Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wonderful Natural Events

While I am impressed by the catchy name of parthenogenesis that this little process has, it is almost inevitable that the comparison to the worship of the virgin birth will make this particular blessed event offensive to some. But please note the incredible agility of the natural world, finding a way to keep the populations of various varieties going. I am awed by the wonderful sunrise that Barry from Alaska brought us this morning in a picture, and by the resilience of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker that has survived despite our severely injuring the virgin forests that are its habitat. While I would like to put up some of those pictures here, I'll just send along this wonderful description of Flora, whose ability to create her own species without cross-fertilization shows once again that we are not the crown, even of thorns, of creation. Enjoy the season!

As Christmas approaches , a virgin mother is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her offspring. She's Flora, the Komodo dragon.
In an evolutionary twist, Flora has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. It would seem the timing is auspicious: the seven baby Komodo dragons are due this festive season.

"We were blown away when we realized what she'd done," said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora's home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. "But we certainly won't be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus."

Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

The reptiles, renowned for their intelligence, are native to Indonesia. They are the world's largest lizards and have no natural predators — making them on par with sharks and lions at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom.



Blogger Vicar said...

There are so many "I told you to vote republican before the 2nd coming" jokes here I don't know where to start!

6:33 AM  

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