A recent headline has been making the rounds on social media with the picture above as the featured image, claiming that snakes in Australia are growing arms and scientists have been left befuddled by this. While scientists are indeed scratching their heads over what’s taking place, it has nothing to actually do with snakes themselves, but rather a cousin of snakes… skinks and it’s not growing extra limbs, but rather their method of reproducing that is a mystery unlike one ever seen or heard of before.
A skink is a lizard species and the skink pictured here is called a yellow-bellied three-toed skink, and is native to eastern Australia.
|Photo credit: Rune Midtgaard|
The reason why this skink has got scientists confused is because it has always given birth by laying eggs throughout its history, but something has begun to change.
Although yellow-bellied skinks in the warm coastal lowlands are still laying eggs, the same type of species found in the colder mountainous region area is now giving birth to live young and is also growing arms where once there were none, according to reports.
|Photo credit: National Geographic|
What this means is that this type of skink is actually evolving a new method of reproduction right before our eyes. It is reportedly the first time something like this has ever happened which makes it an extraordinary and mysterious event.
The babies currently get their nutrients from the placenta, and then babies incubated inside the mother’s eggs get their nutrients from the yolk and the shell. But without either one of these, how exactly these live baby skinks are surviving is currently a mystery that scientists are trying to figure out.