A new species of all-female lizard that reproduces via cloning has been discovered in the most unlikely of places: On the menus of small rural Vietnamese diners.
Ngo Van Tri, researcher of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, apparently first saw the lizard, now named Leiolepis ngovantrii, in tanks at a diner at which he was eating. He noticed all of the lizards were female, and contacted friend and herpetologist Dr. Lee Grismer, who then flew out to the restaurant in order to confirm the discovery. The restaurant owner said he’d keep a stash of the creatures waiting for the team.
Funnily enough, when the team arrived at the restaurant in order to examine the lizards, there weren’t any left; the owner happened to get drunk and serve all of the lizards to his customers. The research team decided to hire local children to collect more lizards, and soon the team had more than enough to examine and declared that the lizards were indeed a previously undocumented species.
Grismer summed up the story — and quite possibly nailed the human race with pinpoint precision — rather well: “It’s an entirely new lineage of life that was being eaten and sold in restaurants for food.”
(story via CNN; picture via Sierra University)