First crocodile virgin birth recorded

And other stories from the stranger side of life

A crocodile
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The first virgin birth by a crocodile has been reported by a reptile park in Costa Rica. An 18-year-old crocodile laid an egg containing a fully formed foetus, despite having been housed alone for 16 years and never mating. The Royal Society, in its journal Biology Letters, said this is the first instance of “facultative parthenogenesis”, or virgin birth, seen in the species. An expert said he “strongly infers” that this means dinosaurs could also have virgin births.

Toxic ‘scum’ found near ‘Twatt’

A council in Scotland has issued a warning after “toxic scum was found near Twatt”, reported Metro. Shetland Islands Council’s environmental health team has found blue-green algae on the Loch of North House near the village of Twatt on the Shetland Mainland. Road signs for Twatt on Orkney “are a bit of a tourist attraction”, said the paper. The name “regularly features in round-ups of the rudest place names in the UK, alongside Bitchfield, Wetwang, Shitterton, and Fingringhoe”, it added.

Robots to control traffic lights

Robots will be able to control pedestrian traffic lights to allow them to cross roads and deliver groceries and takeaways more quickly, said The Telegraph. With hundreds of autonomous six-wheeled vehicles already making deliveries in locations such as Milton Keynes, Manchester and Leeds, the operating company is working with councils to pilot schemes where they will link up with traffic lights so they can turn them red and cross the road “in the same way as any pedestrian carrying their groceries”, said the paper.

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.