Remember a few years ago when we reported a shark that was born to a virgin mother? Here’s an update:
Scientists have solved the mystery of how a baby shark appeared in a tank of females without the help of a male: it was a virgin birth. The bonnethead shark was born through “parthenogenesis”, a process where an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilised by sperm.
Virgin births, possible in some birds, amphibians, reptiles and bony fishes, are extremely rare. It had never before been confirmed in cartilaginous fish, such as sharks and rays. The birth, in 2001, astonished scientists as placental animals, including this shark, were thought to need genetic material from sperm and egg to produce viable young.
(Thanks Ulysses Lazarus).