Virgin Komodo Birth

Eggs fertilized without male dragons

A virginal birth used to be something reserved for religion and myth, which are the same thing, depending on who you ask. Yet now we're not so sure. Two komodo dragons have laid viable eggs in Europe that seem to be doing well--completely without fertilization. If those things hatch, will we have a new paradigm regarding reptilian reproduction? 

Could there be an laternative explanation? Could there have been a time when they were with a male that wasn't documented, or even a mix up with another reptile? Sure, that sound ludicrous given their size, but what about a scientific practical joke by someone trying to either prove something or have a laugh? We know that reptiles can hold sperm for quite some time before laying, but one of the dragons, who unfortunately died this year, had four offspring that were born well but had the same DNA that she had.

It turns out that very few species can do this but it IS possible. Dubbed parthenogenesis, it's a reproductive process that a few dozen species are able to pull off. Do you know of any others able to do this?

 

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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