Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 2: Dia-Ins
Todd, Robert Bentley
male genital organs are liable may be traced to 
stoppages in the above process of development, 
the character of the malformation depending 
upon the period of the development at which 
the arrest takes place, and varying consequently 
in degree from the existence of a cloaca or 
permanent primitive fissure common to the 
intestinal, urinary, and generative organs,* to 
that want of closure, to a greater or less extent 
in different instances, of the inferior surface of 
the canal of the urethra in the body of the 
penis, or in its glans, which is generally known 
under the name of hypospadias. When the 
development of the male organs is arrested, 
immediately after the two septa respectively 
separating the canals of the intestine and urethra 
from the original perinæal cleft are formed, 
and consequently when this perinæal fissure 
and that running along the inferior surface of 
the penis are still open, the external genital 
parts often come to present at birth, and during 
the continuance of life, a striking resemblance 
to the conformation of the external organs of 
the female, and the resemblance is frequently 
rendered gi eater by the coexistence of other 
malformations of the male organs. In these 
cases the imperfect and undeveloped penis is 
generally of small size, and, at the same time, 
from being imperforate, may readily be mis¬ 
taken for the clitoris; the two halves of the 
divided scrotum have the appearance of the 
two labia externa; the two labia externa or 
nymphæ are sometimes represented by the 
lateral divisions of the penis forming two folds, 
which run backwarks along the internal surfaces 
of the split scrotum; and the cleft in the 
perinæum corresponds in situation and direc¬ 
tion, and occasionally also in size and form, 
with the canal of the vagina; this cleft is 
generally lined also by a red mucous membrane 
that is kept, like the natural female parts, con¬ 
stantly moistened by the secretions of the 
follicles with which it is provided ; its mucous 
membrane occasionally presents irregular eleva¬ 
tions imperfectly representing the carunculæ 
myrtiformes; and, further, the opening of the 
urethra at the root of the diminutive and im¬ 
perforate penis serves still more to assimilate 
the malformed parts to the natural conformation 
of the female organs. In a number of cases, 
however, the apparent analogy to the female 
parts is rendered less striking by the perinæal 
cleft being small or altogether absent, the 
urethral orifice at the root of the penis often 
forming the only opening leading to the internal 
urinary and generative parts, and the halves of 
the scrotum in such instances being frequently 
more or less perfectly united. Generally the 
seminal ducts, and sometimes also the ducts of 
Cowper’s glands, are seen opening on the 
surface of the urethra or supposed vaginal 
canal, at a short distance from its external 
In males malformed in the manner described, 
the testicles are seldom found in the divided 
* See on this malformation in the human subject 
(the normal form of structure in birds, &c.) Meckel 
on Kloakbiidung in his Path. Anat. Bd. i. s. 693. 
scrotum at birth, but commonly they descend 
into it through the inguinal rings towards the 
period of puberty ; and in several instances on 
record, in which the sex of the individual had 
been mistaken for that of a female, the tumours 
formed in the groin at that time by the organs 
in their descent have been erroneously regarded 
and treated as hernial protrusions. At the 
same time it occasionally happens that with 
the descent of the testicles, and the arrival of 
puberty, the diminutive penis enlarges in size, 
and the individual assumes more or less fully 
the habits and attributes of the male. In 
several instances on record this change has, -j 
under venereal excitation, appeared to occur 
suddenly, and persons formerly reputed female 
have thus unexpectedly found themselves pro¬ 
vided with an erectile male penis. These 
various changes are occasionally postponed for 
a considerable period beyond the usual term 
of puberty. 
In a few rare instances one testicle only de¬ 
scends through the inguinal ring, and occasion¬ 
ally they both remain throughout life within the 
abdomen, in or near the situation in which they 
are originally developed, imitating in this ab- j 
normal state the normal position of the same 
organs in many of the males among the lower 
animals. In a number of instances in which 
the testicles are thus retained within the cavity 
of the abdomen, they are found small and im¬ 
perfectly developed, and from the want of their 
usual physiological influence upon the consti¬ 
tution, the whole physical and moral character 
of the malformed individual frequently presents 
a considerable approximation to that of the 
female, or, as we should perhaps more justly 
express it, never attains the perfection of the 
male, but preserves that kind of common or 
neutral state exhibited by the constitution of 
both sexes before the specific sexual characters 
of each are developed at the time of puberty. 
Numerous curious examples of mistakes 
having been committed with regard to the sex 
of males affected with the above species of mal¬ 
formation have now been put on record, from 
the time at which Iphis, the daughter of Ligdus, 
king of Crete, was conceived to be changed 
into a man by the miraculous interference of 
Isis, down to the present day. Pliny, (lib. vii. 
chap.iv.) has noticed several cases; and in the 
treatise of Duval on hermaphrodites a number 
of additional instances are collected from Livy, 
Trailian, and others, some of them no doubt 
invested (as most cf the details regarding her¬ 
maphrodites in the older authors are) in much 
misrepresentation and fable, but others bearing 
every mark of accuracy and authenticity. In 
more modern times the sexes of individuals 
have often been mistaken in consequence of 
this variety of malformation. Jean Chroker* 
relates, in apparently the most authentic man¬ 
ner, the case of Magdelain Mugnoz, a nun of 
the order of St. Dominique in the town of 
Ubeda, who was changed, as he supposes, into 
a male, seven years after having taken the vows. 
* Fax. Histor. cent. i. and Arnaud, Dissertation 
sür les Hermaphrodites, p. 200.


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