This cardinal has spread in slices that are sliced on one side and taupe on the other. The unusual plumage pattern is a significant sign that this bird is cynandromorph, or half male, half female.
Credit: Shirley Caldwell
Male cardinals are red. Female cardinals are black. The hound bird that has been roosing outside of the John and Shirley Caldwell kitchen in Erie, Pennsylvania, is even a split of both.
After dividing down the middle as a black-and-white airborne cookie, a cardinal card is tied in a slipper that is left on the left and taupe on the left. When the bird Shirley Caldwell shot up on the winter morning recently, she knew it was unusual and beautiful. She did not realize that chips and birds go beyond an unusual plumage, though.
Ornithologists call birds like "bilateral preandromorphs" – which means that the half body of the bird is male and the other half is female. [Image Gallery: Stunning Dual-Sex Animals]
"This remarkable bird is a real / female male chimera," said Daniel Hooper, a co-deputy in Cornell Lab of Ornithology, at National Geographic.
Cynandromorphs, or "half-siders," exist in many bird species, crustaceans and pillows. According to Hooper cardinal cards are particularly easy to see because the male and female birds of the species show prominent contrasting colors.
So how does a bird be covered both dual and dual?
It contains cromosome cocktail, which works a bit different from the sex chromosomes of X and Y that are mammals.
According to Hooper, female birds carry sex chromosomes – which are in birds labeled W and Z – while men carry two Z. Antandromorph is believed to occur when female egg cells develop with two nuclei – so that one nucleus contains single Z chromosome and the other contains one W.
When the egg is sperm fertilizer that carries two male Z chromosomes, the egg develops with ZZ (men) and ZW (female) chromosomes. Then the bird develops with half of its body that contains male ZZ cells while the other half contains female ZW cells.
If this chromosomal mixture occurs early in the development of the animal, before many cells begin to split, it can lead to the kind of perfect bilateral division seen in Caldwell's cardinal friend. According to Kimberly Reece, a genetics at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, bilateral symmetry "usually raises when there is an organism between 8 and 64 cells," said Reece in 2005, following the discovery of a preandromorph crab in Chesapeake Bay.
He's probably the case for the half-sider cardinal seen in Pennsylvania, says Hooper. To be sure to know, however, an ambitologist would have to analyze the blood of the birds.
If that's the case, it's likely that the brain of the chimeric bird would be "half men" and "half female", says Hooper at The New York Times. Of course, it is unlikely that the bird could sing – a skill developed only by male cardinals.
Shirley Caldwell has noticed one of the male squirrels that attempts to herb and preandromorph birds in her yard. If there is chemistry between the two lovers of love, they may even have a break, says Hooper.
"Most people of gynandromorph are infertile, but this can be fertile because the left side is female, and only the left ovation in birds is active," said Hooper at National Geographic.
Originally published on Living Science.