A zoo in Costa Rica has discovered a unique case where a crocodile has become pregnant without a male partner. It is the first known instance of a crocodile self-fertilizing and reproducing.

She gave birth to a fetus that shared 99.9% of its genetic material with her.

The occurrence of "virgin birth" has been observed in various types of animals such as birds, fish, and reptiles except for crocodiles.

According to the experts, it is possible that the ability to reproduce asexually may have been passed down from a common ancestor during evolution. Therefore, it is plausible that dinosaurs too had the capacity

In January 2018, a female American crocodile who was 18 years old laid an egg at Parque Reptilania. Sadly, the foetus inside the egg was already fully developed but didn’t hatch and was stillborn.

The park’s scientific team acquired a two-year-old crocodile that had been isolated from other crocodiles for its entire life. Due to this unusual circumstance, they reached out to a specialized US team from Virginia Polytechnic that focused on parthenogenesis or virgin births.

After examining the unborn child, it was discovered that it shared over 99.9% of its genetic makeup with its mother, indicating that it was not fathered by a male.

According to an article in the Biology Letters journal of the Royal Society, scientists suggest that parthenogenesis, or virgin births, could be more frequent in crocodiles than previously thought. This might have been overlooked before because scientists haven’t actively searched for such cases.

According to a research paper, it is quite common for reptiles in captivity to lay eggs even without a mate due to the isolation period. In general, these eggs are considered non-viable and are usually thrown away. However, the paper suggests that it is essential to evaluate the possibility of these eggs being viable if there are no males present.

In addition, it is possible for a female to reproduce without mating with a male, but this phenomenon may go unnoticed if the female is living with a male.

The reasons behind the occurrence of parthenogenesis in various species are not fully understood. However, it has been increasingly reported in scientific literature, possibly due to researchers actively searching for it. One hypothesis is that parthenogenesis may occur in species that are capable of it when their population numbers are decreasing, and they are at risk of becoming extinct.

According to the scientists, the new evidence provides exciting information about the reproductive abilities of extinct animals related to crocodiles, particularly the dinosaurs.

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