We Are Witnessing The End of Snake Men


So remember that part in Jurassic Park after the brachiosaurus sneezed on the girl, when Sam Neill discovers that even though all the dinosaurs are female, they are somehow reproducing? Well now, your favorite snake, the copperhead viper IS DOING THAT SHIT FOR REAL. An ecologist at the University of Tulsa has confirmed the very first reported wild facultative parthenogenesis. That’s right people, snake virgin births.

Parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction without fertilization, is not unheard of in nature. For some species, that’s the only way of reproducing. And while more zoos and aquariums are reporting surprise pregnancies in animals that require fertilization, it was previously believed that this only occurred with females in captivity isolated from males. Naturally, scientists were pretty dumbfounded that these lady vipers, that normally reproduce sexually, turned down totally capable male mates and just made their own baby snakes in the wild. Get it, gurl. If you know what you want, and a male is just going to hold you back, go for it.

However, unlike sexually reproduced litters, these parthenogenetic litters are characterized by snake babies with developmental failures and weak males, which further stumps researchers. Looks like the next step may be figuring out what the evolutionary purpose of opting out of creating genetically diverse, fit offspring.

It seems Dr. Ian Malcom may have been onto something with that whole “life, uhh, finds a way” thing.

[Scientific American]

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