[Aug 06] 'A native New Zealand reptile descended from a creature that roamed Earth with the dinosaurs will become a father for the first time in decades at the age of 111. Henry the tuatara had shown no interest in sex during 40 years in captivity until the recent removal of a cancerous growth from his genitals. Having regained his libido earlier this year, he mated with Mildred, a younger tuatara aged between 70 and 80, who produced 12 eggs in mid-July.
It takes between 12 and 16 months for tuatara eggs to hatch. "With these guys, foreplay might take years," Lindsay Hazley, the tuatara curator at the Southland museum on South Island, said. "One has to be patient." She added that although Henry appeared to be a late developer, he was making up for lost time, enjoying the company of three females and could mate again next year. For 17 years, he was kept in solitary confinement because of aggressive behaviour. When the museum tried to mate him with Mildred 25 years ago, he twice bit off her tail.
Tuatara - also known as "living fossils" - are thought to be the last descendants of a species that walked Earth 225m years ago. The reptiles, which take their name from the Maori word for spiny back, number around 100,000 and have an average lifespan of around 60 years.
Snagged from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...angeredspecies