New lizard species discovered in Vietnam

Interesting news was announced on CNN and various websites: a new, unknown to sciences, lizard species was unexpectedly discovered in Vietnam, in a restaurant (quán nhậu). It was when a Vietnamese scientist saw strange lizards displayed in a tank in a restaurant, and he noticed that all lizards seemed to be female. He contacted two American colleagues, who immediately flied to Vietnam to check the news. It turned out that this lizard species is unknown to sciences, but familiar with the local villagers for many years. The new species was named Leiolepis ngovantrii, after the name of the Vietnamese scientist – Ngo Van Tri. Interesting features of these lizards are that they are hybrid, all of them are female, and they reproduce by cloning (yes, cloning). That’s awesome. However, this species is vulnerable to extinction because of these same features.

The story was very interesting and taught us some lessons:

  • First, going to quán nhậu is good. In Vietnam, quán nhậu are popular restaurants where people usually drink (a lot to get drunk) and eat small dishes to help the drinking (called mồi nhậu, such as peanuts, fried tofu, and exotic foods like lizards). These are similar to pubs in western countries, but less formal and more fun. Vietnamese men are usually condemned for going to quán nhậu too often.
  • Second, always observe and ask questions. Sometimes, it may lead to unexpected discoveries like this one.
  • Third (for men only): respect women. Imagine that in the future, with the help of sciences, female humans can reproduce themselves by cloning without the need of males. What will happen to us, poor male humans? We are so vulnerable to extinction 😀
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