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Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 06:37:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Phoebe Davis 
Subject: Re: (urth) avram davidson treasury

The American Heritage Dictionary says a freemartin is a sterile or otherwise sexually
imperfect female calf born as the twin of a bull calf.  Several sources say that
freemartinism is recognized as one of the most severe forms of sexual abnormality among
cattle, found references to horses as well. This condition causes infertility in the
female cattle born twin to a male. 

Perhaps more detail than necessary:
Although the male twin in this case is only affected by reduced fertility, in over ninety
percent of the cases, the female twin is completely infertile.  Because of a transfer of
hormones or a transfer of cells, the heifer's reproductive tract is severely
underdeveloped and sometimes even contains some elements of a bull's reproductive tract.
A freemartin is genetically female, but has many characteristics of a male.  The ovaries
of the freemartin do not develop correctly, and they remain very small.  Also, the
ovaries of a freemartin do not produce the hormones necessary to induce the behavioral
signs of heat. The external vulvar region can range from a very normal looking female to
a female that appears to be male.    

It would appear that freemartins can't breed but are sterile females who can resemble
males.  Does this make sense to the story?  I didn't look it up before posting this.


--- MBS 808  wrote:
> I'm slowly working my way through this book, that
> certainly earns the title treasury.
> I forget who introduces "The House The Blakeneys
> Built"
> but they mention the freemartins breeding and what is
> "really" going on in the story ...
> Um, how do freemartins breed?
> PS - The story reminded me (sorta) of that XFiles
> episode entitled Home ..
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