The critically endangered smalltooth sawfish was recently found to be capable of asexual reproduction. It’s an exciting discovery for many reasons, but breathless claims by the media that sawfish could save their species from extinction by resorting to virgin births are wrong, wrong, wrong. Let’s explore why.
When a mommy snake loves a daddy snake very much, sometimes they make a baby snake. At least, that's what you've been taught. But a twenty-foot two-hundred pound female reticulated python didn't follow the rules, giving birth to six offspring with no help from a male.
You've probably heard of parthenogenesis. Some female animals can produce offspring without having any eggs fertilized. But did you know that humans have found ways to induce parthenogenesis for hundreds of years?
Facultative parthogenesis, commonly known as "virgin birth," isn't unheard of in the animal kingdom, but it's especially rare among vertebrates. And while it's been observed in snakes in the past, never before has it been identified in any wildspecies. Until now.
In the 1950s, geneticist Helen Spurway learned of a woman, Emmimarie Jones, who claimed that her daughter had been born without a father. Spurway had studied parthenogenesis in fish, and was curious as to whether a so-called "virgin birth" was possible in humans. But decades before DNA profiling, how could she confirm…
Zebedee is a captive zebra shark in the Burj aAl Arab hotel's aquarium in Dubai. It has never met a male shark in its entire life, and yet for the last four years it has successfully, miraculously produced healthy offspring.
Chalk another one up to Jeff Goldblum — researchers say that female pit vipers, like the copperhead snake pictured up top, have joined the growing ranks of animals known to be capable of reproducing asexually, i.e. without mating with a member of the opposite sex.
Or, to put it in non-sensational terms: A boa in a pet store in Tennessee has reproduced asexually. And its offspring have a bizarre genetic makeup that scientists have never seen before.
As Christmas approaches, many prepare to celebrate the mystery of the virgin birth. Check out our list of science fiction's own examples of single-parent reproduction, from pre-programmed pregnancy to alien encounters and drug-induced parthenogenesis.
It's been a couple of years since scientists were able to create a baby mouse via parthenogenesis, combining the DNA from two female mice to create a baby with no father. Now it's time for a scary, smart movie about what would happen to a world where men were no longer needed for reproduction. It's every man's worst…