Main Difference – Hermaphrodite vs Intersex
Hermaphrodite and intersex are two conditions where an organism displays both male and female characteristics. The main difference between hermaphrodite and intersex is that hermaphrodite is an organism possessing both types of gonads whereas intersex is an organism possessing several sex characteristics of both male and females such as chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals. Though the two terms, hermaphrodite and intersex are used synonymously in the last century, intersex is nowadays preferred over hermaphrodite.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Hermaphrodite
– Definition, Facts, Types of Animals
2. What is Intersex
– Definition, Facts, Types of Syndromes
3. What are the Similarities Between Hermaphrodite and Intersex
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Hermaphrodite and Intersex
– Comparison of Key Difference
Key Terms: Gonads, Hermaphrodite, Hermaphroditism, Intersex, Sequential Hermaphrodites, Sex Characteristics, Simultaneous Hermaphrodites
What is Hermaphrodite
Hermaphrodite refers to organisms with both male and female reproductive organs. The condition of possessing both types of reproductive organs is known as hermaphroditism. Hermaphroditism is more common in plants. Some invertebrates such as earthworms and snails are hermaphrodites. The most characteristic feature of hermaphrodites is that the same individual can become a mother at a time and father at another time.
Sequential and simultaneous hermaphrodites are the two types of hermaphrodites classified based on the periods they are sexually active. At a particular time, either male or female reproductive organ is active in sequential hermaphrodites. Many plants, birds, and fish are sequential hermaphrodites. In simultaneous hermaphrodites, both sex organs are active at the same time. But, self-fertilization is avoided in simultaneous hermaphrodites. Earthworms are an example of simultaneous hermaphrodites.
What is Intersex
Intersex refers to the hermaphroditism in humans. It is a variation of the human body. The standard chromosomes of a man are XY while that of a woman are XX. The intermediate forms of chromosomes such as XXY, XXX, XXYY, X, etc. These intermediate chromosomes can produce individuals with mixed male and female chromosomes, hormones or genitals. The syndromes that produce intersex individuals are Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), Congenital Adrenal Hypoplasia (CAH), Turner Syndrome (TS), and Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Sometimes, the sex of the person may change in adolescence. Over 1.7% of human population is born as intersex. The model, Hanne Gaby Odiele, who disclosed that she has AIS, is shown in figure 2.
But, intersex individuals lack optimum conditions to sustain a second life inside them. Thus, they are infertile. The anatomy of the intersex individual is different from a normal human being. The person looks like a female from outside, but male organs can be identified inside. However, intersex persons differ from transgender, bisexual, lesbian or gay.
Similarity Between Hermaphrodite and Intersex
- Hermaphrodite and intersex are two conditions in which several sex characteristics present in an individual.
Difference Between Hermaphrodite and Intersex
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphrodite refers to an organism with both male and female sex organs as the natural condition.
Intersex: Intersex refers to an individual having reproductive organs or external sexual characteristics of both male and female.
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphrodite is an organism possessing both types of gonads.
Intersex: Intersex is an organism possessing several sex characteristics of both male and females such as chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals.
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphrodites can be either animals or plants.
Intersex: Intersex is found in humans.
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphroditism is a natural condition.
Intersex: Intersex is a disorder.
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphrodite individuals are viable for reproduction.
Intersex: Intersex individuals are not viable for reproduction.
Hermaphrodite: Hermaphrodite become both mother and father of the offspring in different situations.
Intersex: Intersex individuals are unable to become either a mother or a father.
Hermaphrodite and intersex are two conditions in which both male and female sex characteristics occur in the same individual. Hermaphrodites consist of both types of gonads while intersex individuals consist of other sex characteristics such as sex chromosomes excluding gonads. Only hermaphrodites are viable for reproduction. The main difference between hermaphrodite and intersex is the type of sex characteristics present in each type of individuals.
1. “Earthworm” By Aruna at ml.wikipedia – Transferred from ml.wikipedia by User:Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Hanne Gaby Odiele Photographed by Ed Kavishe for Fashionwirepress” By Ed Kavishe/fashionwirepress.com – [email protected] (CC BY 1.0) via Commons Wikimedia