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Why be an hermaphrodite?


MANY animals and most higher plants are hermaphrodites. The basic argument of this paper is that the sex habit of a species is determined by selection acting on the number of offspring produced by individuals of different types. The argument differs radically from most earlier explanations of the evolution of hermaphroditism (reviewed by Ghiselin)1,2, although it is formally similar to a recent explanation3 of sequential hermaphroditism, in which individuals function first as one sex and then the other.

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CHARNOV, E., BULL, J. & MAYNARD SMITH, J. Why be an hermaphrodite?. Nature 263, 125–126 (1976).

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