Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hermie

Crabbers working the Chesapeake Bay recently caught a crustacean bilateral gynandromorph, i.e., a hermaphrodite crab. Apparently, the right side of the crab is female and the left side of the crab is male. Kind of like those hermaphrodite carnival freaks, with some of the features from the Lobster Woman thrown in. Let's call him/her Hermie.

Scientists studying Hermie were curious to know his/her mating habits, e.g., will s/he mate with himself/herself or with others? It got me wondering about human hermaphrodites. Apparently, hermaphrodism happens far more frequently than I thought, apparently once every 250,000 pregnancies (which may provide a biological explanation some things I noticed about the mail "guy" on my floor). Some further research taught me that hermaphrodites tend to have fertility problems.

The latter fact is too bad. I would think that as organisms evolve, they would trend towards self-replication. If humans could mate with themselves (I guess you wouldn't call it "mate") you would think that the chance of species self-perpetuation would be much higher.

Conception would surely be aided by the fact that you could "mate" with yourself 10, maybe 15 times a day. Maybe even sitting right at your desk at work. Human relationships would be really about emotional, spiritual interaction, and an occasional chance to cheat on yourself.

Of course, I have to be careful here, because if self-reproduction was considered the height of evolution, it'd mean that amoeba are supreme organisms. Seeing as I might have just swallowed one in my last breath, that is a scary thought.

Anyway, scientists studying Hermie did some experiments to see his/her mating habits. They theorized at first that Hermie may have mated with himself/herself. Nonethless, they dropped a female crab...in heat?...into Hermie's tank. First, Hermie seemed like the male in him was ready to get down with her. Then, he lost interest. A day later, Hermie ate half of the female crab.

Hermie, you go girl! Let me explain: Hermie's feminine side emerged. Female crabs will eat rival female crabs, particularly after the rival female has shed its shell.

Hermie taught me that being a hermaphrodite crab is not as much fun as it sounds. Getting laid is apparently a tough, confusing experience for Hermie. But, on the bright side, it can result in a delicious meal.

2 Comments:

Blogger TheUnknownBlogger said...

Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite as well. Wonder if she'd eat (not in that way, perverts) a girl dropped in her crib after a day of being bored...

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie Lee Curtis is NOT a hermaphrodite...she has a very rare condition known as 'Testosterone insensitivity' - which means she is genetically male, but lacking the receptor cell needed by testosterone (estrogen needs no such thing) - so in effect she becomes female due to the exclusively estrogen fueled growth & development.

Hermaphrodite crab are NOT that rare really. I caught a red king crab that was both...it was also completely sterile (zero eggs on female side at a time of year when ALL females had eggs) - the local biologist i mentioned it to told me they see one of those every few years. pretty odd however.

7:02 AM  

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