Skip to main content

Things We Saw Today: Life Found a Way With These California Condors’ Male-Free Births

Sattler and Grant looking surprised as they stare at dinosaurs for the first time in Jurassic Park.

For decades, conservationists have been coaxing the California condor back from the brink of extinction. As it turns out, the condors have been helping themselves as well, and through some pretty extraordinary means.

Recommended Videos

Scientists at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance just discovered that two of their condors were born without help from any males. The two birds in question were born to two different female condors, but neither had any DNA from any of the male condors at the facility.

This wasn’t even extremely recent—the birds were born in 2001 and 2009, respectively. The scientists only found out about the lack of daddy birds due to some standard genetic analyses.

This sort of thing has happened before outside of Jurassic Park, but never in condors—that we know of.

NatGeo writes:

The phenomenon, scientifically known as parthenogenesis, is extremely rare and has never been seen in California condors before. Female sharks, rays, lizards, and a few captive domestic birds are also known to occasionally experience virgin birth, but we just don’t know much about it.

Very amazed by/proud of these independent lady condors.


  • Marvel’s Eternals has been pulled from a few countries in an apparent ban over the film’s inclusion of a same-sex couple. (via Hollywood Reporter)
  • OMG OMG Taika Waititi has signed on to co-write and direct a film adaptation of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ “epic space opera” graphic novel The Incal. (via Deadline)
  • The new Netflix western The Harder They Fall, which has a predominantly Black cast and stellar reviews, also includes a sweet Easter egg tribute to Chadwick Boseman:

  • This is also very sweet: A senior couple decided they wanted to try out one of these newfangled video games they’d been hearing about and picked up The Last of Us 2. Then they put an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to help them figure out how to play it. (via Kotaku)
  • Will Smith says he fell in love with Stockard Channing during the filming of Six Degrees of Separation in the early 90s. (via HuffPost)
  • “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” (via The Washington Post)

Happy almost Friday!

(image: Universal)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: