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Thread: Virgin komodo dragon managed to become pregnant without male help

  1. #1
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Virgin komodo dragon managed to become pregnant without male help

    Jesus has come back in the form of a dragon!

    ... makes sense actually ... (b/c of the no known predators thing)

    Virgin dragon to give birth in holiday season
    Komodo managed to become pregnant without male help

    By Maria Cheng
    The Associated Press

    Updated: 10:25 a.m. PT Dec 20, 2006

    CHESTER, England - As Christmas approaches, a virgin mother is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her offspring. She’s Flora, the Komodo dragon.

    In an evolutionary twist, Flora has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. It would seem the timing is auspicious: The seven baby Komodo dragons are due this festive season.

    “We were blown away when we realized what she’d done,” said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora’s home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. “But we certainly won’t be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus.”

    Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora’s virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

    The reptiles, renowned for their intelligence, are native to Indonesia. They are the world’s largest lizards and have no natural predators — making them on par with sharks and lions at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom.

    The cases of Flora and the London lizard, Sungai, are described in a paper published Thursday in Nature.

    Parthenogenesis is a process in which eggs become embryos without male fertilization. It has been seen in about 70 species, including snakes and lizards. Scientists are unsure whether female Komodo dragons have always had this latent ability to reproduce or if this is a new evolutionary development.

    At 8 years old, Flora — whom Buley describes as “demure” — is sexually mature. Having been raised in captivity, she has never been exposed to a male Komodo dragon. She lives with her younger sister, Nessie.

    Flora’s keepers first became suspicious in May, when she laid 25 eggs.

    Though it’s not uncommon for female dragons to lay eggs without mating, such eggs are not usually fertilized. As a precaution, they were placed in an incubator. About half of Flora’s eggs looked like real eggs — they were very white and had solid shells.

    When three of them collapsed, scientists took a closer look.

    “We saw blood vessels and a small embryo,” said Buley, one of the Nature study’s authors.

    “And we knew immediately that Flora had fertilized the eggs herself.”

    They then sent the collapsed eggs, along with tissue samples from Flora, Nessie, and a male Komodo dragon, to a laboratory in nearby Liverpool that conducted genetic testing to determine the eggs’ parentage. Results showed that although the baby Komodo dragons are not exact Flora clones, their DNA could not have come from any other dragon.

    At the London Zoo, Sungai gave birth to four dragon hatchlings in April through self-fertilization. After their births, Sungai went on to mate normally with a male dragon, producing another baby dragon.

    “Komodo dragons seem to be able to switch ways of reproducing to deal with a shortage of suitable boyfriends,” said Dr. Rick Shine, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Sydney, Australia. Shine was not involved with the Nature paper. In contrast, other lizard species that reproduce asexually cannot mate normally.


    That might give Komodos a distinct survival edge. Only about 4,000 dragons remain in the wild, of which 1,000 are female. Concerns about dwindling Komodo dragon populations might be allayed by Flora and Sungai’s recent self-induced motherhood.

    “If female dragons can on occasion help out by virgin births, more power to them,” said Trooper Walsh, a U.S.-based Komodo dragon expert, who was not connected to the study. “Komodo dragons are the ultimate survivors,” said Walsh. “This is just another way this species can adapt to its surroundings.”

    The discovery that Komodo dragons can reproduce asexually also has major implications for how they will be bred in captivity in the future.

    Experts are also keen to find out how prevalent virgin births are in the wild.

    “It’s baffling why a species starts doing this,” said Kevin de Queiroz, a research zoologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, who was not involved with the paper. “It would be helpful to know how often this happens and what the mechanism is that allows them do that.”

    In the meantime, Buley and his colleagues at the Chester Zoo are eagerly anticipating the hatching of Flora’s remaining eggs. A Christmas arrival, Buley says, would probably be on the early side, since the baby dragons are not technically due until January.

    © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16298548/

  2. #2
    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    A true Christmas story! Ahhhhh

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    lol
    nativity scene starring chaste kimodo dragon to be the christmas news of 2006

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    SVZ
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    Parthenogenesis is nothing new. That's how aphids reproduce (During the summer I believe). But it's cool that komodos can do it!

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    UPDATE: the dragon gave birth! JESUS IS COMING Y'ALL!!!!

    5 Komodo dragons born at British zoo By ROB HARRIS, Associated Press Writer
    Wed Jan 24, 7:19 AM ET



    A British zoo announced Wednesday the virgin birth of five Komodo dragons, giving scientists new hope for the captive breeding of the endangered species.

    In an evolutionary twist, the newborns' eight-year-old mother Flora shocked staff at Chester Zoo in northern England when she became pregnant without ever having a male partner or even being exposed to the opposite sex.

    "Flora is oblivious to the excitement she has caused but we are delighted to say she is now a mum and dad," said a delighted Kevin Buley, the zoo's curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates.

    The shells began cracking last week, after an eight-month gestation period, which culminated with the arrival on Tuesday of the fifth black and yellow colored dragon.

    The dragons are between 15.5 and 17.5 inches and weigh between 3.5 and 5.3 ounces, said Buley, who leads the zoo's expert care team.

    He said the reptiles are in good health and enjoying a diet of crickets and locusts.

    Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

    The evolutionary breakthrough could have far-reaching consequences for endangered species.

    Captive breeding could ensure the survival of the world's largest lizards, with fewer than 4,000 Komodos left in the wild.

    Scientists hope the discovery will pave the way to finding other species capable of self fertilization.

    While it wasn't unusual for female dragons to lay eggs without mating, scientists understood they were witnessing something important when they realized Flora's eggs had been fertilized.

    DNA paternity tests confirmed the lack of male input, although the brood are not exact clones of their mother.

    Parthenogenesis — where eggs become embryos without male fertilization — had only been noted once before in a Komodo dragon. Genetic tests showed that Sungai, a resident of London Zoo, was the sole parent to offspring last April.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070124/...irth&printer=1

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    SVZ
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    That baby is gonna be super inbred hehe

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    Elite Member Mariesoleil's Avatar
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    Better run from momma little ones, because Komodo dragons eat their youngs. That's why they usually go hide in trees when they're born, so the big komodos can't eat them.
    "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."

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    Gold Member latinaforever's Avatar
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    who says you need a man for everything.
    When you're strange
    Faces come out of the rain

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    Gold Member ArmyWifey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by latinaforever View Post
    who says you need a man for everything.

    I was just gonna say that!

  10. #10
    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    .....virgin birth.....sure......that's what all the women say when they get knocked up......

    Personally, I think she was fooling around in the lizard cage and just got caught.......the babies look suspiciously like Kevin Buley, the zoo's curator.....no wonder he's so happy....

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    Her clock was ticking and she got tired of waiting.

  12. #12
    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    ...uh-oh.....do you supposed Anna Nicole and Ole Howard visited the zoo recently?.....do the lizard babies have shifty eyes?.....

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    I want to know WHY they won't name one of the babies Jesus!

  14. #14
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    this is so cool lol

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