How small does a penis have to be before it counts as intersex? Below we provide a summary of statistics drawn from an article by Brown University researcher Anne Fausto-Sterling. Note that the frequency of some of these conditions, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, differs for different populations. These statistics are approximations. Ambiguous Sex—or Ambivalent Medicine?
When investigators opened up the carcass of a Pacific spadenose shark found off the coast of Taiwan, they were shocked to find the shark had both male and female reproductive organs. In a report published in the journal Marine and Coastal Fisheries in September , scientists at Xiamen University in China documented the shark's anatomy. They found that it had "claspers," which made it look male on the outside, and ovotestes on the inside. It also had both male and female reproductive systems. The ovotestes, which are intermediary between male and female, had viable eggs and sperm, Hakai Magazine report ed Wednesday.
Hermaphroditism is also found in some fish species and to a lesser degree in other vertebrates. Most plants are also hermaphrodites. Historically, the term hermaphrodite has also been used to describe ambiguous genitalia and gonadal mosaicism in individuals of gonochoristic species, especially human beings.
For definitive proof that gender is indeed fluid, look no further than the animal kingdom. There, certain organisms change their reproductive identities or adapt the behavior of the opposite sex based on a time-specific need. Some animals even have working male and female genitalia. In a process known as sex reversal, bearded dragons have demonstrated an ability to somewhat change their sex from male to female while still in the egg.