Post by Vierotchka on May 24, 2013 15:37:23 GMT -5
Anteater Gives Birth Without Mating, Zoo Officials Puzzled
A female anteater that gave birth despite the absence of a male partner at a zoo in Connecticut has zoo officials confused and racking their brains for answers. (Not pictured.) (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
A female anteater that gave birth despite the absence of a male partner at a zoo in Connecticut has zoo officials puzzled, offering a bizarre situation where likely explanations to the mystery are in short supply.
Calling it an immaculate conception would not be completely accurate, but it provokes the right idea.
At Greenwich's LEO Zoological Conservation Center, a female giant anteater called Armani gave birth as planned last August. Because male anteaters are known to eat their young, Armani's mate, Alf, was removed from cohabitation for a period of several months. The story gets weird when last month, a zookeeper went into to Armani's holding area one morning and found that she had given birth to another baby.
"The gestation period for anteaters is six months. Armani and Alf had not been back together long enough to do what they needed to do to put the cycle of life into gear a second time," wrote Lisa Chamoff, who broke the story in the Greenwich Times. So how did it happen?
If the offspring is female, it might be... parthenogenesis >asexual reproduction in which an egg develops without being fertilized by a spermatozoon, as in certain lower animals, especially arthropods; it may occur as a natural phenomenon or be induced by chemical or mechanical stimulation (artificial parthenogenesis)<