Virgin births really happen — here are the animals that prove it

Yes, you read that right.

Virgin birth is a thing, and it’s been happening for millennia in some animals.

It’s something called parthenogenesis, which basically just means reproduction without fertilization. The mother provides both sets of the DNA necessary to create an embryo, which is typically female.

Here are the animals that are capable of having offspring that’s genetically all theirs.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-first-people-thought-that-virgin-births-happened-only-in-extreme-environments-when-animals-felt-pressure-to-perpetuate-their-species-that-included-animals-in-captivity-like-thelma-the-python-not-pictured-who-had-6-babies-in-2012-without-ever-coming-in-contact-with-a-male-python-1″
title=”At first, people thought that virgin births happened only in extreme environments, when animals felt pressure to perpetuate their species. That included animals in captivity, like Thelma the python (not pictured), who had 6 babies in 2012 without ever coming in contact with a male python.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1e85a9dd7cc24008b97eb”
source=”Flickr/Chad Sparkes”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/chad_sparkes/18040781202/in/photolist-tucHHL-4eZEko-fNzRfx-y2AEK-bzPmzT-6dtjMt-r8oN1M-r66vbS-2dWnxJ-2dWm21-5PRtGs-7F37CC-iU1GKy-cDwBE9-8WbnU3-8WbdML-vaxEt-2dWo5m-vWc9M3-w3gzq-arC1Zc-ijXtJ-927Yj-jAxwmW-9WTmn4-7yqTAS-xMC4ww-77xvx9-qkKS2-ebpWzw-hfG25t-5bK5GB-dRXwwM-NWe1M-nVFKH5-5XRau8-owQq5n-mHzsd-bjYEXE-6rzaq-iYjNu-iYjNi-r8rTU9-492vhe-qt1PFS-7Uz3bf-exhg4K-2vqaDs-gr3HLK-buGxMr”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#but-scientists-have-figured-out-that-animals-in-the-wild-can-also-have-virgin-births-back-in-1966-scientists-discovered-that-wild-whiptail-lizards-were-capable-of-making-their-own-female-offspring-2″
title=”But scientists have figured out that animals in the wild can also have virgin births. Back in 1966, scientists discovered that wild whiptail lizards were capable of making their own female offspring.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1ebaabd86ef12008b97f4″
source=”Flickr/Mechanoid Dolly”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#genetic-diversity-in-a-species-is-important-for-fending-off-diseases-and-maintaining-a-growing-population-this-bonnethead-shark-is-one-of-the-types-of-sharks-that-can-reproduce-asexually-by-parthenogenesis-in-captivity-4″
title=”Genetic diversity in a species is important for fending off diseases and maintaining a growing population.  This bonnethead shark is one of the types of sharks that can reproduce asexually (by parthenogenesis) in captivity.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1eb12bd86ef0e008b97bd”
source=”Wikimedia Commons”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#so-if-a-species-relied-on-super-similar-genetics-then-its-chances-of-being-completely-wiped-out-are-very-high-which-worries-scientists-but-that-shouldnt-be-a-big-problem-for-the-pit-viper–which-can-also-reproduces-through-parthenogenesis-in-the-wild–because-there-are-plenty-of-males-for-females-to-mate-with-5″
title=”So if a species relied on super-similar genetics, then its chances of being completely wiped out are very high, which worries scientists. But that shouldn’t be a big problem for the pit viper — which can also reproduces through parthenogenesis in the wild — because there are plenty of males for females to mate with.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1ec6b9dd7cc19008b98eb”
source=”Flickr/Michael McCarthy”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#other-egg-laying-animals-like-domesticated-turkeys-and-chickens-have-also-been-able-to-produce-offspring-without-mating-in-the-1950s-scientists-discovered-that-unfertilized-turkey-eggs-could-develop-embryos-through-parthenogenesis-6″
title=”Other egg-laying animals, like domesticated turkeys and chickens, have also been able to produce offspring without mating. In the 1950s, scientists discovered that unfertilized turkey eggs could develop embryos through parthenogenesis.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1e92f9dd7cc19008b98d6″
source=”Chip Somodevilla/Getty”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-insect-world-is-also-known-to-have-virgin-births-in-2008-researchers-found-that-in-the-case-of-cape-honeybees-in-south-africa-the-virgin-queen-bee-was-able-to-make-both-male-and-female-baby-bees-7″
title=”The insect world is also known to have virgin births. In 2008, researchers found that in the case of Cape honeybees in South Africa, the virgin queen bee was able to make both male and female baby bees.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f2fdf89dd7cc25008b9b28″
source=”Wikimedia Commons”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#mammals-for-the-most-part-arent-capable-of-virgin-births-but-in-2004-researchers-figured-out-a-way-to-make-mice-reproduce-via-parthenogenesis-8″
title=”Mammals, for the most part, aren’t capable of virgin births. But in 2004, researchers figured out a way to make mice reproduce via parthenogenesis.”
content=”(Source)
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55f1ef2fbd86ef0e008b97d4″
source=”Flickr/Global Pandora”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]