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Groundbreaking “virgin birth”of a crocodile in a Costa Rican zoo

Crocodile in zoo
By Moheen Reeyad, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Researchers have observed the first-ever case of a “virgin birth” in a crocodile. This crocodile had lived alone for around 16 years in a zoo in Costa Rica. In 2018, the female crocodile laid 14 eggs in her enclosure, even though she hadn’t been around males. Scientists noted something even more surprising: after three months of incubation, one of the eggs held a fully developed but stillborn baby crocodile. This finding adds to the puzzle.

More about this phenomena

Parthenogenesis is a reproductive phenomenon where females can produce offspring without fertilization by males. Such occurrences are rare and have been documented in certain reptile species. In parthenogenesis, the offspring inherit genetic material solely from the mother, potentially leading to a lack of genetic diversity in the population. This can have both benefits and drawbacks for the species’ survival, as genetic diversity is crucial for adaptation to changing environments.

“Crocodile makes herself pregnant in Costa Rican Zoo” Source: YouTube, Uploaded: BBC News

It’s important for researchers to thoroughly study and verify these findings to confirm the authenticity of this “virgin birth.” Scientific scrutiny will involve genetic testing and careful examination of the offspring’s genetic makeup to ensure that there was no male contribution. If confirmed, this case could contribute to our understanding of reproductive biology in crocodiles and add to the growing body of knowledge about parthenogenesis in various species.

SadiesBurrow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fun Facts About Crocodiles

  1. Ancient Predators: Crocodiles are ancient creatures that have existed for millions of years. They are often referred to as “living fossils” because their basic physical form has remained relatively unchanged over a long span of time.
  2. Powerful Jaws: Crocodiles have one of the strongest bite forces in the animal kingdom. Their jaws can exert immense pressure, making them formidable predators capable of taking down large prey.
  3. Temperature-Dependent Gender: The temperature at which crocodile eggs are incubated can determine the gender of the hatchlings. Higher temperatures typically result in males, while lower temperatures result in females.
  4. Superb Swimmers: Despite their large size and stocky build, crocodiles are excellent swimmers. They use their powerful tails to propel themselves through the water with surprising speed and agility.
  5. Parental Care: Some species of crocodiles are known for their remarkable parental care. Female crocodiles are fiercely protective of their nests and will guard them from potential threats. Additionally, crocodile mothers assist their hatchlings in reaching water and provide protection for them during their early stages of life.
Tomas Castelazo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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