Researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said genetic testing confirmed that two male chicks hatched in 2001 and 2009 from unfertilized eggs were related to their mothers. Neither was related to a male.
The study was published Thursday in the the Journal of Heredity. It’s the first report of asexual reproduction in California condors, although parthenogenesis can occur in other species ranging from sharks to honey bees to Komodo dragons.
But in birds, it usually only occurs when females don’t have access to males. In this case, each mother condor had previously bred with males, producing 34 chicks, and each was housed with a fertile male at the time they produced the eggs through parthenogenesis.