from the University of Arizona and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, it was found that young American alligators are also able to partially regenerate areas of tails lost during fights.
The tails of three captured alligators were analyzed and found regenerated sites. The size of the largest overgrown fragment was 24 cm - 19% of the entire body length of the animal.
However, not everything is so simple, since the regrown part of the body does not completely repeat the original. As a result of anatomical examination, scientists have established that the regenerated tails lack skeletal muscles. They consisted of fibrous connective tissue resembling scar tissue. The changes also affected the bones.
The lost vertebrae were replaced by non-segmented tubular cartilages. Also, the outer scales, which have lost their characteristic slope in the upper part, are grouped more densely in comparison with the initial state.
The research results are of undoubted interest, since previously nothing was known about the ability to regenerate among large animals.