mammary gland of male in mammals

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    • #8389
      utpal_sinha
      Participant

      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.

      Thanks,

    • #76898
      kotoreru
      Participant

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

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • #76904
      mith
      Participant

      No, it probably indicates that females came before males.

    • #76916
      kotoreru
      Participant

      Why does that sentence make my scientific knee jerk…

    • #76942
      Darby
      Participant

      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.

    • #76944
      genovese
      Participant

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

    • #76963
      biohazard
      Participant

      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.

    • #76968
      MrMistery
      Participant

      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.
      Regards,
      Andrew

    • #77048
      antiroger
      Participant

      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?

    • #77049
      mith
      Participant

      It’s for bacteria cultivation

    • #77051
      MrMistery
      Participant

      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

    • #77053
      AstusAleator
      Participant

      That’s where i hide my cocaine when i’m going through the airport…

    • #77054
      kotoreru
      Participant

      and where I hide my keys…

      Oh, I dont know.

    • #77070
      teja
      Participant

      mammary glands in male human beings r said to be vestigial because they r functional in male prototherians{1st class in mammalia} like duck billed platypus and ecidna.they exhibt phenomenon called gyanaecomasticism

    • #77098
      AstusAleator
      Participant

      *applause*
      Well said.

      but now they just store crack. Lots of crack.

    • #77139
      adamd164
      Participant

      That’s a lot of knowledge for someone either incapable, or simply too lazy, to bother with grammar. Impressive.

    • #77470
      AstusAleator
      Participant

      I have a friend who had a friend (male) that could lactate. I guess he had a tic or something where he was cosntantly stimulating his nipples from a young age, and in his teenage years he was actually able to lactate. This is all hearsay of course :), but wow…

    • #77475
      mith
      Participant

      Barry Bonds could do it.

    • #114671
      Annij
      Participant

      Yes, men can breastfeed their infants. The male mammary gland is simply dormant–but not that dormant.
      The structure of the male and female breast is essentially the same. There is some controversy as to whether mammary glands are not simply sweat glands that expand and develop more alveoli buds as the breast produces lactose when stimulated with prolactin–the hormone produced primarily during pregnancy and one that is necessary for milk production. Also because of testosterone, the male breast does not have as many lobes (mammary gland tissue) as the female breast has. However, again as was stated earlier, because of the controversy around the mammary gland it is thought that it can only remain a sweat gland in men, therefore it is often forgotten that these lobes do expand and do develop more alveoli when there is a spike in prolactin. The lobes of the mammalian breast are part of the duct system which pushes the milk through to the nipple; the alveoli produce colostrum which contain necessary anti bodies for the maturing infant. So, when you hear the expression, the size of the breast doesn’t matter, a woman can still successfully breastfeed her infant, the same would also apply to the male breast–the main difference being the hormone prolactin, which as stated earlier stimulates milk production.
      So, let’s review: the male and the female breast have essentially the same parts, the difference is that the male breast does not have as many lobes (mammary gland tissue) as the female breast because testosterone acts as a suppressant of breast tissue production. What is forgotten is that the mammary gland can actually grow and develop when there is a large prolactin spike most usually brought on by pregnancy.
      The next logical assumption is that women only experience this spike in the production of prolactin because of pregnancy. Again, it is often forgotten that male partners, living in close proximity to their pregnant partner too experience a spike in prolactin. Depending on the emotional involvement of the male partner, he will start to experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms called "couvade". Very close to the birth of their child, men also have a spike in prolactin–it has other effects on the system besides simply producing milk. It readies the family for the parental instincts necessary to support a new infant. Male and female eagles experience high levels of prolactin when their brood hatches–and these creatures cannot breastfeed.
      Thus, new fathers have been known to “will” themselves to produce milk, get so freaked out that it is easy and thus the milk production stops. The production of milk by the human breast is as much a biological phenomenon as it is a parasympathetic one. If a man decides he does want to breastfeed his infant, the amount of milk his breast will produce depends on the amount of time the baby stays at the nipple suckling. One thing that is important to remember, if men do choose to breastfeed, they shouldn’t be the primary breast feeder of all his children. There is an increased risk of developing cancer in men because of the testosterone suppression. Men are the backup function–nature’s way of ensuring the species survival. Also, for the vainer inclined—the breast does almost return to the same shape—“almost!”

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