♀ Gynandromorphism ♂
Notice anything strange about the cardinal in the photo above? Half of its body has the coloring of a female, and the other half is male coloring. How can this happen?
It turns out this phenomena, called gynandromorphism, is a result of strange happenings in the animal’s body. It starts waaaaay back when the animal is still coming into existence (when its body consists of only a few cells). One of the existing cells divides strangely, producing two new cells that are actually a different gender than they would’ve been had the cell divided correctly. Then these two new cells divide, then those cells divide, and so on. The result is that now the animal’s body has two cell types: cells of one gender (that originated from correct cell division), and cells of the other gender (which originated from that one cell who divided weird).
Gynandromorphism is rare, but it has been seen in birds and arthropods. (This could never happen in humans because of the way mammal hormones work.)
There are two types of gynandromorphism:
- bilateral – the animal’s body is split practically in half, half female and half male
- mosaic – areas of male and female cells are patterned throughout the animal’s body
Pics of More Gynandromorphs: