Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta Erxleben) present a unique syndrome of reversal in behavioral and anatomical distinction between the sexes: females are heavier and more aggressive than males and dominant over them. The female's external genitalia include a false scrotum and a fully erectile pseudopenis through which mating and birth take place. Results of studies of circulating testosterone levels in wild spotted hyenas do not account for the "male-like" characteristics of the female. Androstenedione, however, is consistently higher in females than in males, particularly during early infancy. Experiments on rodents show that androstenedione can be a potent organizer of anatomical and behavioral differentiation. This study suggests that it may also produce the profound virilization of female spotted hyenas.