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Male Bass in Potomac Producing Eggs 52

Posted by michael
from the hello-mother-hello-father dept.
Shakrai writes "The Washington Post is carrying a story about how male bass in the Potomac river are actually producing eggs. The source of this interesting phenomena is currently unknown. Scientists are speculating that it may have something to do with chicken estrogen left over in manure or perhaps even human hormones dumped in the river from sewage treatment plants. Scientists aren't sure if the affected fish are still able to reproduce and the long-term repercussions of this find are unknown."
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Male Bass in Potomac Producing Eggs

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  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday October 15, 2004 @01:14PM (#10536976) Journal

    This has got to be one of the strangest things i've ever heard of. lol

    I dunno. When I read the part about "human hormones" possibly being to blame I immediately thought of unused birth control pills/patches being to blame. I told my girlfriend not to flush her used patch down the toilet the last time we stayed in WV.... ;)

  • It's all your fault. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dr. Bent (533421) <ben&int,com> on Friday October 15, 2004 @01:49PM (#10537451) Homepage
    Scientists are speculating that it may have something to do with chicken estrogen left over in manure or perhaps even human hormones dumped in the river from sewage treatment plants.

    Why is it that strange behavior (or what seems strange to us) is always seen as unnatural, and somehow our fault? Even the people looking into this case seem to be jumping to the conclusion that it is a pollutant, but in the same sentance they say that they don't really know what's causing it.

    IIRC, there are a few species of amphibians that spontanously change gender when there's not enough of the opposite sex around. Evolutionarily speaking, fish and amphibians aren't that different, so why would you jump to the conclusion that that it's a pollutant? Maybe the people investigating this have some evidence to support that theory, but that wasn't mentioned in the article. Actually, the last two paragraphs go on to explain this this section of river has done "well on most aspects of water-quality testing" and that it is "one of our highest-quality fisheries".

    Maybe it's a disease. Maybe it's a mutation. Maybe these particular bass cross bred with some frogs. Nobody can say for sure at this point, but they sure can speculate that it's all our fault. And that's just bad science.
  • by Linux_ho (205887) on Friday October 15, 2004 @02:34PM (#10538003) Homepage
    Maybe it's a disease. Maybe it's a mutation. Maybe these particular bass cross bred with some frogs. Nobody can say for sure at this point, but they sure can speculate that it's all our fault. And that's just bad science.

    Yeah, the Potomac is famous for its purity. So despite the fact that it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, in all probability it is actually a fish-frog hybrid.

    It's not as if we have any scientific [mindfully.org] evidence [findarticles.com] that human-created pollutants like chemicals released by common household plastics [007b.com] can produce weird hormonal reactions [altpenis.com] in humans and animals. By the way, please stop chewing on your pen, Bobby.

  • by Engineer-Poet (795260) on Friday October 15, 2004 @03:25PM (#10538662) Homepage Journal
    Sex-changing in fish is sufficiently unusual that discoveries of species which do it make the scientific literature. If it was normal in bass, we'd certainly have learned about it long before now.

    In this case, it's much worse than that. The fish's testicular tissue is claimed to have produced eggs, but you might notice that the article didn't mention anything about the morphological changes required to become a functioning female. If you began producing ova in your nuts would that make you female in any meaningful sense of the word, or just ill?

    This phenomenon needs to be analyzed, the cause identified and stopped. If we don't do this, we're going to lose things starting with the fish, and continuing up to ourselves - and if this doesn't worry you, spend some time looking up the literature on hormone mimics, phthalate and the other disturbing stuff that gets to us in eerie ways like leaching out of baby bottles.

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