Of Alligators And Men

102_1481The other day I was reading in the Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida student newspaper, about a researcher on campus who was studying alligators. This researcher, one Ashley Boggs, was specifically studying the growth rates of alligators. She collected eggs from the relatively clean Lake Woodruff and eggs from the more contaminated Lake Apopka, not far away from the Kennedy Space Center. She was looking at the effect chemical elements in the water, such as flame retardant and heavy metals, have on alligator growth. Some of these alligators at the same age as others in the research show dramatic differences in size. Ultimately she hopes to show whether the degree of pollutants in the water at one lake have made the alligators remarkably smaller hailing from there than the alligators hailing from the much cleaner lake. I have read children on stimulants for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tend to be smaller than children who are not on pills for this disorder. Maybe we should be giving alligators such stimulants, no, not because they have ADHD, but to see how their size compared with alligators that weren’t being given such chemicals. We could then see if they were affected in the same fashion as human beings.

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