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Human Anatomy and Physiology

What are the differences between human males and human females?


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November 22, 2016 4:54AM

You can take this question on a number of different levels.

On a hereditary level, humans have 22 pairs of chromosomes plus one set of "sex chromosomes".

  • Girls receive 22 pairs of chromosomes plus two X chromosomes (of which one may be partly or wholly inactivated).

    Females can only pass an X chromosome onto their offspring

  • Boys receive 22 pairs of chromosomes plus an X chromosome and a Y chromosome

    Males can pass either an X or a Y chromosome to their offspring, and thus the male determines the sex of the offspring

With adult humans, males and females have different roles in childbirth and propagation of the species. And, thus there are differences in the bodies to support these roles. With humans and essentially all mammals, females have eggs which develop in their wombs into babies. They also nurse the infants. Males provide the sperm for the fertilization of the eggs, and of course, often have a care giving role during the growth of the child.

Other than the basic physical/anatomical differences, it is dangerous to make generalizations about males vs females as there is a tremendous variation in our society and the world. It is also very difficult to separate socially learned aspects from innate aspects. For example, one might consider boys liking blue and girls liking pink. However, this is most likely environmental with infant girls surrounded by pink and infant boys surrounded by blue.

There are many subtle differences in the way boys and girls grow including somewhat different growth spurts which may lead to one being taller than the other for periods of growth and shorter than others during other periods of growth.

Throughout portions of the development and as adults, men tend to be larger and stronger than women. However, as with everything there is a tremendous variety with many female athletes outperforming males. Thus it would be inappropriate to exclude people from activities based on sex without regards to performance.

Differences in cognitive skills are hotly debated, and also very difficult to separate from social learning situations. However, as with everything any difference would apply only to populations, with the performance of individuals being far less predictable.
Boys have a Y chromosome, girls don't. Unless the girl is really a boy with androgen insensitivity, in which case she will have a Y chromosome, and a vagina with no uterus.