Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dawkins on Dragon’s Virgin Birth

Least we forget that Dawkins is smart too.

For a while, mysterious stories have been surfacing of captive females in zoos producing apparently fatherless offspring. For example, New Scientist reported on 25th April 2006 that Sungai, a female Komodo dragon in the London Zoo, now dead, laid fertile eggs which hatched into male offspring, despite not having seen a male for two and a half years. New Scientist offered two possible explanations. First, Sungai might have stored sperm in the way many insects do, and used it later. Second, Sungai might have cloned herself, producing offspring as genetically identical to her as her left foot is to her right. But isn’t cloning ruled out by the fact that the young lizards born by ‘virgin birth’ were all male? True clones would be genetically identical to their mother, and wouldn’t that mean they had to be female like her?

Source: Dawkins on Komodo Dragon’s Virgin Birth | Evolution Diary

I understand that if you look at the pattern on the back of the virgin Komodo Dragon, you see an image of the Virgin Mary. Plans are underway to skin her after she gives birth. Her skin will be a worshipped as a holy relic...

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