Who needs men at least thats what I hear from the Whiptail Lizard community
The three Whiptail Lizards on view in the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians all play a part in one of the greatest mysteries of nature.The New Mexico Whiptail, pictured here, is an all-female species that is actually a mixture of the other two examples on display at the Museum — the Western Whiptail, which lives in the desert, and the Little Striped Whiptail, a denizen of grasslands.
Most products of crossbreeding, such as the mule, are sterile. But the New Mexico Whiptail, as well as several other all-female species of whiptail lizard, does reproduce, and all of its offspring are female. Moreover, it reproduces by parthenogenesis — its eggs require no fertilization, and its offspring are exact and complete genetic duplicates of the mother.
Scientists understand only partially how this reproductive mode developed, and it raises many questions. One of the most intriguing is how this cloning affects the lizard’s ability to adapt to environmental changes. Since there is no genetic variation except that which occurs through mutation, the New Mexico Whiptail cannot evolve as other species do.
The New Mexico Whiptail Lizard also offers an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the role of sperm in fertilization, as well as about cloning. Through this anomaly, scientists may learn more about the norm.