Finding Nemo lied to your kids, and they will do it again in the sequel: Finding Dory!

By Patrick Cooney

The Disney film, Finding Nemo, lied to your kids!  Disney would simply argue that they altered reality to create a more entertaining storyline, but read below for the true story, and you tell me which you think is a more entertaining.

Disney forced them to hide the truth!

How Finding Nemo started:

Father and mother clownfish are tending to their clutch of eggs at their sea anemone when the mother is eaten by a barracuda. Nemo is the only surviving egg and he grows up in his father’s anemone before getting lost on a crazy adventure!

Video of the opening scenes:

How Finding Nemo should have started if it were biologically accurate:

Father and mother clownfish are tending to their clutch of eggs at their sea anemone when the mother is eaten by a barracuda. Nemo hatches as an undifferentiated hermaphrodite (as all clownfish are born) while his father transforms into a female now that his female mate is dead. Since Nemo is the only other clownfish around, he becomes a male and mates with his father (who is now a female). Should his father die, Nemo would change into a female and mate with another male. Although a much different storyline, it still sounds like a crazy adventure!

Video of the truth:

As you can see, the first minute of Finding Nemo, outside of the talking fish part, is the only biologically accurate part of the movie. Considering that they demonstrate reproduction and the killing of the mother in the first minute of the movie, how did they decide that a natural sex change is outside the bubble of viewable material?

Fish reproduction is complicated, and it is especially complicated in cases like the clownfish where species are sequential hermaphrodites. These fish are born as hermaphrodites that develop as one gender before changing to the other gender at some point in their life.

Unlike clownfish that start life as males and transform into females, there are other species, like the California Sheephead, that start as females and transform into males. These opposing forms of sequential hermaphrodites are called protandrous hermaphrodites for male to female changing species, and protogynous hermaphrodites for those that change from female to male.

The truth!

A sequential hermaphrodite life history strategy can be extremely detrimental if harvest of fish is allowed prior to male or female reproductive sizes. Should all males be harvested before turning into females at a certain size (or vice versa), a rapid decline would occur in the population. Understanding the triggers and sizes at which fish shift from one sex to the other greatly enhances the ability of fisheries managers to set proper length limits for long term fish population health.

More lies and deception?
In the end, the storyline for Finding Nemo was obviously entertaining for children, but as a fisheries scientist, I must admit, I find the biologically accurate storyline a bit more entertaining. With the announcement of a sequel called ‘Finding Dory’ coming in 2015, Disney still has a chance to redeem themselves, but I am not keeping my small ‘lucky’ fin crossed. Which storyline do you think Disney should show in the sequel?

Be sure to check out The Fisheries Blog on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesBlog).  If you want to receive our weekly blog through email, leave your email address in the open space at the top right of the page (scroll up!).  Also, check out an article we wrote a year and a half ago about how birth control in the water is causing fish to display both male and female gonads at the same time.



123 Comments Add yours

  1. rhubarbgreen says:

    Given this came out in 2003, I have a feeling that Disney would want to avoid acknowledging anything transgender. Maybe if it had been released a few years from now they’d consider the public more accepting 🙂

  2. Gabe R. says:

    I think you should let the movie stay to the kids why would a 2 year old care about sex change or the reproductive system

  3. Yall dumb says:

    Honestly i dont think transgender was the biggest issue.
    I don’t think it would be widely accepted to the public by showing the father fish become a girl after the mother dies AND THEN BREED WITH HIS SON. I think THATS the part you guys should have focused on… theres no way anyone would accept that trans or not AND IT WOULD PUSH OUT A TERRIBLE IMAGE OF TRANSGENDER REPRESENTATION, So no disney didnt lie, its just fact that aint NOBODY gonna let there kids see a fish dad turn into a mom and fuck their son. (Really they lay eggs and fertilize them but same shit)

    1. Lee says:

      Please go away.. do children need to understand transgender dysphoria at such a young age? No they don’t, Let them be kids.

      1. Angel says:

        I totally agree it would be extremely disturbing to see the father fish turn into the mother fish and then mate with their own son! That would be really fucked up giving the idea that it is ok for a parent to mate with their young, regardless if that really happens in the fish world or not…That is Extremely Dark and perverse for a child Disney movie!

      2. Dee says:

        I think it was just fine the way it was! Honestly! You people just do not want to let children be children! You want to strip their innocence from them before they are old enough to even understand anything about it!

  4. Kyle says:

    This is one of the stupidest articles I’ve ever seen. This movie was targeted at kids. Focusing on biological accuracy would not only destroy the plot and enjoyment of the movie, but it would also have made no sense to its intended audience. You are just trying o find something wrong in this movie

  5. Luis Baton says:

    I’m surprised. Disney missed an awesome chance to create a movie with the first transgender Princess, and missed their mark. Maybe they’re saving it for the final film of the trilogy: Finding Miss Merlin

  6. JT says:

    Honestly, i laughed when i read this article. Sorry, stop advocating for teaching gender dysphoria to kids. Just because some lower-order animals do this, this makes it right to demand this teaching on kids? I just shake my head at the stupidity of today’s society. clearly, the activists are trying to infiltrate wherever they can to fill the next generation of kids’ heads with their ideas.

  7. John kordes says:

    Hahahaha that response will never age

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