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The first crocodile virgin birth has been documented in an American crocodile by the name of Crocodylus acutus. For 16 years, Crocodylus acutus crocodile lived at a zoo in Costa Rica. She produced a clutch of 14 eggs, seven of which were artificially incubated since they appeared to be viable. Six of the eggs had indiscernible contents, while the others did not hatch. However, one of them was a completely developed fetus that was genetically identical to its mother and did not exhibit any signs of male involvement.
Credit : ozgurcankaya
According to an article published in the journal Biology Letters, this was the first instance of parthenogenesis in a crocodile. Parthenogenesis, or “virgin birth,” is the term used to describe this method of self-reproduction.
A kind of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis involves the generation of female gametes without any fertilization. The female’s egg cell splits enough times during parthenogenesis to produce half the number of genes needed for reproduction. Polar bodies, which are cellular sacs that store chromosomes and can fertilize the egg, are produced as a consequence of this process. A long-standing characteristic that can be passed down through the years is parthenogenesis. It is also thought that dinosaurs could also reproduce in a similar manner.
There is evidence of virgin birth in a variety of animals, including fish, birds, lizards, king cobras, sawfish, and California condors. It has never before been discovered in crocodiles. The Genetic testing of this first parthenogenesis egg revealed that the fetus was more than 99.9% genetically similar to its mother. This proves that there was no father. The egg, albeit completely developed, did not hatch because it was stillborn.
Laying eggs is a regular occurrence for reptiles kept in captivity. But after using a torch to examine Coquita’s clutch of 14 eggs, scientists decided to incubate seven of them since they could be viable artificially. Out of the seven viable eggs, there was only one completely developed offspring. It was termed a stillborn since it never hatched.
According to one view, certain creatures have the ability to reproduce by mating as a means of survival. It’s not just the crocodile that engages in it. Parthenogenesis, which was long thought to be uncommon, has now been confirmed in several vertebrate lineages, according to the researchers of the crocodile report.