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About Everything Wiki » News » Crocodiles turned out to be capable of "immaculate conception"

Crocodiles turned out to be capable of "immaculate conception"

08 Jun 2023, 00:00, parser
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Crocodiles have joined the list of species that are capable of parthenogenesis, which means same-sex conception. One of these cases was recorded in the zoo of Costa Rica. Research Discovery of facultative parthenogenesis in a new world crocodile this is published in the journal Biology Letters.

In the case described by scientists, an 18-year-old female sharp-winged crocodile, who has not been in contact with males of her species for more than 16 years, made a clutch back in 2018. As a rule, in such cases, reptiles lay sterile eggs that do not contain embryos. But this time 7 out of 14 were fertilized.

The female sharp-winged crocodile described in the study and one of her fertilized embryos. Photo: Warren Booth

Biologists have studied the embryos and confirmed that they really consist exclusively of the genetic material of the mother. True, the eggs never hatched, but this is a normal practice with "virgin reproduction," the study notes.

Boas and pythons have apparently healthy parthenogens. With venomous snakes, such as cobras, we see a different picture — most of them are either dead or deformed. The situation is similar in different species of sharks and birds, which are also able to reproduce through parthenogenesis.

Warren Booth
Biologist from Virginia Polytechnic University (USA)
A stillborn fetus. Photo: Warren Booth

This case of "immaculate conception" in a crocodile turned out to be a surprise for biologists. Now they do not exclude that such a thing could occur among dinosaurs — their prehistoric ancestors.

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