Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech It's funny.  Laugh. Idle News Science

Lizard Previously Unknown To Science Found On Vietnam Menu 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-the-bigfoot-burger dept.
eldavojohn writes "A lizard long served on the menu in the Mekong Delta has recently caught the attention of scientists when it was noted that all animals in the species appeared identical as well as female. The species appears to be a hybrid of two other species (like a mule or liger). But the curious thing is that this hybrid isn't sterile — it reproduces asexually. The species, known for some time in Vietnam, has now officially been named Leiolepis ngovantrii."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lizard Previously Unknown To Science Found On Vietnam Menu

Comments Filter:
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:10PM (#34200126) Journal

    Leiolepis ngovantrii, That's a mouthful. And a delicious mouthful too.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:12PM (#34200152) Homepage Journal

    You got a Lizard on the Menu? I had a fly in the soup!

    No tip from me, that's for sure. And I'm telling all my friends about this!

  • Hmmm.. what if (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder how the world would function if we reproduced asexually (ie 1 gender only). lol
    • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:14PM (#34200190)
      Us geeks would actually be able to reproduce?
    • by codepunk (167897)

      The only thing I know is I would be one rich dude.

    • Then /. would be the place on the Internet with the most (knuckle)children as opposed to the least.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Pirou (1551493)
      Who is to say we don't? Parthenogensis, while generally (allegedly) uncommon outside of invertebrates, is nothing new. If one were given to biblical pontifications, you could say that it's even been documented in humans. I'm more inclined to believe that things I've read in books that were several thousand years old were written due to lies made by an ashamed couple, but given the lack of 'medical science' that we presently have compared to then, I would be a fool to completely write it off. If it's still
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Eh. If you're going to take the "you can't prove it DOESN'T happen" approach, then we may as well assume that some humans can outrun speeding bullets, stop locomotives dead in their tracks, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. After all, given the lack of 'medical science' that we presently have compared to what we'll have in a hundred years, you'd be a fool to completely write it off, right?

      • It's absolutely happened in humans; I saw it in an episode of House, so it must be true!
        • by sagematt (1251956)
          No, you didn't. House admitted afterwards that he lied about it. That woman cheated on her husband but refused to admit it.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        You wouldn't' be a fool to write it off after you studies the part of the bible and that part of the world at that time. Assuming there were a 'Joseph' and 'Mary' it would be far more likely they made up the story so she wouldn't be killed.

        Of course, taking a pregnant woman through that part of the world during that time would really mean the husband would be a childless widower when he arrived. SO the whole thing is ridiculous. And before some one parrots what there religious leader says at me, the census

    • I wonder how the world would function if we reproduced asexually (ie 1 gender only). lol

      It would be one honking huge banana republic, obviously.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:15PM (#34200200)
    How does it taste?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by brokeninside (34168)
      Like chicken.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Quoting the CNN article
        Grismer complained that he had to hold his breath while eating the local dish to appear polite to the restaurant owners.
      "You take a bite out of it and it feels like something very old and dead in your mouth," he said.

      • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:44PM (#34201240)
        Ah. Like KFC then.
        • In an ironic twist that any American who has visited Vietnam can attest to, the KFC in the socialist republic is literally finger-licking good. It is amazing how good the southeast asian (non-vietnamese) imported chicken is. I think it's from Thailand or something. You can mock the Colonel, but imagine his 11 herbs and spices on really, really good chicken meat.

          Of course, what gets the locals in the door at KFC here is that the Colonel kinda looks like Uncle Ho - same beard,and his hair isn't so obvious in

      • I suppose that's better that tasting like something very young and ALIVE...

    • by mekongdelta (1938892) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:45PM (#34200592)
      It tastes quite good, really. It tastes best when fried. It is crispy and sweet, like snakes. I used to hunts these lizards and ate them once in a while but back then (more than 20 years ago) few people ate them unless they had Asthma. It is an effective medicine to treat Asthma.
      • by thePig (964303)

        It is crispy and sweet, like snakes.

        Thanks, that will help. :-)

  • Science is tasty!
  • Yes, but (Score:1, Redundant)

    Yes, but how does it taste?
  • Mystery meat
  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:30PM (#34200414) Homepage Journal
    "What's that? You're selling Iguana on a stick? Give me a second to get another Nuka-Cola out of the fridge first."

