This baby epaulette shark pup was born in a remarkable way by an immaculate conception! It hatched at Brookfield Zoo in August 2023 – and its mum is believed to have conceived it without a male. The adult female shark, residing at the zoo since 2019, had not been in the company of a male since her arrival. During her introduction to the zoo, the female shark was a mere three years old, and the species typically attains sexual maturity around the age of 7. Under these unusual circumstances, the animal care staff at the zoo believe that the female shark was capable of producing a fertile egg without requiring fertilisation from male genetic material. This rare reproductive process is referred to as parthenogenesis, wherein an embryo develops from an unfertilised egg cell. Commencing in 2022, the adult female shark began laying between two to four eggs per month, typically considered infertile. However, one of these eggs proved to be fertile, and after a five-month incubation period, the pup emerged . Now, at the age of 2 months, the shark, measuring approximately 5 to 6 inches, it expected to reach a length of 2½ to 3 feet. Parthenogenesis is a naturally occurring phenomenon among some invertebrates, although it is less common among complex vertebrates like sharks.