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A female komodo dragon with no male partner gave birth to three hatchlings under very unique circumstances.
According to the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee, female Charlie and male Kadal were in the same habitat when Charlie gave birth to three boy hatchlings in August. However, the zoo couldn’t confirm Charlie and Kadal actually bred so it tested the lizards’ DNA and the results have arrived.
“*Maury Voice* Kadal, you are NOT the father!” the zoo announced in a Facebook post.
It turned out brothers Onyx, Jasper and Flint were born after a rare phenomena called parthenogenesis occurred.
Parthenogenesis happens when an egg, rather than sperm, fertilizes another egg. Komodo dragons are very aggressive and live in isolation so they evolved to reproduced sexually and this rarer way.
Oddly, because of how komodo dragon DNA is structured, only male hatchlings result from the process.
Parthenogenesis has only been observed in about 0.1% of vertebrates, according to Scientific American.
“Our staff is thrilled to play a part and to be able to witness this truly miraculous occurrence,” Dardenelle Long, Chattanooga Zoo’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “As the Komodo dragon is listed as vulnerable to extinction, these hatchlings are even more special and represent a bright future for their species.”
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