    ;)

    Alternative allusion:
    "You eat one Iguana on a Stick.
    +25 hit points.
    Temporary +1 to Science skill"
    • by Linsaran (728833)
      I prefer the 'choice cuts', or rather, I used to prefer the choice cuts before I found out what it was made out of. Now I eat a diet exclusively of soylent green.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      You forgot the Rads.

    • by Zumbs (1241138)
      I only like the ones from Iguana Bob in the Hub. I don't know how he does it, but I swear I have never tasted anything that great.
    • Silly... there's no Iguanas in New York State... ... but you know I *love* my Soylent Green.
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:34PM (#34200454) Journal

    Be glad we got to see it before we eat it into extinction (too.)

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:35PM (#34200470)

    Usually means unknown to western science.

    I'm sure some ancient biologist documented them but it was never translated to English, if written at all. Its hard enough for the casual observer to tell a lizard's gender that nobody even noticed.

    Rural people, even western people, see things every day in their environment that they assume is well known, and never bother to document. When noticed "scientists" it somehow becomes a discovery.

    Someone "Discovered" America. Those already living in America at the time "Discovered" large sailboats at about the same time. Perspective.

    • by Bowling Moses (591924) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @06:10PM (#34201536) Journal
      "Rural people, even western people, see things every day in their environment that they assume is well known, and never bother to document. When noticed "scientists" it somehow becomes a discovery."

      There's a reason for that. If you or I or a local group of people know something, great. But it's local, and limited, and easy to wipe out. Once that knowledge escapes that small group, either by the actions of that group or by an external factor it becomes something greater: part of the shared knowledge of humanity from which someone with no connection to the initial source of information can nonetheless make use of. For instance I'm working on a paper with a Chinese collaborator about the traditional use of certain plants by local farmers to combat pest insects. We're describing what those local farmers are doing (and probably have been doing for centuries) and providing an additional biochemical perspective; this knowledge will for the first time be available globally. It could lead to new insecticides, or perhaps the wider adoption of these plants themselves as organic insecticidal agents, and either or both could be done far outside the isolated community in which the use of these plants was found. This work is just a tiny part of a much larger, decades-long, global research effort by thousands of scientists (note lack of scare quotes) to try and take traditional medicine and other practices (including westerners: aspirin [wikipedia.org], for example), discover what works, how it works, and make that knowledge generally available. How's that for some perspective?
      • This work is just a tiny part of a much larger, decades-long, global research effort by thousands of scientists (note lack of scare quotes) to try and take traditional medicine and other practices (including westerners: aspirin, for example), discover what works, how it works, and make that knowledge generally available.....

        and then patent it (e.g. turmeric), so they can use it commercially. The patent then raises the specter of legal threats against the people who use it and have been using it traditiona

    • Would be easier to capture specimens if the locals would stop catching them all for food and medicine.
    • by c6gunner (950153)

      Usually means unknown to western science.

      Um, no, it means "unknown to science". The sous-chef at Crazy Duong's Iguana Eatery is not a scientist, nor is his second cousin with the acupuncture needles and the powdered tiger penis.

      Someone "Discovered" America. Those already living in America at the time "Discovered" large sailboats at about the same time. Perspective.

      Someone "Discovered" an ant colony. Those already living in the ant colony "Discovered" some huge monster peering at them with a magnifying glass. Perspective.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      the idea of western science is a false dichotomy. There is no western science, there is no eastern science, there is just science.

      When ti is documented and study it's considered a scientific discovery.

      Yes, the discovered America. They didn't know much about it. They went there documented for them it was a discovery.

      Just like when I first moved to this city, and discovered a nearby 7/11.

      If you went out,, found something not previously discovered and correctly documented that YOU would have made a scientific

  • by alphastrike (1938886) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:38PM (#34200504)
    That's interesting, sexual reproduction is meant to increase genetic variation within a population and adapting to evolutionary changes. An animal that forgoes this process and clones itself to reproduce must of had genetic defects already weeded out from the gene pool at large. It might have perfectly adapted to survive in its surroundings, without experiencing harsh evolutionary demands. If this lizard has been around for millions of years, it might be interesting to analyze genetic variance of individual lizards, and see how many original lines exist within the population. After all if they are clones, it's possible that the entire species is consisted of clones descended from ONE individual! That's pretty rad stuff for the animal kingdom.
    • by L3370 (1421413)
      I was thinking the exact same thing as I read the article. Genetic diversity should increase a species ability to stick around which makes you think how unusual something like this is still around. There are other lizards that can perform "virgin birth" but even those species still reproduce sexually when permissible.

