After four years alone, female shark has babies without a male mate

  • Leonie, a female zebra shark in Australia, had three offspring in early 2016 after being completely isolated from males for roughly four years.
  • According to New Scientist, Leonie was first paired with a male at an Australian aquarium in 1999; the couple had over two dozen babies.
  • In 2012, aquarium staff moved Leonie’s partner to another tank, leaving her alone— which is why scientists were stunned when she gave birth.
  • How did it happen? It could be because of a kind of biological contingency plan for if there are no male sharks around.
  • According to New Scientist, sharks are capable of asexual reproduction if there’s a genetically identical cell called a sister polar body nearby to fertilize it.  Read more

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Diving with sharks in South Australia