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Why do men have nipples?

Why do men have nipples seriously?
Reece Harding from Somerset (Aged 15-25)


2 Responses

  1. Even though the sex of an embryo is determined at conception by its XX or XY chromosome pair, the early development of mammals is sexually neutral: the embryo could become either male or female. A single gene on the Y chromosome (SRY) is responsible for triggering the development of testes which, in turn, produce hormones that suppress development of the female reproductive system and cause ‘maleness’. So, men have nipples (and women have a clitoris) as a kind of developmental ‘hang-over”.

  2. Men and women are genetically very similar. 45 out of the 46 chromosomes in the human body are exactly the same. The so-called sex chromosome pair is what differs. Women have two X type chromosomes there, while men have an X and a Y types.

    This accounts for both, the similarities and differences between men and women. Our bodies are remarkably similar with a head, two arms, two legs, toes and fingers, but also different in hips, hands or reproductive organs.

    Nipples are part of such similarities. But, on the other hand, men don’t have breasts and neither can feed their babies!

    Miguel Garcia-Sancho
    Centre for the History of Science
    University of Manchester

    Look at my articles at

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