      If cloning is the only way they reproduce, they either must be genetically perfect for their environment or their environment has resisted drastic change.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Cloning does not mean you must be perfect. The clone is genetically just as good as the parent, so you only must be able to live.

        The big advantage of sexual reproduction is that you get much more combinations, i.e. you can combine your faults much better and carry around a much bigger amount of faults.

        So clones are usually better, but only as long as the rules do not change. Once a fault gets a bonus because it gives you some immunity to some illness, the clones have a hard time, because they do not collect

      • Eh, there's not really anything such as genetically perfect, even for a specific environment. In evolution, the main value is "good enough". Sometimes maybe "prolific" like ants. Or sometimes "dominate", but that has it's own pitfalls like the super-shark that ate themselves out of an ecosystem.

        But you do have a point. Sexual reproduction is typically faster to adapt then asexual reproduction.
        I was going to say something along the lines of how a strain of bacteria is probably able to change a larger pe
      • by mrmeval (662166)

        There are 24 billion chickens and 1.53 billion cows in the world. BEING TASTY TO HUMANS IS A SURVIVAL TRAIT!

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          On the other hand, there are probably less than a million Bison left in the world, and they taste MUCH better than cows or chicken. Being tasty might be a survival trait today in some parts of the world, for some species, but it's also been rather detrimental at times.

          • by mrmeval (662166)

            Highly detrimental. I should say "Tasty and manageable" in the future.

            "We breed chicken/pig/cow to be a tasty treat. We're bred to eat that tasty meat."

            With allergies and such we might find that we've restricted ourselves to very limited food choices. Even now I know people who have limitations on what food they can eat to such an extreme that I'm amazed they can live.

          • The survival trait seems to be "being tasty and easy to raise in great number". If that really is an evolutionary advantage in the long run remains to be seen. While the number of cattle, pigs and chicken greatly increased compared to the wild, the genetic diversity of their population strongly decreased. This is a severe disadvantage that hampers quick adaption should the conditions change. In case of the collapse of technological civilization, be it peak oil, nuclear war, an asteroid impact or the inevita
            • I don't think that is as much of a disadvantage as most people think.

              I provide, as an example, feral dogs and feral pigs.

              Dogs that go feral start from one of the many breeds that we have of dogs, yet once they interbreed in "the wild," they breed back true to form. All pigs that go feral, in a very short few generations, regain hair and dark pigmentation.

              If humans ceased to exist tomorrow, the cattle, chickens and pigs that survive "the fall of man" will breed true to form and diversify quite easily. Huma

              • I agree that dogs and pigs will probably have the best chances. Dairy cows, on the other hand? Don't see much chance for them - they'll be dead within weeks in the wild given their milk overproduction and tendency to get a fresh udder infection every other week.
                • And that is the point of evolution. Out of those billions of cows there will be some that won't "get a fresh udder infection every other week" and they'll win the evolutionary lottery.

                  Don't kid yourself: the 1.53 billion cows quoted above is a very large number of cows; not only will some survive, but lots will survive in lots of areas -- enough to interact and to continue to survive generation to generation. (Though I try not to imagine the stench of 1.5299 billion dead cows!)

                  But that's not even taking i

                  • Sure thing - I completely agree that the domesticated species will survive. As you say, there are enough of them to retain sufficient diversity. Guess my point was indeed kinda trivial - the evolutionary advantage of lifestock is temporary, as all evolutionary advantages are. They are highly adapted to coexistence with human civilization. It still feels like a dead end niche, though.
                    • It's a niche adaptation... and like all niche adaptations, it's useful for as long as the niche exists.

                      But the truly useful thing to being a tasty and easily domesticated animal is the fact that human beings will fling you to all corners of the planet so when the niche ceases to exist, there are cows all over the planet to test out their ability to adapt in a bunch of new niches.

                      Being widespread is a huge evolutionary advantage whether the niche ceases to exist or not.

