Via Gio Clairval on Twitter I found this article from Cosmos magazine. It is primarily about the way in which the function of the Y chromosome has evolved in mammals. From my point of view, the most startling thing about it is that two species of rodent — mole voles of Eastern Europe and spiny rats of Japan — have no Y chromosomes at all, and yet they still manage to produce males.
Those TERFs who yell “but science!” in support of their contention that chromosomes can be used to rigidly divide humans into males and females are looking sillier and sillier all the time.
2 thoughts on “More Mad Gender Biology”
Yep, and there are other animal species that lack specialized sex chromosomes as well. And some reptile species (turtles and crocodiles) have the temperature the eggs develop at determine biological sex. And birds have their own sex chromosomes that are unrelated to ours (and the females have two different ones and the males two of the same). Bees, wasps and ants have an even stranger system for determining sex (haplodiploidity, it’s called, and the males in many of those species exist only to mate). And some species species of fish and amphibian can change sex/gender in their lifetime. And there are species of lizard in the southwest US, and some other places too, that are 100% female. And that’s before we even get into the complexities of what sex and gender mean in different species anyway (and the fact that many don’t have just a single reproductive strategy for each gender).
I’m a biologist by training, and I always love it when people use the “it’s just biology” argument to show how close minded they are about chromosomes, gender, sex roles and all that with regards to humans.
Thanks. I knew about some of the stuff to do with reptiles, birds and fish. What excites me about this story is the connection to mammals. That’s much closer to us on the evolutionary tree. For all we know, the mechanisms that those rodents use to make males could still exist in humans, just sat there dormant in case we should happen to need them one day.
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