In what appears to be a case of divine intervention, a Komodo dragon in Tennessee has given birth to three hatchlings -- without ever getting anywhere near a male.
The seemingly miraculous birth occurred at the Chattanooga Zoo, where the Komodo dragon -- named Charlie -- produced three baby reptiles: Onyx, Jasper and Flint, zoo officials have revealed. Giving birth without a male's participation is a phenomenon called parthenogenesis, which Scientific American says is "extremely rare" among vertebrates; only 70 species -- or 0.1 percent of all vertebrates -- are known to do it.
Experts say Komodo dragons have evolved to reproduce both sexually and parthenogenetically because they're loners who usually don't like to interact with others. "Our staff is thrilled to play a part and to be able to witness this truly miraculous occurrence," says Dardenelle Long, Chattanooga Zoo's president.
Cover Photo: Getty Images