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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Evolution involves the development steps of a species from its early ages to date. This includes any development in the notable features of organisms which we see drawing a comparison from their earlier forms. During the prehistoric period, some traditions didn’t believe in the existence of God, i.e., the creation theory (Zhang et al. 2015). Therefore, people thought that all living and non-living things developed out evolution either through artificial selection or through selected breeding. For instance, there is a theory describing how man developed into what he is today (Schmiegelow et al. 2016).

An alligator is a crocodilian from the Alligatoridae family, alligators are also referred to as gator (Reber et al. 2017). Gators are commonly found in southern parts of America and Chinese lands. This kind of reptile is among the two-existing species from the genus alligator from the Alligatoridae family as stated above. Though from the same family, male alligators have different defining characteristics from female gators (Tracy et al. 2015). For instance, male alligators measure from 3 meters to about 5 meters weighing close to or up to 455kgs. Elsewhere, female alligators have a length ranging from 2.5 meters to about 3 meters (Joyce et al.2018).

In the Alligatoridae family, there are two living organisms, i.e., American alligators and Chinese alligators. However, the American alligators are bigger than alligators from the Chinese lands (Joyce et al. 2018). When compared to crocodiles, American alligators are larger than crocodiles with some features example; alligators have more overlapping jaws, and a thicker and darker skin (Widelitz et al. 2017). Additionally, regarding habitats alligators like staying in freshwater areas such as rivers, freshwater lakes, and even swamps, etc. That is because they are less tolerant to salt water areas which crocodiles can withstand staying in. On top of that, gators are more tolerant of cool climatic areas while crocodiles’ dwell in tropical climatic areas (Zhu et al. 2018).

American alligators are one of the dangerous predators both in water as well as on land. Gators feed on other living things, for instance, reptiles, amphibians, birds, small fish, and even mammals. Alligator’s hatchlings mainly feed on invertebrates in their growing environment which can be in water or even inland depending where mating took place (Tracy et al.2015). Alligators can breed in water as well as on land near water (Reber et al. 2017). Despite being a danger to other animals because they feed on them, alligators play an advantageous role for some organisms too (Widelitz et al. 2017). In wet areas, alligators make big holes where some animals eventually make their homes, or at times the big alligator holes serve as hiding places during in times of danger (Zhu et al. 2018).

Alligators together with crocodiles are among the living animals in the reptile class that has not malformed or changed many features from their earlier shapes when they first came into existence. During the prehistoric periods, alligators and crocodiles were however characterized by having a bipedal posture and a rather alligator-like characteristic of being vegetarians (Widelitz et al. 2017). This was dated long about 65 million years ago. During the prehistoric period, they were referred to as the ruling lizards because of their strong hunting abilities as well as their abilities to secure new territories in and out of the water. This was more common during the Triassic era when alligators had more fierce features such as more dangerous jaws (Tracy et al. 2015). On top of that, in the early old day’s alligators were characterized by slain limbs compared to their straight arms today (Widelitz et al. 2017).

It’s into the Mesozoic era that alligators evolved further by a notable three features. It is the primary physical defining features that species were identified with during this period. For instance, they evolved into having stubby legs through which they could walk or stand. On top of acquiring strong stubby legs, alligators evolved into armored bodies. Alligators evolved into stronger and tougher skinned bodies (Schmiegelow et al. 2016). The healthy bodies mainly helped them maneuver in the harsh conditions especially when walking on land. Alligators mostly move in a crawling may, and thus they require a hard skin to stand all the unforeseen obstacles in their way. The armored bodies also prevent any injuries which they could sustain from attacks either other animals when hunting as well as any injuries from attacks from humankind (Widelitz et al. 2017).

Additionally, in the Mesozoic period alligators significantly developed their marine lifestyles. Close reference from their previous lifestyles in the prehistoric era, alligators were common on land. They mainly stayed on land and most of their activities they conducted was on land. For instance, hunting and feeding, mating and breeding and also their main habitat were on land. In the Mesozoic era, alligators adapted the marine life (Schmiegelow et al. 2016). This was evidenced by alligators spending a lot of their times in water, hunting on land and feeding in water, hunting also in water, mating and breeding in or near waters (Joyce et al. 2018).

Another alligator evolution came about one hundred million years ago. This was towards the Cretaceous period. During this era, alligators from southern America began to develop big dinosaur like bodies. Most alligators came from the same family just like the southern American as well as the chines alligators. Dinosaurs, therefore, qualify to be classified as cousins of alligators. The Cretaceous era evolution saw the southern American alligators develop into healthy and terrible bodies. In fact, the biggest alligator which was also referred to as the king alligator was the Sarcosuchus (Widelitz et al. 2017). This king alligator measured a large 40 ft from that is from head to tail. It also weighed a staggering 10 tons and even more. From its name, it meant dangerous, fierce and terrible. Therefore, the southern American alligators became more feared among the other living organisms both in water as well as on land.  Alligators mainly hunted and fed on big snakes as well as turtles (Widelitz et al. 2017). They preyed on their food whole. This was an uncanny resemblance to the skull island from King Kong from China (Widelitz et al. 2017).

Alligators also developed into a more united family. This characteristic helped them attack enemies, protect and make more territories. For instance, being of a high risk of getting attacked, it’s arguable that their unified nature helped them get through the renowned K/T extinction event (Widelitz et al. 2017). The K/T extinction event so the then existing dinosaurs get cleaned off from planet earth. This extinction event happened about sixty-five million years ago. On top of being unified, alligators also had robust physical features which they used in attacking their enemies specifically people who aimed at killing them for their meat and skin. Alligators used to murder humankind by using their strong jaws through which they could scare away enemies, and also crush in case they caught any of their enemies (Widelitz et al. 2017).

