Feeds

The bigger the balls, the smaller the brains

In bats, that is

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

A Syracuse University research team has discovered something quite remarkable, if not immediately useful in everyday life*: bats belonging to species where the females are promiscuous have bigger testicles than those in species where the girls are more family-oriented.

There is, however, a price to pay: the bigger your 'nads, the smaller your brains, according to team leading biologist Scott Pitnick, who quipped: "It turns out size does matter."

Pitnick's research, which according to AP features in last December's Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Science, concludes that males in some species "make an evolutionary trade-off between intelligence and sexual prowess", as bat-mating expert David Hoskens of Exeter Uni explained.

Pitnick's team examined 334 bat species, finding that in those with monogamous females, males had testes ranging from 0.11 per cent of their body weight to 1.4 per cent. In contrast, in species with promiscuous females, the testicles ranged from 0.6 per cent to 8.5 per cent of the males' mass. Rafinesque's big-eared bat was apparently the species with the league-topping testes.

"Bats invest an enormous amount in testis, and the investment has to come from somewhere. There are no free lunches," Hoskens illuminated. The reason your bat might be obliged to invest so much in the trouser department is simple. "If female bats mate with more than one male, a sperm competition begins. The male who ejaculates the greatest number of sperm wins the game, and hence many bats have evolved outrageously big testes."

Naturally, if you've put all your energy into record-breaking nuts because the girls on your block are putting it about, you might have an "adaptive advantage", but there simply is not enough energy left to invest in a bigger brain.

Bat chaps are not the only males who walk bow-legged with a vacant expression on their faces - chimpanzees too are promiscuous and their cojones are much bigger than those of gorillas, where one bloke controls several females without fear of competition.

Bootnote

* Oh, alright then - it's a real dinner party show stopper: "Yes, it's true: the poor thing had bollocks like bowling balls but was as thick as ten short planks nailed together..."

And thanks to reader John Emery for the testicular heads-up.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.