What was the first animal that we knew of to reproduce asexually?



  1. 0 Votes

    Asexual reproduction in animals (I’m perhaps unfairly excluding insects) is actually quite rare. I can’t speak to within which animal it was first discovered, but I can speak to some animals in which it is documented. Female hammerhead sharks were discovered to reproduce asexually, with the offspring possessing only maternal DNA. Asexual reproduction in female boa constrictors has also been documented, as well as amongst female  turkeys. One could argue that monozygomatic or identical twins (in which case one zygote splits to form two embryos) are an example of asexual reproduction, though as the egg nonetheless needs to first be fertilized externally, this might be a stretch. 

    For more information on asexual reproduction within sharks and boa constrictors, see the links below.


  2. 0 Votes


    It’s hard to say when we figured out asexual reproduction, because it actually took us awhile to figure out how sexual reproduction in animals work. We used to believe in “spontaneous generation” -that animals appeared all of the sudden from nonliving matter. For example, flies would appear around a corpse, so we thought that dead bodies spontaenously generated flies. It wasn’t until the 17th century that we started questioning this hypothesis, at least in Europe.  

    Asexual reproduction actually isn’t that uncommon in invertebrates (although most insects do produce sexually).  Sponges, jellyfish, and a multitude of single-celled and microscopic animals all produce asexually. 

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