Pollution Gives Girlish Traits to Boy Turtles

Some male snapping turtles in the Great Lakes are suffering from reduced penis size and are producing egg yolk protein, a capability once available only to female turtles, according to researchers from the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada. The research adds to a growing body of knowledge about the gender-bending effects of some industrial pollutants that mimic female hormones. The feminization of males has been found primarily in fish, but similar effects have been observed in herring gulls along the Detroit River and panthers and alligators in Florida. More than 50 synthetic compounds have been shown to have hormone-distorting effects. In addition to developing certain female traits, the male turtles also suffered from impaired thyroid function, excessive production of some liver enzymes, and God knows what kind of psychological issues.