How sexually dimorphic are we? Review and synthesis

American Journal of Human Biology : the Official Journal of the Human Biology Council
Melanie BlacklessEllen Lee


The belief that Homo sapiens is absolutely dimorphic with the respect to sex chromosome composition, gonadal structure, hormone levels, and the structure of the internal genital duct systems and external genitalia, derives from the platonic ideal that for each sex there is a single, universally correct developmental pathway and outcome. We surveyed the medical literature from 1955 to the present for studies of the frequency of deviation from the ideal male or female. We conclude that this frequency may be as high as 2% of live births. The frequency of individuals receiving "corrective" genital surgery, however, probably runs between 1 and 2 per 1,000 live births (0.1-0.2%). Am. J. Hum. Biol. 12:151-166, 2000. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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