Secondary sex characteristic  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear during puberty in humans, and at sexual maturity in other animals. These are particularly evident in the sexually dimorphic phenotypic traits that distinguish the sexes of a species, but unlike the sex organs, are not directly part of the reproductive system. They are believed to be the product of sexual selection for traits which display fitness, giving an individual an advantage over its rivals in courtship and aggressive interactions. They are distinguished from the primary sex characteristics, the sex organs, which are directly necessary for sexual reproduction to occur.

Secondary sex characteristics include manes of male lions and long feathers of male peacock, the tusks of male narwhals, enlarged proboscises in male elephant seals and proboscis monkeys, the bright facial and rump coloration of male mandrills, and horns in many goats and antelopes, and these are believed to be produced by a positive feedback loop known as the Fisherian runaway produced by the secondary characteristic in one sex and the desire for that characteristic in the other sex. Male birds and fish of many species have brighter coloration or other external ornaments. Differences in size between sexes are also considered secondary sexual characteristics.

In humans, visible secondary sex characteristics include pubic hair, enlarged breasts and widened hips of females, and facial hair and Adam's apple on males.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Secondary sex characteristic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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