Prepare for an alternate and uncomfortable ending if Disney followed the laws of nature.
We all know the story, Marlin and Nemo are clownfishes. Marlin is a overprotective single father to nemo, the last surviving egg after all the eggs and Marlin’s wife is eaten by a barracuda. An excited little kid that’s eager to prove himself, Nemo tries to swim close to the surface but gets caught by a diver. So Marlin sets out on an adventure to get his son back.
All in all, it was a great story and inspired many to discover the ocean. But we can’t deny that there are some major biological facts that Disney skipped in their story, perhaps also for good reason.
You see, Clownfishes are hermaphrodites, meaning that they have both female and male organs. There are two types of hermaphroditism (a) simultaneous, where both sexes are present at the same time, and (b) sequential, where the organism first develops as one sex but on a later stage it switches to the other sex.
All clownfishes are the second type. They are born male and later in life are able to change to females. The most dominant in size within the group will become the female and the second in size will be her mating male, while the rest of the males are much smaller in size. These two will form the breeding pair, a social hierarchy where size truly matters and they are responsible for keeping their little colony alive.
When a female dies or gets eaten as Marlins wife did, her mating male will become a female and the second biggest male will step up to the plate and become her mate.
So……..in actual fact what would have happen, was that Marlin would have turned into a female in the absence of Nemo’s mom. And Nemo would grow up to become the mating male to the dominant female, who was previously his dad.
What the fish!