Crocodile in Costa Rica

The first known incidence of a "virgin birth" in the crocodile species occurred in Costa Rica when a crocodile became pregnant on her own.

The crocodile was housed in a zoo and was not allowed to interact with men, yet one of her eggs had a completely developed baby.

Genetic testing revealed that the foetus was 99.9% genetically similar to its mother, proving there was no father.

Parthenogenesis, or virgin births, has been seen in fish, lizards, snakes, and birds, but not in crocodiles.

When the crocodile in question produced a clutch of eggs in 2018, she was 18 years old.

Seven eggs that seemed to be viable were prepared for incubation, but after three months no eggs had emerged, so they were released. One of them had a stillborn crocodile foetus.

The foetus was examined by Virginia Tech parthenogenesis experts, and the results of their analysis were published in the Royal Society Journal of Biology Letters.

They said the finding shows that crocodiles may be giving birth to virgins covertly.

Given the time spent apart from their partners, captive reptiles often produce clutches of eggs. Normally, they would be deemed non-viable and thrown away.

These results imply that when males are not present, eggs should be examined for possible viability.


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