New crocodile species found hiding in plain sight
Studies of the Central African animal, which has unusually soft skin, also revealed its cousin to be critically endangered.
It’s not every day that you find a new crocodile species. For the first time in more than 80 years, researchers have fully described and named a new species—the Central African slender-snouted crocodile—which is found in a broad swathe of the continent from Cameroon to Tanzania.
This species has been dubbed Mecistops leptorhynchus, and characterized in a study published on October 24 in the journal Zootaxa.
The animal was, until now, considered to be the same species as its West African counterpart, Mecistops cataphractus, which will retain its original scientific name. The new designation brings the total population of the West African species down enough that it is now considered critically endangered. There are only about 500 individuals left in the