"These things were unique," says Javier Monzón, an evolutionary biologist at Stony Brook University in New York. They (Coyotes) were bigger and stockier with larger skulls — all the better to kill white-tailed deer, which were making a comeback as forests began to regrow.
"Rare species, like those that are endangered or colonizing a new habitat, may be the ones that are doing it most often," says Stony Brook University Professor Demian Chapman, who co-authored a study on the births. "Life finds a way."
‘Virgin Births’ Happen To Smalltooth Sawfish As They Face Extinction; What Caused Asexual Reproduction?
"There have been a number of cases in reptiles, birds and sharks of ‘virgin birth’ in captivity," according to Andrew Fields, a marine biologist at Stony Brook University. "This raises many questions about how common this mode of reproduction is in the wild."
The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, at Stony Brook University in New York, began the contest in 2011, when Alda first challenged scientists to explain, "What is a flame?" to 11-year-olds. Other questions have included "What is time?" and "What is color?"; children ages 10 to 12 can submit questions for next year’s challenge on the Flame Challenge website.
"If you can’t find a mate and you need to reproduce," says lead author Andrew Fields, a geneticist at Stony Brook University in New York, then virgin births are one way of solving the problem.
Andrew Fields, the study’s first author and a fish geneticist at Stony Brook University in New York, says that his team initially doubted the findings. But a careful analysis ruled out explanations other than parthenogenesis. "I think maybe if there was one individual it wouldn’t be a solid case, but the fact that we have so many in 190 samples, it’s pretty convincing," he says.
Andrew Fields, a PhD student at Stony Brook University in New York and the study’s first author, said the find was entirely unexpected. It came during a survey of the sawfish population in the estuaries of southwest Florida.
"There have been a number of cases in reptiles, birds and sharks of ‘virgin birth’ in captivity," Stony Brook University marine biologist Andrew Fields said. "This raises many questions about how common this mode of reproduction is in the wild."
Stony Brook University marine science professor Christopher Gobler says there are small fish kills every year, but says this one is not normal. He says six straight hours of zero oxygen were recorded at a point in the Peconic Estuary Thursday night into Friday. He says "nothing can survive in that."
Christopher Gobler, a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences who has studied algal blooms off Long Island for more than 20 years, said saxitoxin is normally detected in the region’s waters, but he has never seen saxitonin this high and never seen it cause such a wildlife die-off.