The editors at Scientific American are afraid of PLoS ONE, but they’re more than happy to publish articles about Nature papers. Their coverage of the Komodo dragon virgin births contains the following lead in:
The “immaculate conception” of Komodo dragons at two English zoos might provide one explanation why Jesus was not a clone of Mary
And now a freakin’ Jew will explain why this is wrong. You see, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, free from original sin. This allowed her to be inseminated by God and give birth to the baby Jesus — God wouldn’t boink any ol’ Bethlehem floozy. The article’s metaphor is mixed and bereft of meaning.
Allow me also to take umbrage with this:
Embryos of some reptiles–notably crocodiles and turtles–don’t have any sex chromosomes; rather, the incubation temperature dictates their gender.
They mean that the incubation temperate of the eggs dictates the animals’ sex, but they were afraid to type the word sex. Maybe they couldn’t find the “X” key on their keyboard (it’s located between “Z” and “C”, beneath “S” and “D”), or maybe they giggle when the word is used. Either way, gender is not quite appropriate here. Sex is the right word. Gender is merely a social construct that dictates how certain sexes should behave. Sex refers to penises and vaginas and their equivalents in other taxa. You wouldn’t refer to male and female plants and genders, would you?