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Old July 25 2009, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: The Andorian sexes

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I do not know how "male" and "female" are described, so I can't be much help there. However, I'm pretty sure all four sexes contribute genetic material. The shen produces an "egg", if I remember correctly, and then the chan and thaan both add their genetic material (I assume they both have a penis or similar organ), then the shen transfers the "egg" somehow to the zhen, who adds her material and carries the child to term.
I'd thought the zhen contributed genetically, but Memory Beta says she doesn't. It doesn't name its source, though. Do you remember which boko discussed Andorian reproduction most thoroughly?

She also produces zhiassa- milk- to nourish it after birth. I'm guessing mammalian standards are being applied, not necesarilly scientific definitions?.
Ironically, the development of mammary glands in the female organism of a species is the defining characteristic of mammals. (I'm not sure whether that makes Andorians mammals. The shen, like Pava, appear to have breasts, but their function - and functionality - aren't known, while the zhen don't appear to be scientifically female.)

I assume shens do not produce milk (hence the zh beginning their word for milk-equivalent, it's a zhen thing), and so may not have breasts. Zhens don't produce ova, so no problem there, but as for shens also not being female, maybe its just layman-human refusal to see a non-breasted furry-and-warm-blooded-looks-mammalian being as female, technical stuff aside? You know, mammalian biases?
That could be, but it wouldn't account for narrative instances.

Or is it chromosomes? For the two "males", I'm guessing its chromosomes that prevent them being labelled male? Do "male" and "female" only apply to organisms with paired chromosomes? Biology is not my strongest subject... Any help from someone who does know?
They don't apply only to such organisms. The definitions of male and female are intended to function across all possible domains of life.
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