A species of lizards currently evolving from laying eggs to live birth

A species of lizards currently evolving from laying eggs to live birth

A species of lizards in Australia is currently evolving from laying eggs to live birth

Evolution has been caught in the act, according to scientists who are decoding how a species of Australian lizard is abandoning egg-laying in favor of live birth.Along the warm coastal lowlands of New South Wales (map), the yellow-bellied three-toed skink lays eggs to reproduce. But individuals of the same species living in the state’s higher, colder mountains are almost all giving birth to live young.Only two other modern reptiles—another skink species and a European lizard—use both types of reproduction. (Related: “Virgin Birth Expected at Christmas—By Komodo Dragon.”)Evolutionary records shows that nearly a hundred reptile lineages have independently made the transition from egg-laying to live birth in the past, and today about 20 percent of all living snakes and lizards give birth to live young only.

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