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Pregnant Stingray Confounds Experts

“Life will not be contained, life breaks free, it expands to new territories, it crashes into barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously,” said Jeff Goldblum, playing the role of chaos theory mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm in the iconic 1993 film Jurassic Park. “I’m simply saying that, well, life finds a way.”

That line was part of a fictional exchange, but it might have just as easily been uttered by real life scientists, baffled by a recent discovery at a storefront aquarium in North Carolina.

Charlotte the stingray lives at the Aquarium and Shark Lab in Henderson, North Carolina. She’s more than two thousand miles away from her natural habitat, off the coast of southern California. And it’s been more than eight years since she shared a tank with a male of her species, instead sharing a tank with five small sharks. But somehow, Charlotte has become pregnant.

Marine biologists call the process parthenogenesis, where a mammal can reproduce offspring from unfertilized eggs. It’s a rare phenomenon, but similar behaviors have been observed in other animals like California condors, Komodo dragons, and yellow-bellied water snakes. According to Katy Lyons, a research scientist at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Charlotte’s pregnancy is the first occurrence of her species, the round stingray.

“I’m not surprised,” said Lyons. “Because nature finds a way of having this happen.”

Editor’s Note: Unsurprisingly, the casual temptation for a skeptic may be to suggest that, even if there were a Jesus of Nazareth born of a virgin, it could have been through a parthenogenetic process. But given that parthenogenesis results in a near clone of the parent—and hence, all offspring are female—no one can suggest that a virgin conception of Christ could have been anything but miraculous. For further information, follow this link to Answers in Genesis.

Possible Preaching Angle:

God is sovereign and will not be constrained by any earthly obstacles, whether from biology or technology. Miracles do happen and they testify to God’s power. If we continue to submit our lives to God’s will, we might very well witness an unexpected blessing.

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