On top of using chewing away the attackers, alligators’ skin is hard. Therefore, alligators could stand any form of weak attack possibly because their hard skin could withstand the pain. Another protective measure the southern and Chinese alligator used is by running away as a group. To ensure they escaped attacks, alligators ran away using their strong legs into water or even the bush where they could reorganize and after that attack their enemies. Explaining how this alligator fully escaped the extinction war from mankind is still challenging and mystical. It’s not always easy for animals to survive a planned attack from humankind. Man is regarded as the strongest living organism in the world. This is because of the superior intelligence man possesses which other animals don’t have. But the alligator’s unity perhaps has played a major role in protecting all living alligators from being washed away by man (Schmiege low et al. 2016). Living alligators and crocodiles today possess some features more similar like those of their ancestor species. Therefore, it's arguable to suggest that alligators remain to be more adaptive to their existing zones despite the hot conditions they find themselves today filled with human harshness (Schmiege low et al. 2016).

   Alligators face a number of challenges in their living environment. This is both inland as well as in the aquatic environment. The primary problem affecting the survival of alligators is a human invasion. The increased human population mainly led to massive loss of habitats for many alligators. Increase in human population has led to more people searching for more land to settle their increased number on. People have also cleared alligator habitats on land to create more space for human activities such as farming and expansion of their grazing lands. This has dramatically generated several alligators to remain homeless leading to massive deaths of the endangered organisms. As a result, alligators get themselves competing amongst other alligators, other animals as well as human beings for resources such as food and settlement places (Schmiege low et al. 2016).

On top of losing their land to human beings, alligator also faces another existence challenge caused by people. Alligator is at risk of being killed by people. Humans hunt alligators for their skin and meat. In the rise of manufacturing industries, man has seen the demand for alligator’s leather experience a rise. Alligator skins are in need when compared to other animals in the reptile group or even in the mammal group (Holliday. 2016). This results in more alligators losing their lives to an increasing number of game poachers. Alligators are also hunted for their meat (Joyce et al. 2018). Being a big and edible animal, poachers hunt alligator to get their meat. Alligators are enormous and can produce a significant amount of meat. In fact, the largest alligator to be recorded weighted a staggering ten tons.

Additionally, alligators face survival challenges as most of them are being killed by people. On top of being evacuated from their habitats, people also kill animals once they get into contact with them. This is arguable because of the animal’s fierce and terrible look. Researchers suggest that alligators are not very hostile if left untacked (Schmiege low et al. 2016). Alligators get viral once they get attacked. They got the fight back for purposes of survival. However, according to Holliday, due to man's lack of that knowledge and fear of the scary animals, man readily develops the idea to kill animals as soon as they get in touch with the dangerous organisms (Holliday. 2016). In fact, by 1970 before the campaign against the killing of these animals, a figure close to ten million alligators was reported to have been killed by humankind. Therefore, alligators still have the security worry as they are always chased by man for either their skin, meat or even because they believe that the species is dangerous to humankind (Joyce et al. 2018).

Another factor affecting the survival of alligators is climate. Changes in climatic conditions may also result in hazardous challenges to this animal. For instance, a rise in sea level the freshwater areas get affected as the region faces an incursion of saltwater. From the illustration about suitable habitats marine of alligators, these animals are less tolerant of salt water as well as tropical conditions (Montiel and Aboitiz. 2018) explain that when there is a rise in temperature, alligators suffer because they have to seek residence elsewhere to avoid the scorching water condition (Montiel and Aboitiz. 2018). Unfortunately, land alligators also face a growing challenge from attacks by humans. Therefore, alligators have to seek more adaptive techniques to help withstand the challenging hot climatic conditions (Schmiege low et al. 2016). The rise in temperature also results in a more challenge in the ratios of alligators. For instance, in many reptile species, the gender of their babies is substantially determined by the temperature in which the eggs incubate. When eggs incubate in areas of high temperatures, there are more chances of giving rise into male new infants while during low or cold temperatures, there are high chances that eggs will incubate and give rise to female new infants (Montiel and Aboitiz. 2018). Therefore, unbalanced climatic conditions will result in unequal or a hugely varied ratio. This may result in the extinction of the alligator species due to a decline of a given gender.

However, despite their terrific physical look that scares away humankind, alligators also perform a significant role to humanity. Alligators also play a beneficial role in the environment for both men as well as other animals. For instance, a significant role played by alligators is characterized by their ability to change the ecosystem through their hardtails and nostrils, alligators are capable of drilling big holes. Such holes serve as new homes for other animals as well as better hiding places for other small animals.

Additionally, alligator holes also serve as water storage points during wet seasons (Zhang et al.2015) explain that this water becomes helpful to both man and other animals such as fish during dry seasons. More so, man expounds the alligator holes into much bigger sites which they can then use to perform more activities including creation of new settlement areas (Reber et al. 2017). Another benefit of alligators to man is the creation of tourism activities (Montiel and Aboitiz, 2018).

 Once captured and taken to animal zoos many tourists, domestic as well as external tourists visit such places for enjoyment. As a result, tourism brings home a lot of revenue to the government (Zhang et al. 2015). Tourism also creates a lot of human avenues to sustain life. For instance, people get various kinds of employment opportunities working in game reserves and game parks.

In conclusion, I can arguably suggest that people should be responsible when they get in contact with alligators. People should at least report to the government authorities so that they get the animals protected to avoid their extinction. This will create a favorable environment for alligators to keep growing.

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