                      Just look at apples, no longer confined

                    • Ahh, yeah. Hadn't thought of that one. I think you got the core advantage nailed down there. Well, I am just a biochemist. Everything above a purified single protein is too complex for me :P
    • No. Genetic variation still exists. Yeast produce asexually, but many strains exist, and new strains are developed all the time. Your statement is predicated on perfect genetic replication every time, which doesn't always happen. If that were the case, bacteria and virii would be eternally unchanging. Evolutionary changes are slower however, since they rely on mutations within a single organism, rather than mixing different genetic lines.
      • by hitmark (640295)

        Was there not something recently about a snake that reproduced asexually even tho it had gender? Something about it mixing different eggs to produce much the same effect as when mixing a egg and a sperm?

        And even single cell organisms can evolve "rapidly" if there is outside pressure. Hell, we already are seeing bacteria developing resistance to our most used ways of killing them. They may even be evolving that so fast that big pharma is uninterested in researching it, as the ROI will be to low...

    • There are actually a number of groups of asexual lizards like these. In the U.S. and Mexico, we have the genus Aspidoscelis (originally Cnemidophorus), known as whiptail lizards. There are about a dozen asexual species, each representing the hybridization of of a parrticular combination of sexual species. Some of the asexual species are even triploid, having chromosomes from three different species. (Most animals are diploid, with one set of chromosomes from each parent.) In Europe, they have the lacer
      • > Interestingly, the U.S., European, and now these Vietnamese species all look quite similar - don't know what that means.

        First guess- their probably all the same genus, and it's likely a genus that is particularly suited to such asexually reproducing hybrids ? That in itself could be a survival trait on the level of the genus as a whole. If one or both of the parent species died out the clones may still survive as it has the best genetic benefits of both.

        • First guess- their probably all the same genus, and it's likely a genus that is particularly suited to such asexually reproducing hybrids ?

          Good thought, but no - different families, even.

          That in itself could be a survival trait on the level of the genus as a whole. If one or both of the parent species died out the clones may still survive as it has the best genetic benefits of both.

          Except that the clones typically don't have the best genetic benefits of both parents, at least based on what we've seen. A genus with 10 sexual species probably has better odds of surviving than one with 5 sexual and 5 asexual species.

          • >Except that the clones typically don't have the best genetic benefits of both parents, at least based on what we've seen. A genus with 10 sexual species probably has better odds of surviving than one with 5 sexual and 5 asexual species.

            There is certainly some variation in this - the article even mentions the classic example - mules are hardier than either horses or donkeys despite being sterile.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      There are already documented species of lizards that reproduce sexually, except when the female is alone, in which case she can reproduce asexually. This is a huge advantage in repopulating burned out areas after forest fires. Reproducing only asexually would be a disadvantage in terms of adaptability, but being able to do both sexual and asexual reproduction is a huge advantage. I suspect they just haven't found any males of this species yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:44PM (#34200578)
    A female lizard that reproduces asexually? Sounds more like a lez-zard than a liz-zard amirite? Hi-five!
    ...
    ...
    (c'mon yer leavin' me hangin'...)

    .
  • Well done. Haha.
  • by Spectre (1685) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#34200726)

    Dr. Wu: "You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will breed?"

    Ian: "No. I'm simply saying that life, uh, finds a way."

    Wow, Ian was right again ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-delicious-species-discovered,1331/

  • there's a crazy lizard Snoo Snoo party going on.

  • Yup tastes like chicken!

  • I think I speak for most Slashdotters when I say that hopefully scientists never find out what genes or other mechanisms allow these lizards to reproduce asexually and transplant them to humans. Because if they do, we're never gonna get laid.
  • How they found out about this: "Hello waitress i would like lizard with fries, but I'm a nerd so i think i will study it before i eat it"
  • It featured a mysterious Chinese restaurant in the middle of the Canadian wilderness that served animals that were unknown to science.

    It's best watched back-to-back with "Naked Lunch".

  • by Trip6 (1184883) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @06:25PM (#34201644)

    Thanks, I'm here all week.

  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:33PM (#34202232)
    Species problem [wikipedia.org]
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Leiolepis genus.

      The only problem is that classic organization doesn't hold up well to new understandings.

      An issue that will be fixed.

  • The New Mexico Whiptail is another lizard in the exact same situation. It's a hybrid of two other whiptails, and reproduces exclusively through parthenogenesis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnemidophorus_neomexicanus [wikipedia.org]
  • Who-ooa

    Wish I was in

    Tijuana

    Eating Bar B Qued iguana

  • Just found a lizard in your Big Mac, sue McDonald and... you know how to do... :D

Lisp Users: Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.

Working...