Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Virgin Shark Mother

To the medical unlikelihoods and religious miracles surrounding the phenomenon of virgin births, we can now add the story of a female Atlantic blacktip shark named Tidbit. Tidbit, who died due to pregnancy complications — the pup, also deceased, was discovered inside her womb after her death — had produced the offspring without the help of a shark father. The asexual reproduction, known as parthenogenesis, occurred at an aquarium in Virginia Beach, VA and the October announcement was only the second documented case in shark history. (An earlier case in Nebraska was found in a female hammerhead shark and was thought to be a fluke.) Tidbit was about 5 feet long and her baby, measuring about 10 inches, was nearly full term.