Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Male Nipples
Name: damian
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

Why do Human males have nipples?

It is probably easier for the body to produce nipples in men than to eliminate them. Nipples in men have the same potential as nipples in women. The difference is basically hormones, men can have nipples like women if they have certain hormonal problems (or takes certain medicines).


Up-date: 3/8/2005
I think that is basically correct. Here is some background: for the first 6-8 weeks of development, the fetus has the capacity to develop into either a girl or a boy (or both).

If not influenced by hormones in the womb, the fetus will turn into a girl and certain male characteristics will be lost. If influenced by hormones in the womb, the fetus will turn into a boy and certain female characteristics will be lost. Nipples are formed in an early stage and thus everyone initially has them.

They are useful on adult females and so they are kept as a girl develops. They apparently do no harm on adult males, and the body makes no effort to get rid of them as a boy develops. Males also have rudimentary breast tissue, and also have milk ducts.

And don't think that nipples are limited to only two per person. Sometimes humans have several sets too! (the extra ones are small).

B Erck

Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory