Thursday, January 25, 2007


Scientists probe bizarre shark birth

`The world of marine biology is scratching its collective head after a female shark gave birth to a pup even though it had apparently been nowhere near a male of the species.

The bonnethead shark has been swimming in a tank at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, US, with two female companions for the past three years. [..]

The pregnancy could be a case of parthenogenesis – or asexual reproduction – which, although common in some amphibians, has never been reported before in sharks.

More likely, say the zoo’s scientists, the shark was impregnated before she came to the center and retained a male’s sperm in her reproductive tract until she was mature enough to conceive.’

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