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A New Kind of Crocodile

To study the Nile crocodile, researchers led by Fordham University's Evon Hekkala and the University of Florida's Matthew Shirley sequenced 123 contemporary Nile crocodiles and 57 tissue samples from mummified crocodiles, including ones found in ancient Egyptian temples, says a press release from the American Museum of Natural History, where the researchers did some of their work. As they report in Molecular Ecology, the researchers found that there are two distinct species of Nile crocodiles, an ancestral western clade and a derived eastern one that split about 8 million years ago. "Crocodiles are often portrayed as 'living fossils,' but that is a misnomer," says George Amato, director of AMNH's Sackler Institute in a statement. "Although they may look ancient and unchanging, the genetic evidence shows that these crocodiles are dynamic and adaptable and as modern as any other species alive today." The authors add that conservation approaches may need to be altered to reflect this new knowledge.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.