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IN Animals ON 11 Mar, 2016
It's common to spot hybrid animals nowadays. One artist has amazingly created the images of strange animals hybrids using photoshop. But can you imagine the animals possessing both male and female sexual characteristics?
Yeah! Such beasts actually exist. They look totally different on either side and are known as "bilateral gynandromorphs." When they're split across their bodies, they are found to be male on one side while female on the other. Currently, research is carried out on these creatures to understand the evolution of sex. Check out these strange creatures which are partially males and partially females.
They appear like male on one side and female on the other. Insane behavior is observed in such creatures. They climb on the back of females at the time of $ex and also lay small eggs themselves.
If you observe the right side of the chicken, it'll appear like any normal cock with a bright red comb and a lappet. Whereas if you look at the left side, it appears like a hen with plainer marks.
A century ago Dr H.E. Schaef decided to study these strange beasts. When this dead chicken was bifurcated, it was found to possess both testis and ovary with a partially formed egg. Though he ate up the chicken, he preserved the skeleton for other anatomists. Further studies were carried out by his friend Madge Thurlow Macklin who described these creatures in the Journal of Experimental Zoology in 1923.
The Northern cardinal was observed on 40 different occasions but it was never seen accompanied by a mate. This type of behavior is quite common in gynandromorphs. Poor northern cardinals are either silently expelled from other birds or aggressively attacked by their peers.
According to the estimates of Michael Clinton at the University of Edinburgh UK, 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 1,000,000 birds develop in this way. These animals face difficulties in the courtship. Brian Peer, an ornithologist at Western Illinois University in Macomb, US explained about the northern cardinal, "It was an incredibly fascinating and striking individual. If you could only see one side you would think it was male or female. It was an almost perfect split. Whether it was even capable of vocalizing, we just don't know."
In humans, men have X and Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes. In chickens, the cocks have two Z chromosomes while the hens have a Z and a W chromosome. According to this theory, gynandromorphs are formed due to errors at the time of embryo formation. When a ZW chicken embryo loses the W chromosome, it will develop only male sexual characteristics. The animal would eventually grow up to be a gynandromorph due to the presence of other female cells in the embryo.
When Clinton observed the genes of the chicken, he was surprised to find normal sex chromosomes. He finally concluded that the chicken was formed due to the fusion of two non-identical twins in the centre. Unfortunately, his idea was soon proved wrong by others.
Polar body is generally discarded at the time of egg formation. However, in rare cases, the polar body consisting of half of the chromosomes fuses with the nucleus due to which each side of the body develops its own sex.
Parrots generally give birth to 20 males or females at a time. It means that the chances of giving birth to gynandromorphs are quite higher in the parrots as compared to the other birds.
The development of $ex is completely different in mammals and birds. While $ex hormones play an important role in determining $ex in the mammals like us, both sides of this gynandromorphic bird have the potential to develop completely on its own.
The study of these American butterflies called Lycaeides was carried out at the University of Nevada, Reno by Josh Jahner. Besides double-fertilized eggs, there are other mechanisms also involved in the formation of these asymmetrical butterflies.
There are many mysterious animals possessing both male and female sexual characteristics. On 7 May 1752, Dr M Fisher of Newgate introduced a weird lobster having double organs to the Royal Society of England. Today, scientists have added a number of animals such as crabs, silk worms, butterflies, bees, snakes and many species of birds to the list of those animals which can develop into bilateral gynandromorphs.
Unfortunately, Jahner never found these butterflies again. Yet he suggested that radiation may increase the chances of gynandromorphs formation.
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