Primary vs Secondary Sexual Characteristics
Although there is a considerable difference between primary and secondary sexual characteristics, many would not have thought about that. In a very brief statement, primary characters are the sexual organs, but secondary characteristics are the sexual hormones and other related functions. Therefore, a better understanding about primary and secondary sexual characteristics becomes demanding.
Primary Sexual Characteristics
Any anatomical part involved with the reproductive system of an organism is a sexual organ, aka primary sexual characteristic. These characteristics develop in an organism during the gestation period and male and female differentiation takes place in sexually dimorphic organisms. The Y chromosome from the father has a specialized gene responsible for the determination of testes during foetal development; otherwise, the gonads will develop into ovaries. Therefore, the male and female primary sexual characteristics are same in origin, but different in eventual appearance. External genitals are primary sexual characteristics, and those are the only external clue about exact sex of a newborn of any animal. However, sexual organs do not function fully, until puberty. However, without well-developed sex organs, secondary characteristics will never operate. Examples for male and female primary characteristics include penis, testicles, epididymis, prostate, scrotum, cervix, clitoris, fallopian tubes, uterus, vulva, vagina…etc.
Secondary Sexual Characteristics
These are the features with the capability to distinguish a male from a female of any organism. However, these features are not completely related with the reproductive system. Despite the undoubted importance of the primary characteristics, it would be a failure without secondary sexual characteristics. In the animal world, there are many examples to describe secondary sexual characteristics. Mane of male lion, bright face and rump of mandrills, horns of cattle, and the extravagant tail feathers of peacocks are some of the prime examples of secondary characteristics. In humans, pubic hairs, genital hairs, breasts of females and facial hairs of males are prominent physical secondary characteristics. These changes take place only after the puberty, and it involves complex mechanisms based on hormonal influence inside the bodies of animals. Testosterone in males and estrogens in females are the main responsible hormones for the occurrence of secondary sexual characteristics. In addition to the physical changes, the mental states are subjected to change according to the hormone secretion inside the bodies as secondary sexual characteristics.
What is the difference between Primary and Secondary Sexual Characteristics?
· Primary sexual characteristics are the sexual organs, while secondary characters are the other changes occur in relation with the development of the organism.
· Primary sexual characteristics start to develop during the foetal development of an organism, whereas the secondary sexual characteristics start to develop only around the pubertal age.
· Primary sexual characteristics have a direct physical relationship with the reproductive system, while it is not necessarily a physical contact with the reproductive system for the secondary sexual characteristics.
· Except for the genitals and reproductive systems, there is no major difference between male and females as far as primary characteristics are concerned. However, the two sexes differ in appearance with the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
· Behavioural and attitude differences are considerable between two sexes with secondary sexual characteristics, whereas those are low between males and females with primary sexual characteristics.