Coquita the crocodile has been living alone in an exhibit in a Costa Rican zoo for 23 years. Scientists were shocked when the reptile laid several eggs back in 2018, one of which had a fully formed crocodile fetus inside. Coquita had never come across a male crocodile during her stay at the zoo, and researchers have spent the last several years studying her virgin birth story. The recently released research found that crocodiles are capable of a rare type of reproduction called parthenogenesis, which means that certain unfertilized eggs are able to yield offspring. In Coquita’s case, her offspring unfortunately didn’t survive and was deemed stillborn. Scientists were still able to determine that parthenogenesis was the cause of the bizarre story when DNA testing showed a 99.9% match between Coquita and the fetus. While parthenogenesis is not a new phenomenon, Coquita was the first known instance of it occurring in a crocodile.
Image via CNN
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