A zoo in Costa Rica has reported the discovery of the first instance of a crocodile that impregnated herself.

A fetus was created by her that had a genetic similarity to her of 99.9%.

The occurrence of what is known as "virgin birth" has been observed in certain types of birds, fish, and other reptiles. However, this has never been documented in crocodiles before.

According to the researchers, the characteristic could have been passed down from a previous evolutionary predecessor, implying that dinosaurs may have had the ability to reproduce asexually on their own.

In January 2018, a female American crocodile who was 18 years old laid an egg at Parque Reptilania. Although the fetus inside the egg was developed, it was stillborn and did not hatch.

The crocodile that laid the egg was acquired at the age of two and was isolated from other crocodiles for its whole life. Due to this situation, the scientific team of the park reached out to a group from Virginia Polytechnic in the US who specialize in parthenogenesis or virgin births.

After analyzing the developing embryo, scientists discovered that it shared over 99.9% of its genetic material with its mother. This confirms that the embryo was not fertilized by a sperm from a male partner, and

According to a study published in the journal Biology Letters of the Royal Society, virgin births may be a frequent occurrence among crocodiles, but have been overlooked because no one has actively searched for them.

According to a research paper by scientists, it is common for reptiles kept in captivity to lay eggs even without a mate due to their isolation. Typically, these eggs are deemed non-viable and discarded. However, the scientists recommend that potential viability of these eggs should be evaluated in the absence of male reptiles.

In addition, it is possible to have virgin births even when there are potential mates present, but these occurrences may not be noticed when females live with males and reproduce.

The reason for parthenogenesis in various species is not yet known, but it is being reported more frequently in scientific publications, perhaps because researchers are actively searching for it. A possible explanation is that parthenogenesis occurs in species that are capable of it when their population decreases, and they are close to becoming extinct.

According to the scientists, the recently discovered evidence provides intriguing information about the potential reproductive abilities of extinct crocodile relatives, specifically the dinosaurs.

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