In 2001, a Hammerhead shark was born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska. The shark tank consisted of only three female adult sharks, all who had been in captivity for over three years. The birth of the shark stunned scientists!  Not until 2007’ did scientists discover how the birth occurred.  DNA testing showed that the shark had been born asexually through a rare method known as parthenogenesis (a direct development without the need of a sperm).  After determining which of the three females was the mother they subtracted the mother’s DNA from the offspring and there was nothing left. The researchers were forced to conclude that the pup had no father, making this the first documented case of asexual reproduction of a shark.

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Photo: John Bazemore

In 2008 Scientists confirmed a second virgin birth of a shark at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. A 5-foot Atlantic blacktip shark died of stress-related complications related to her unknown pregnancy. During the necropsy a 10-inch shark pup was found surprising aquarium officials. DNA testing on the embryonic pup proved that the pup carried no genetic material from a male.

Photo: Jeff Yonover)

Photo: Jeff Yonover)

More Info: Shark’s virgin birth stuns scientists