Brief Bits on Births
Our editor Brian Trumbore has generously given me a week off
to prepare to travel with my wife on our yearly visit to Marco
Island in Florida. However, in case you missed it, I thought I
would note that the virgin Komodo dragon that I mentioned a
few weeks ago has indeed given birth to at least five cute little
lizards. Five eggs hatched and two more were unhatched when
the article by Rob Harris of AP in the January 25 Star-Ledger
was written. Flora, the Komodo mother and one of her little ones
were pictured in the article. The baby looks a bit like the gecko
in the GEICO TV commercials. Scientists have run DNA tests
and confirm that there was no father involved in the conceiving
of these little critters, which will grow up to be among the largest
lizards on the planet.
The little dragons were born in England but a birth in Hungary
was also cause for celebration. Another AP article in the same
Star-Ledger reported the birth of a 128-pound rhinoceros in the
Budapest Zoo. The Zoo officials tried to persuade the mother,
Lulu, and a male rhino, Easyboy, to get together and they did.
They apparently got along quite well and enjoyed each other’s
company but it was only a platonic friendship. Hence, according
to the article, the world’s first baby rhino conceived by artificial
insemination. Both the virgin birth of the Komodos and the
somewhat more conventional birth of the rhino have heartened
scientists concerned about the dwindling numbers of both of
these animals in the wild.
Next week, I’ll probably be musing about some sort of marine
critter found on my beach walks on Marco.
Allen F. Bortrum