Scientists Discover New Self-cloning Lizard Species at Vietnamese Buffet

November 12th, 2010 - 10:46 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

liuz Nov 12 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A report from CNN reveals that a previously unknown and undocumented form of self-cloning all female lizard has been discovered by scientists in the oddest of places…on the menu in a Vietnamese buffet in the Mekong River Delta.

In an unbelievable tale, a Vietnamese reptile scientist, Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, found several tanks which were full of tiny reptiles which were very similar to the Leiolepis ngovantrii, which is a small lizard native only to Southern Vietnam that is served in small diners along the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. He began to notice differences, however, in the lizards which he found in the tanks, with the main one being that these lizards were all female.

He went on to contact an American colleague, Dr. Lee Grismer, who is a herpetologist at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, and his son, Jesse Grismer, a doctoral candidate, and the two men immediately flew straight to Hanoi, and then took a very hard two day motorcycle trip to the restaurant where the new lizards were found.

The manager had promised Ngo Van Tri that he would keep the tanks of lizards until the arrival of his colleague. After having too much to drink, the manager had grilled every one of the new reptile species, and there were none of them left.

Not about to be undone, the men hired local kids to catch all of the lizards which they could find in the area. They soon had over sixty samples of this new species, which DNA testing revealed to be all female clones of their mothers.

“It’s an entirely new lineage of life that was being eaten and sold in restaurants for food,” Grismer exclaimed. “But it’s something that scientists have missed for hundreds of years.”

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