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A Loh Down is a capsule of intriguing scientific research presented clearly, in a witty way, because we believe humor makes knowledge sticky. There is no limit to the science we can present—whether it be in astronomy, biology, computers, evolution, global warming, psychology, politics, sports or beyond—as long as we can make the gist of it graspable in 90 seconds. Our audiences are experts and novices, old and young. Explore the site to customize your journey in your area(s) of interest!

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Another Virgin Birth

04.25.16

OMG—is Game of Thrones secretly a National Geographic show?



This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:



That is a stretch. But remember when Queen Khaleesi climbed on top of that fire and magically hatched three dragons? From those three glowing eggs? No male partner involved?



It turns out, even in the real world, dragons are famous for virgin births. And by that we mean Komodo dragons, the biggest reptiles in the world. In December 2006, a Komodo dragon named Flora fertilized, laid, and hatched eight eggs at the Chester Zoo in England. All without any proximity to a Mr. Komodo. DNA tests proved that Flora was both Mama and Papa to her babies, through a self-fertilization process called parthenogenesis.



Parthenogenesis is known to occur in about seventy vertebrate species such as snakes, fish, and lizards. But that was the first year it was seen in Komodo dragons.



Pressing question remains, though: Will Jon Snow come back from the dead?!? More scientific research—and popcorn—is needed.

    

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