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A hermaphrodite refers to a person or animal that has both male and female reproductive organs. For many species, this is a way to ensure sexual reproduction. Any member can take on the male or female sex during reproduction. Slugs, for example, are hermaphrodites. Other examples include pulmonate snails, tunicates, and most plants. It is estimated that 5% of all species are hermaphroditic.
A human being may be described as a hermaphrodite when they suffer from gonadal mosaicism or ambiguous genitalia. However, this is misleading. There are scientific and clinical issues that dispute the use of the term. Using hermaphrodite to refer to humans also carries with it some societal stigma. Intersex is the preferred term.
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