According to our Week 2 lecture from Dr. Tanya Mueller, the female body form is, at times, considered the default body form.The lack of the Y-chromosome is responsible for the development of female anatomy while in utero…
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According to our Week 2 lecture from Dr. Tanya Mueller, the female body form is, at times, considered the default body form.The lack of the Y-chromosome is responsible for the development of female anatomy while in utero A person becomes a male or female while in utero, which is after conception but before birth and puberty. All embryos are identical in external appearance for the first eight weeks of gestation, and then several factors nudge the infant toward male or female development. In the seventh week, the embryo has both male and female primordial ducts. In the normal female fetus, the millerian duct system then develops into oviducts and a uterus. In the normal male fetus, the wolferian duct system on each side develops into the epididymis and vas deferens. The external genitalia are similarly bipotential until the eighth week (The reproductive organs and genitals associated with "female" or "male" arise from the same initial (fetal) tissue). Thereafter, the urogenital slit disappears and male genitalia formed or alternatively, it remains open, and female genitalia is formed. If the egg was fertilized with the x chromosome then the female structures continue to mature, the default system. However if the y chromosome fertilized the egg then a hormonal switch happens; two genes are activated and the female structures are completely dissolved and destroyed and the male organs take their place. Hormones play an overwhelming role in determining sexuality right from conception to puberty. The increased production of sex hormone like estrogen is responsible for changes like breast growth, changes in the walls of the uterus and vagina, and changes in the pelvic structure. Hormones like prolactin and lactogenic stimulates milk production and also helps maintain normal ovarian cycle. Follicile-stimulating hormone stimulates egg production in female while sperm production in males. Luteinizing hormone stimulates ovulation in females while the hormone oxytocin causes uterus to contract and the breasts to release milk, thus lending female characteristics. On the other hand, hormones like testosterone stimulate development of male reproductive tract and male secondary sexual characteristics. Being a female, from the biological point of view, is determined on the basis of distribution of body hair, patterns of fat deposit, higher voice etc. A major characteristic is the establishment of the menstrual cycle. This involves the periodic growth and shedding of the lining of the uterus. Being a male again can be identified by definite body features and distribution of hair and fat etc., besides in the production of sperm and ejaculation. Also, males and females have different behavior patterns. Some behavioral differences are learned (patterns of dress, use of facial make-up), whereas others appear to be less dependent on culture (degree of aggressiveness, frequency of sexual thought). 2. Several lectures discussed the establishment of adolescence as a distinct life history stage. When do you think we see this occurring? In other words, even though there is no doubt mammals, monkeys, apes, and fossil hominids experience puberty (age at alpha) or reproductive maturation, do these qualify as a “distinct life history stage”? Why or why not? The sexual development of puberty has a typical pattern I both boys and girls, with a generally predictable line of changes taking place. The onset of puberty in most girls is marked by the development of breasts, which happens at an average age of 11 years. This is followed by the growth of pubic hair, and then hairs in the armpit. However, it has been found that a minority of girls have pubic hair coming out before their breasts begin to grow. Menstruation takes place usually two and a half years after the onset of puberty. A regular pattern of ovulation corresponding to achievement of fertility usually develops rapidly after a girl begins having menstrual cycles. However studies have shown that one half of adolescent
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