In real life, hermaphroditism is not uncommon. The reason is abnormal meiosis when sperm or egg cells are produced. However, in nature, there is a special hermaphrodite, half of the body is male and the other half is female.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, there is such a rare hermaphrodite bird. This bird has aroused the interest of experts. They are also answering an academic puzzle when they are exploring the cause of this special bilateral hermaphrodite: Can such a bilateral hermaphrodite give birth normally?
In the Bondermere Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania, USA, every September, a migratory event of a bird called the waxfinch is staged. This bird is medium in size, about 20 cm in length, and the appearance of male and female is quite different.
The wings of the male waxfinch are black, the feathers under the wings are pink, and the chest has red feathers; the wings of the female waxfinch are brown, the feathers under the wings are yellow, and there is a white line above the eyes.
The waxfinch gathered in large numbers, attracting a large number of bird lovers carrying long and short cannons to chuck and chuck, and also attracted bird research expert Mitchell Clinton and his wife Laura.
After Laura retired in 2017, she followed Mitchell to the world’s famous bird breeding habitats.
On the morning of September 27, 2018, Laura got up very early. She stood in front of the window and watched the chirping birds outside. Suddenly, a bird staying on the branch caught her attention. This bird is divided into two halves from head to tail feathers.
“Dear Mitchell, I think I have discovered a new breed of waxfinch!” Laura awakened Mitchell excitedly.
Opening his dim eyes and looking at the strange bird outside the window, Mitchelton was completely drowsy at the time, so he quickly took it with the camera. However, when he was about to take more photos, the bird seemed to have spotted him, flapped its wings and circled around and flew away.
Mitchell carefully observed the bird in the photo. The two sides of the central axis had completely different coat colors. Suddenly, the word “hermaphrodite” came to his mind.
But what puzzles Mitchell is that although hermaphrodites are not uncommon in the biological world, such symmetrical hermaphrodites are rare.
Mitchell was a little disappointed, if only he could catch the bird to observe. Fortunately, the next day Mitchell found the strange bird again on the branch outside the window. This time, Mitchell shot a lot of videos. With a glimmer of hope, he set a trap under the tree, hoping to catch the bird and inspect it.
However, in the following days, no shadow of the bird was found. It wasn’t until four days later that Laura brought the cage to Mitchell, and Mitchell’s heart almost jumped out, and the bird he was looking forward to seeing was already in the cage.
After some inspection, Mitchell found that there were two sets of male and female reproductive organs on both sides of the bird, and the male and female characteristics were completely symmetrical along the central axis. After collecting the test samples on both sides, Mitchell returned the bird to the woods.
In the evening, Mitchell checked the information on both hermaphrodites on the Internet and found that the earliest record was in 1932. A doctor named Skott found a strange chicken on the farm: seen from the right, it is a typical rooster; But seen from the left, its body is smaller and has obvious hen markings.
What made Sgoth’s jaw-dropping even more shocking was that this chicken rode other hens many times, but it would lay eggs honestly. After the chicken died, Skye dissected it and found that the skeleton on the right half was obviously larger than the left half. It also had a testis on the right and an ovary that could produce eggs on the left.
Later, bilateral hermaphrodites were found to appear on butterflies, bees and other animals. These animals seemed to be made up of two animals. At first glance, they looked very different, but they were able to move normally.
In 2000, the American Lobster Association acquired a double-sided hermaphrodite lobster. Although it has male sex organs, it does not mate at all. When it climbs on the female lobster, it will only be motionless, as if the opponent is a rock. For its female part, other male lobsters are not interested, and will not mate, and finally its eggs are out of the body and die.
In 2008, Peel, an ornithologist at Western Illinois University, found a two-sided hermaphrodite cardinal. He observed it in more than 40 different environments and found that the bird had been alone and had never been accompanied by other birds. It has never sang a song (a form of courtship), and Peel is not even sure if it can make a sound. Most of the time, the Cardinals will avoid it quietly, sometimes they will fly over and attack.
As he learned more about bilateral hermaphroditism, Mitchell discovered a strange problem, that these animals do not seem to be liked by the “opposite sex.” A question arose from Mitchell’s mind: these animals can Is it normal to give birth?
Mitchell desperately needs to find a double-sided hermaphrodite animal to test, for which he posted a reward on the Internet.
Hard to bred
This wait is half a year, and Mitchell still hasn’t waited for the ideal experimental animal.
His wife, Laura, comforted him that such an animal can be met but not sought, and don’t be discouraged even if you can’t find it in the end.
Just when Mitchell was about to give up his plan, he received a call from the citizen Cordwell: “Dear Mitchell, maybe I found the animal you want.” Mitchell was overjoyed and drove 200 kilometers quickly. Arriving at Cordwell’s house, Cordwell told excitedly what happened.
Coldwell is a bird fanatic, and she usually keeps many birds in her family. A week ago, when she got up early to feed the birds, she suddenly found this unusual cardinal perching on a branch. Its body was divided into two from its back. The two sides showed different colors, and one side looked better than the other. One side is bigger.
In the next few days, Coldwell saw the bird, so she made a bird cage and put some bait, but she didn’t expect it to come in by herself.
After two days of emotional training, this cardinal has become one with the original cardinals, playing and singing together, apparently becoming a “couple”.
Mitchell was overjoyed, this is the experimental animal he has been searching for so hard.
After obtaining the consent of Cordwell, Mitchell brought the two birds back to the studio in New York, and Mitchell named the androgynous bird Chery.
Soon Mitchell discovered that the two birds were very close. Coldwell originally kept a male cardinal. Mitchell concluded that Chery was attracted by the cry of courtship from the birds.
April is the time for the cardinals to breed. Mitchell pays close attention to Chery and his “husband” every move, but to his disappointment, although the couple’s love songs are happily sung, there is no sign of mating. Disappointed Mitchell carried out an all-round inspection of Chery, and indeed found a problem. It turned out that Chery’s left ovary developed abnormally, which meant that it could not give birth to offspring.