"The largest lizards in the world are capable of "virgin births".
Scientists report of two cases where female Komodo dragons have produced offspring without male contact.
Tests revealed their eggs had developed without being fertilised by sperm - a process called parthenogenesis, the team wrote in the journal Nature.
One of the reptiles, Flora, a resident of Chester Zoo in the UK, is awaiting her clutch of eight eggs to hatch, with a due-date estimated around Christmas.
Kevin Buley, a curator at Chester Zoo and a co-author on the paper, said: "Flora laid her eggs at the end of May and, given the incubation period of between seven and nine months, it is possible they could hatch around Christmas - which for a 'virgin birth' would finish the story off nicely.
"We will be on the look-out for shepherds, wise men and an unusually bright star in the sky over Chester Zoo.""
Question: is this latest act of Mother Nature parody, satire, irony, sarcasm, absurdity, or a mere practical joke? Discuss.
Here is a picture of one of the baby Komodo Dragons that was recently born of a virgin, to guide you in your reflections:
A false messiah if ever I saw one. Which, of course, I never did.