mammary gland of male in mammals

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utpal_sinha
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mammary gland of male in mammals

Post by utpal_sinha » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:50 am

Hi,

The mammary gland of male is said to be a vestigial organ. But it is a functional organ in female. So, my question is that how the mammary gland can be vestigial in male as vestigial organs are those that were functional before in our ancestors. Does it means that it was functional in the past.

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kotoreru
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Post by kotoreru » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:10 pm

I don't think vestigial is the right word for this...they're more of a developmental hangover.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
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mith
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Post by mith » Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:48 pm

No, it probably indicates that females came before males.
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kotoreru
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Post by kotoreru » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:51 pm

Why does that sentence make my scientific knee jerk...
"What are humans if they don't learn at University? Animals, yes."

^^One of my ex-girlfriends said that. I stress the ex part.

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Post by Darby » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:04 pm

It's not vestigial, it's just functional in only one gender. Males don't really have mammary glands - just nipples with pectoral muscles under them, and a fat-storage site.

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genovese
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Post by genovese » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:21 pm

But males can get cancer of the breast,so there is breast tissue there.

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Post by biohazard » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:55 am

Actually, if we go nitpicking here, mammary glands aren't completely inoperative in males, one could say that they are rather "dormant" - with proper hormonal treatment, certain men can even lactate. And like someone earlier said, men can also have breast cancer, which pretty much indicates the existence of minute amounts of breast tissue in males, too (in addition to the nipples).

I am not an evolutionary biologist, so the following is sort of an educated guess, but I think that during early fetal development, the underlying breast structures are "manufactured" on both female and male fetuses (like essentially all other body parts), and later things like hormonal effects dictate whether or not the mammary glands gain their functionality - after all, boys and girls have pretty much similar breast structure before puberty and the hormonal changes associated to that phase of human development.

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Post by MrMistery » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:09 am

your guess is correct. It's a question of evo-devo.
During human development from the zygote, genes located on the X chromosome and on certain autosomes direct the beginning of the development of a female. Nipples form, even rudiments of ovaries. But later on, if the embryo has a Y chromosome, the SRY gene will direct the regression of the ovaries and development of tests. from there, a boy develops. However, the nipples and rudiments of breasts have already formed.
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Post by antiroger » Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:36 pm

but what do you think of appendix.as you kown,appendix may be not necessary for human,but we still have it.is it vestigial organ?

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mith
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Post by mith » Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm

It's for bacteria cultivation
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Post by MrMistery » Sat Oct 20, 2007 3:54 pm

it is the clasic example of a vestigial organ in humans. It has a role in the lymphatic system, but it is a minor one
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Post by AstusAleator » Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:50 pm

That's where i hide my cocaine when i'm going through the airport...
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