Gianni The Gender-Bending Cockerill Starts To Lay Eggs, Baffling Scientists

Gianni started life as a red-blooded rooster and would often wake his Italian owners up crowing on his farm in Tuscany.But when a fox raided Gianni’s enclosure and killed all of the hens inside, Gianni felt it was time for a change.Within days the bird was laying eggs and trying to hatch them as he began his new life as a hen.The sex-change chicken has baffled scientists at the UN’s Farm and Agriculture Organisation, who are now planning to study Gianni’s DNA to see what made him change.

An expert at the centre said: ‘It may be a primitive species survival gene. With all the females gone he could only ensure the future of his line by becoming female.’

Professor Donato Matassino, who will be leading tests on Gianni, said: ‘This rooster-hen will be taken to the laboratories of Consdabi for a series of behavioural and genetic tests.’This will allow us to decipher this bizarre DNA mix up that appears to have literally given what looks like two chickens in one.’Professor Donato said the rooster-hen was transported by train to Naples where the laboratories are based.

(source)

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Ancient And Bizarre Fish Discovered: New Species Of Ghostshark From California And Baja California

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New species are not just discovered in exotic locales—even places as urban as California still yield discoveries of new plants and animals. Academy scientists recently named a new species of chimaera, an ancient and bizarre group of fishes distantly related to sharks, from the coast of Southern California and Baja California, Mexico.

The new species, the Eastern Pacific black ghostshark (Hydrolagus melanophasma), was described in the September issue of the international journal Zootaxa by a research team including Academy Research Associates David Ebert and Douglas J. Long. Additional co-authors included Kelsey James, a graduate student at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and Dominique Didier from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. This is the first new species of cartilaginous fish to be described from California waters since 1947.
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