Embracing the Crocodile Cranium

Can a crocodile provide perspective on community?

Courtesy: BBC

Thanks to the mind of Nancy Napier, head of the Centre for Creativity and Innovation at Boise State University, I’ve come to believe so.

In this case, how a crocodile’s head can give us insight and appreciation for the fracturing we often see in our communities – whether those communities be bound by geography, shared interest or industry.

To make this synapse jump with me, consider what  scientists at the University of Geneva just discovered and shared in The Journal Science.  The scales on a crocodile’s head aren’t really scales at all. The lines on their heads are merely physical cracks rather than developmentally programmed scales that cover the rest of a crocodile’s body(source: SciTechDaily)


These cracks are formed kind of like the cracks that form in mud as it dries in the sun. The stress of the physical environment, the rapid growth of the croc’s skeleton, create these chaotic patterns of cracks. But these seemingly random cracks and fracturing across the reptile’s head and jaw eventually coalesce. As SciTechDaily noted,  “The tiny rifts soon grew longer and deeper, branched and interconnected. The patterns of lines were shaped by randomness and placement of the thicker domes.It’s been hypothesized that this mechanism allows for thick skin to form quickly at the same time as the head is still growing.”

So here’s my takeway -

As an advocate for entrepreneurship, economic development and diversity in leadership, I’ve frequently been frustrated by the islands of organizations that proliferate. Every few weeks it seems like we hear of another group starting to help startups, or enable entrepreneurs to network, or focus on job attraction.

But this dive into the world of reptilian craniums has given me a different perspective.

Is it possible that the stress and obstacles that inspire people to form their own individual organizations – which are similar to, but not aligned with  other groups – can be a good thing? That our community fracturing is merely part of our  lifecycle? Rather than being frustrated – I’m going to choose to say yes.

That like the crocodile’s crania development, our entrepreneurial ecosystem can and should develop in these often chaotic and seemingly siloed ways. Just as long as the eventual growth of the whole means they mesh together down the road for the benefit of all.

Did I make the jump for you? Would love to hear your feedback!