Which of Facebook's Fifty-Eight Genders Would This Deer Use?
"A Central New York hunter recently shot a 13-point buck, the deer of a life-time," writes local writer David Figura. "Make that a doe. No, actually make that a buck" — Was weird-looking deer shot by Upstate NY hunter a hermaphrodite? From the article:
- Is it a hermaphrodite?
Paul Curtis, extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, says he would have liked to examined the innards of the deer, but in his opinion it probably is not. He said he's looked at hundreds of deer in his research and has seen all sorts of odd things, but never a true hermaphrodite.
He conceded, though, after examining a picture of Macera's deer that it's definitely an oddity.
"It had a penis. It wasn't a female," he said. Most likely, he added, it's a deer that had a testicular (genetic) abnormality or an injury.
"It could have injured itself jumping a fence and had bad luck. Its testes could have been hammered (by something like that)," he said.
Curtis explained that bucks shed their antlers each year. He said an initial surge of testosterone from the animal's pituitary gland starts the antler regrowth process off each year, usually in the late spring, early summer. Those antlers end up being covered with velvet, which is tissue that covers the bone and cartilage that develop into antlers.
He said a second surge of testicular testosterone comes in the late summer, early fall - resulting in the deer losing its velvet and the hardening of the antlers. The fact that the velvet remained on Macera's deer is indicative of some sort of testicular malfunction.
He said Cornell did some research with injecting nearly a half dozen bucks with an experimental birth control hormone (anti-Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) that resulted in all five developing 'spindly, malformed' antlers. The antlers never hardened and all retained their velvet, he said.