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10 times nature stunned us in 2021

Genetic mishaps creating immortal clone armies, whales sharing battle tactics and tardigrades being quantum-entangled — 2021 was a year when the natural world shocked us, horrified us and, some of the time, grossed us out. Here are 10 times nature went wild in 2021.

A bee species created its own immortal clone army

The Cape honeybee worker has been shown to clone itself millions of times.

The Cape honeybee worker has been shown to clone itself millions of times. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Through a weird genetic fluke, one bee species has created its own army of perfectly identical clones, a June study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B revealed. In a pinch, the workers of some species of social insects — such as ants, bees and wasps — can reproduce via parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction. But because this process leads to an unsustainable loss of genetic material, the insects often choose to rear the progeny of their closely related queens as their preferred means of reproduction.

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