Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Sex-Reversed Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs, Act Like Males

By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | June 8, 2016 07:23am ET

Bearded dragon babies that are genetically male but have the physical and reproductive traits of females have hatched in a lab in Australia. Personality-wise, these sex-reversed lizards show extra-masculine behaviors, the researchers find.

In some kinds of lizards, an individual's sex is determined by sex chromosomes, just as it usually is in humans. In other types of lizards, the temperature at which an egg develops determines sex. Occasionally, both genetics and environment play roles in determining the sex of a lizard.

Now researchers have found that combining male sex chromosomes with female-triggering temperatures can result in very unusual lizards.

"I'm intrigued by the notion that the simple, clear-cut division of animals into 'male' and 'female' may fail to capture the true complexity of the situation," said the study's senior author, Richard Shine, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sydney.

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