Male geckos are needed after all (yay!)
Regular readers know that we here at the Honolulu Lite Department of Geckos are in the forefront of reporting on all things gecko. Any major gecko-related scientific discoveries or breakthroughs in gecko research will be reported in this space before it reaches the mainstream press.
For instance, we were first to disclose a secret closely held by amphibious experts -- that is, experts who know a lot about amphibious creatures, not experts who can live in both water and on land -- the secret that most geckos in Hawaii are parthenogenic. "Parthenogenic" is a big, hairy scientific word that simply refers to an animal's ability to generate offspring without the bother of having sex with a fellow animal.
Most Hawaii geckos are female and don't need the make hoochie-koochie with a male in order to lay eggs. This is why many male geckos seem to cling to the walls with such a forlorn look on their little lizard faces.
Hilo psychologist Susan Brown has been studying geckos for 20 years, which, I think we can all agree, is pretty weird. But she's discovered some interesting things about these unisex geckos, like, unisex geckos lick their eyes more often than geckos who have sex with each other. I'm not kidding. It turns out that geckos don't have eyelids, so they have to lick their eyeballs to keep them clean. But for some reason, the unisex geckos like to lick their eyes A LOT. But that's really just kind of a "parlor trick" kind of behavior for parthenogenic geckos. Their real talent, according to Brown, is that they are more resistant to disease than geckos produced by sexual means.
But that talent has a drawback. Because the unisex geckos are basically genetic clones, if a new disease comes along that is dangerous, it could wipe out their entire herd, or whatever you call a large collection of sexually disinterested geckos.
That's actually good news for men in general. Because, you know, if female geckos can figure out how to have kids without having sex with males, surely human women will figure it out eventually, too. But that could put the entire human species in danger. Brown points out that "sexual reproduction creates variations in individuals' genetic code that could afford some protection against new disease threats."
So it turns out that males aren't completely useless after all. As a man, I find that somewhat comforting. I mean, imagine if eventually men did become completely useless. We'd just sit there like forlorn male geckos, clinging to our bottles of beer, unable even to lick the tears from our own eyeballs.
That's the latest info from the Honolulu Lite Department of Geckos. If you hunger for more news about Ms. Brown and her colony (flock? cluster? swarm?) of 3,050 geckos, go to the University of Hawaii's Malamalama magazine online, where there's also a fascinating piece on a strange new sea worm discovered at Hanauma Bay.
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